How to Hide All Other Windows Except Active App on Mac OS

Feb 5, 2018 - 1 Comment

Finder icon on the Mac

Want to quickly focus your attention on the active application in Mac OS by hiding all other windows? There’s an excellent little-known keyboard shortcut and menu item that does exactly that, and when executed properly you will hide literally every window and open application on the Mac except for the currently active application.

This is an incredibly useful keyboard shortcut and feature if your Mac screen is overloaded with a million windows and apps and you want to quickly dismiss unused background apps, without having to quit them or arrange any other windows. All this does is hide the inactive application windows, it doesn’t close anything, so you can easily get to the hidden apps again if need be.

How to Hide All Inactive Windows & Apps in Mac OS: Command + Option + H

The keyboard shortcut to hide all other inactive windows and apps on the Mac is simple:

  • Command + Option + H

Hide All Other Apps and Windows in Mac OS

Hitting that keystroke combination will instantly hide every other app and window in the background, but keep the foreground windows and app active and available.

Think of this as a quick declutter keyboard shortcut.

This Command+Option+H keyboard shortcut may sound familiar to you, perhaps because it is a variation of the ever-useful Command+H keyboard shortcut on a Mac which hides all windows, including the active window and app, except of course the active app and windows stay open and visible with this variation.

So remember, Command+Option+H hides all windows from all applications except for the currently active window. Whereas Command+H hides all windows from the currently active application. With either of these keystrokes, you can just click on the relevant Dock app icon to find the windows again.

This Hide All Other Windows and Apps trick pairs particularly well with enabling the translucent Mac Dock icons for hidden apps tip since that makes it extra easy to identify which apps are hidden by transforming their Dock icons into slightly transparent to indicate being hidden.

How to Hide All Other Windows and Apps by Menu Item

If you’re not a fan of Keyboard Shortcuts you can also access the Hide All Others option via menus in any application:

  1. From the active application you want to maintain focus from, pull down the application name menu (for example, Preview)
  2. Choose “Hide All Others”
  3. Hide Others from the menu item in Mac OS

The effect of the menu option is exactly the same as the keyboard shortcut.

Another great window/app de-clutter and focus tip is to use Spaces, specifically opening a new Desktop Space from Mission Control on the Mac and using that new virtual desktop as a place to use a specific application that requires focus.

And if you ever want to hide and minimize absolutely everything open on a Mac, you can use Command+Option+H+M to both hide and minimize all windows, whether they are active in the foreground, background, or not.

If you enjoyed this tip you’ll likely appreciate this collection of 7 tips for window management in Mac OS as well.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. ReggyB says:

    Your continuous flow of Mac and IOS Tips and Tricks is great stuff especially for one relatively new to the Mac scene as I am.
    My thanks to you for your great efforts,
    RegB

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