In this lesson for macOS Mojave, I look at how we can manage our open windows and full-screen apps using Mission Control and Spaces on the Mac.
Video Transcript (video also has closed captions):
Introduction: In this video, we’re going to take a look at Mission Control on the Mac. Mission Control lets us manage our open windows, as well as different spaces on the Mac. Well, let’s see what I mean. Let’s go to My Mac.
Now let’s go and open up a few windows here. What I’m going to do is, I’m going to go down to my Finder, click on it, and we’re looking at my home folder. Let’s go and open up a few more. Let’s move this over to the left, Command-N. Let’s go to my Desktop here. Command-N, we’re going to go to Documents, and then Command-N again. Let’s go to Downloads.
Let’s go and move these around. What I am doing is I’m simulating how I work regularly. I have windows open all over. I also have different apps open. Now let’s go and open up Calendar, Contacts. Now let’s open up Safari and let’s go over to Apple, let’s create a new window and let’s go over to Yahoo. Now I have several apps open with several windows.
Now the problem when you have a cluttered desktop like this is it’s difficult to get to a specific window. Let’s say I wanted to go to my downloads folder. How do I get to my downloads folder? Well, right now what I would have to do is I would have to go to the Finder, I’m going to click on the Desktop. Then I go up to window, and then we go over to Downloads, and there’s my downloads folder.
Now what I want to do is I want to go back over to Apple and Safari. Well, I can see it peeking out here, but let’s say this was hidden behind another window. Let’s go and hide it here. Now I can’t even see Apple, so how do we get to Apple? Well, what I’d have to make sure that I’m in Safari and then go over to window and select Apple.
Using Mission Control: There’s an easier way to do this. We can use Mission Control. Mission Control gives us easy access to all of our open windows. It also helps us manage our spaces. We’ll talk about spaces towards the end of the video.
Now what I want to do is I want to go back over to my Downloads, but I’m going to use Mission Control. The keyboard shortcut for Mission Control is the Ctrl key and the up arrow key on your keyboard. If you have a trackpad, you can also just swipe up with three fingers. I’m going to use a keyboard shortcut Ctrl key and then the up arrow. Watch what happens. I can see all of my open windows.
I want to go to my Downloads. All I have to do is just look for my downloads folder here. There it is. We can see we have a blue border around it. This means that my cursor is above that window, and when I click on this, it brings it to the front. Now what I want to do is I want to go to Yahoo. I have a trackpad, so I’m going to use the three-finger swipe. I just swipe up with three fingers. It brings me to my Mission Control, and now I just go over to Yahoo here, click on it, and I’m at Yahoo.
I want to go to my Calendar, I swipe up with three fingers, find my Calendar, click on it, and it opens up my Calendar. That’s how we can use Mission Control to help us open up various windows. Now, I mentioned that it also helps us with spaces. What are spaces? Well, when we open up an app in fullscreen, let’s go and open up my Calendar here in full screen. I click on the green dot. It goes into full screen.
Spaces and Mission Control: What it’s doing is it’s creating a space for this. Now I have my Calendar space, and then when I swipe over to the right, I’m looking at my Desktop. Let’s go and open up Yahoo in fullscreen. Click on the green dot; there is my Yahoo. Now I have my Yahoo or Safari in a space. I have my Calendar in a space, and then I swipe over to the right I have my Desktop.
These are what we call spaces on a Mac. With Mission Control, we can easily access these different spaces, just like with our windows. When I swipe up to get to Mission Control, all of my windows will go into thumbnail size. If we look up towards the top, you’re also going to see we have this gray bar, and I can see Desktop 1, Safari, and Calendar. I want to go to my Calendar. I click on Calendar here; it brings me to Calendar.
I want to go back to my Desktop; I swipe up with three fingers; I go over to Desktop. We can rearrange our different spaces. Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to swipe up, we get our three spaces. Before I talk about how we can rearrange these, you’re going to notice that it is just text. When I move my cursor above any one of these spaces, I get a thumbnail.
Rearranging Spaces in Mission Control: Now, let’s see how we can rearrange these. Let’s say I wanted to have Calendar next to my Desktop, all I have to do is click and drag this over, and now my Calendar is next to my Desktop. Now when I go over to my Desktop and swipe over to the left, I’m going to go over to my Calendar. I swipe over to the left again; I’m in Safari.
