Set Terminal Focus to Follow the Mouse Cursor in Mac OS X

Apr 18, 2011 - 5 Comments

Terminal window follow mouse cursor focus in Mac OS X

If you’re coming to Mac OS X from elsewhere in the unix & x11 world, you might be used to the focus of Terminal windows following your mouse cursor. With a little command line magic, we can enable this hidden feature in the Mac OS X too, here’s how:

Launch the Terminal and enter the following:

defaults write FocusFollowsMouse -string YES

You’ll now need to relaunch for changes to take effect.

If you don’t like it, you can disable cursor focus by changing YES to NO and reissuing the command:

defaults write FocusFollowsMouse -string NO

Then relaunch for the click-to-focus default setting to be enabled again.

Finally, If you’re wondering what my super awesome background picture is, it’s the 8-bit pixelated aurora wallpaper.

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Posted by: William Pearson in Command Line, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Ian says:

    X11 style, great idea

  2. jv says:

    Hmmm…. not exactly what I was hoping for…. what I thought this meant was that if I entered a directory in finder that Terminal would choose the same directory. So, what does “focus” in this case mean? I don’t see any difference.

  3. ipatch says:

    This does bring the window to focus on OS X (10.7) as well. Is there a way to bring focus to the window, and then make it the top window, because right now this tweak just makes window focus, but does not make it the top window. I figure there is a another simple line to make the window the top window. BTW great tweak :D

  4. [...] This entry was posted in Tweaks on my mac and tagged mac,, tweak by [...]

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