Rearrange Full Screen App Placement in Mac OS X by Dragging & Dropping

May 1, 2012 - 14 Comments

Rearrange placement of full screen apps in Mac OS X

Full Screen apps in Mac OS X are managed by Mission Control, this means that if switch beween or gesture swipe from one full screen app to a desktop or another app, it follows the order of desktops and apps shown at the top of Mission Control.

This also means that you can rearrange the placement of fullscreened apps easily.

How to Rearrange Full Screen Apps in Mission Control on Mac

To rearrange full screen app placement within the Mission Control thumbnail preview strip, just do the following:

  1. Access Mission Control on the Mac as usual
  2. Now click on one of the app windows and drag and drop it beyond another Desktop or full screen app
  3. Repeat until you have the desired Mission Control arrangement of your full screen Mac apps

Now anytime you swipe between desktops or apps, you’ll find the app in its new placement.

Whatever the arrangement of the full screen apps (or desktops) is in the Mission Control thumbnail preview strip, that will also be the arrangement of swiping between the full screen apps on the Mac.

This is a really great trick if you have a particular workflow of full screen apps that you want to maintain and respect. For example, perhaps you have Full Screen Safari in one screen, and you want to always swipe to the right to access full screen Mail, and swipe to the left to access full screen Chrome. That can be arranged easily by using this trick for Mission Control.

We’ve covered a similar tip showing how to move Desktops around to rearrange their order within Mission Control as well, it works much the same on the Mac.

Got any handy tips for Mission Control? Share with us in the comments!


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


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  1. Ben (but a different one) says:

    How do I get Mission Control to learn or at least remember? If I maximise an app and move it to the leftmost virtual desktop, then un-maximise it and maximise it again, Mission Control forgets what I just told it and puts it over on the right. I can’t find the control to make MC remember. Help?

  2. Shripad says:

    Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for sharing!

  3. […] Desktops & Full Screen Apps – You can quickly rearrange the placement of multiple desktops and even full screen apps by entering into Mission Control and […]

  4. Andres says:


  5. Napoleon Wilson says:

    In other useful tips the power button will turn off your mac and pressing the buttons on the keyboard will make letters appear on your screen

  6. doctor K says:

    Actually there is no Mac OS X Lion, but OS X Lion to be exact.
    Title can mislead…

  7. If you’re interested in more, powerful ways to manage your desktop, check out Slicer in the Mac App Store. It is a new take on Window Management and more fun to use than existing solutions. Full disclosure, I’m the author of Slicer.

    It also has the coolest keyboard equivilent ever and is not for the faint of heart :)

  8. Ben says:

    You guys really published this…what a waste of time. I am this close to never coming back here. There has been nothing useful in weeks. “how to double click on Mac OSX Lion” – yeah thanks…

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