To go back over to my Desktop, I swipe over a couple of times, or what I could have done is gone to Mission Control. Let’s go back into Mission Control; we can also create more desktops. You’re going to see I have Desktop 1 here. If we go over to the right, you’re going to see we have this plus. When I click on the plus, we get a new desktop.
Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to move this over to the left, drag it over, and now I have my two desktops. What does this mean? If I go to Desktop 1 here, and now I swipe over to the Left, I’m looking at Desktop 2. I swipe back over to the right; I’m at Desktop 1.
How can I use this? Well, what we can do is we can open up different apps in different desktops, or we can move windows over to different desktops. I wanted to have my contacts here in that other Desktop, so then I’m not looking at all of these other windows. I need to move this over to that other Desktop. To do that, we go back into Mission Control, and then we go over to our contacts here, and I drag that on top of my Desktop 2.
Now let’s go and do that. Click and drag, and now when I let go here, I move my contacts to that second Desktop. I swipe back over to the left; I’m looking at my Finder windows and Safari. Now let’s go and move Safari into its Desktop. To do that, we go over to our plus here; it creates a new desktop. I’m going to move this over to the left, and now I just drag Apple up to Desktop 3. Now I have Safari, my contacts, and then my Finder.
I want to go to my Calendar, I can swipe over or what I can do is swipe up and go over to my Calendar. I swipe back to the right; I’m looking at Safari, Contacts, and the Finder. We can close desktops if I swipe up three fingers, or what I can use is Ctrl, up arrow. When we go up to our spaces here, you’re going to see when I move my cursor above one of the spaces; there’s an X, all I have to do is just click on the X closes that space. It does not close the app. You’re going to see that it moved Safari over to my Desktop 1.
What do you think is going to happen when I close this space? It’s going to move contacts back over to Desktop 1. It doesn’t close the gap; it just closes the space. Now we do have a few preferences for Mission Control. These are located in the System Preferences. Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to go to my System Preferences. Then what we do is we go over to Mission Control.
Have Mission Control Arrange Spaces: What we can do is we can have Mission Control automatically rearrange our spaces based on the apps that we’re using. As we use our apps, Mission Control will go and rearrange my spaces here. Let’s go back over to my Mission Control preferences. I can also set when I use spaces to have my Desktop scroll to a space with open windows for an app. I can group windows by application. When I do this, let’s go ahead and select this. What it’s going to do is it’s going to group all of the windows per application.
Remember I have, if you find your windows open, I’m going to swipe up. Now we can see all of my Finder windows here. They’re all grouped. To open up any one of them, I just click on it. Now the problem with this is you can’t see the individual windows, so what I like to do is I want to leave this off. I’m going to go back over to my System Preferences and turn this back-off.
Multiple Displays and Spaces: If you have multiple displays, you can set up separate spaces for each display, and then we have the Dashboard. The Dashboard is an older app that is seldom used anymore, and it’s off by default. If you use the Dashboard, what you can do is you can turn this on. I don’t even have a lesson for it in the tutorial because it’s just seldom used.
Shortcuts: Below that, we have our keyboard and mouse shortcuts. To access Mission Controls, it’s Ctrl, up arrow. To access our application windows, it’s Ctrl, down arrow. When we access our application windows, what it will do is it will only show us the windows for a specific application. When I go over to my Finder here, I’m in my Finder. I’m going to use Ctrl, down arrow.
Now I can see only the Finder’s windows because that’s what I have as my frontmost application. Ctrl, down arrow, again brings us back. If I want to show the Desktop, I can use F11, and then if I want to show the Dashboard, I can use F12. We also have Hot Corners, I have a separate lesson on Hot Corners, but when I click on Hot Corners, what I can do is I can set one of the corners on my display as a hot corner. When I move my cursor into that corner, it’s going to perform a certain feature.
In this case, I have it set for Mission Control in the upper right-hand corner. Now when I move my cursor in the upper right-hand corner here, move it to the very edge. It opens up Mission Control. Move it to the edge again; it closes it. Again, I have a separate video on Hot Corners. Now you can also add Mission Control to your Dock for easy access if you don’t want to use a keyboard shortcut or if you don’t have a trackpad.
To do that, what we need to do is we need to go to our applications folder. I’m going to go over to my applications folder. Then we have Mission Control. It is just an app. All we have to do is just drag this down into our Dock. Then to access Mission Control, I click on it. I’m in Mission Control. Click on it again; it closes it. We can also add Mission Control to our Dock for easy access.