Using 2 or more open windows simultaneously

I need some help, please. 2012-13 MacBook Pro, 10.13.6.

Until yesterday I could have two or more apps open at once and visible on the screen. ie Mail , an invoice and Firefox, open at my bank. Clicking on one or the other placed it on top. Either could be dragged aside to show more of the other and the stack rearranged in any order, with a bit of each visible for clicking on.

Now opening a second window cancels the one currently open, or rather hides it until I click on its App icon in the dock. I can’t view both simultaneously.

Apparently I’m not asking Google the right questions. All I can get are articles on how to use split screen. I don’t want split screen.

I’ve obviously unintentionally changed something, but what?

Some help would be appreciated.I’ve already spent enough time trying to fix it.

It seems to be working as expected now. The only thing I did was ‘Restart’.

Any suggestions as to what caused the weird behaviour would be appreciated so I don’t have to restart in the middle of something. It’s not very efficient.

Certainly sounds like a bit of an oddball!

Whilst I think we kind of take for granted the fact that computers don’t need to be restarted all the time these days - if something is behaving oddly - it’s always the go-to step to resolve things that “don’t make sense”.

Thanks for reassuring me that I wasn’t missing something bleedin’ obvious to everyone else!

I just wish I thought of it earlier before spending so long asking Google questions it couldn’t grasp either.

1 Like

I have hit myself on the forehead several times over this lol

If it was 20 years ago doing a restart would just be second nature… but now - it’s almost alien.

If you hold down COMMAND and press TAB it will cycle through open apps. just once cycles between the last app and the current one. Holding COMMAND down and continuously pressing TAB cycles through all open apps.

if you want to cycle through open windows within an app, like a message and the Inbox in Mail, its COMMAND ` (that’s the key to the left of the 1 key).

I know this doesn’t explain what happened to you or in your situation but might help out anyway for when you can’t just click on a window or an app has no open windows.

I thought about about how to replicate this. All I can see that comes close to your problem is if you’re in Full Screen or have two windows tiled which in both cases opens up a new desktop window. In these cases, the two windows or even just one window in Full Screen mode is very rigid in how you can interact with them. One thing you could try if it happens again is hit F11 which will peel back all the windows to reveal the desktop. If it doesn’t, you’re in Full Screen mode.

Thank you whitestick bloke and Wobbly.

I’ve copied and pasted your info into a Text Edit document. Now, if I can just get to it if I need it again. :slightly_smiling_face:

I think my first resort will be Restart but it won’t hurt to learn the other tricks that I’ve managed to ignore for so long. I’ve never used tiling on the laptop, preferring to just drag the windows when I want them side by side or stacking them if I don’t need to see both at once. Using a monitor there’s plenty of room for side-by-side open pages so I haven’t had to use any other shortcuts.

Thanks again for the input.

PS. Having to peel back all the windows wasn’t actually the problem. Keeping more than one open window on-screen was the issue, but it’s good to have a better understanding of what could be going on.

May have a solution to the vanishing widow problem. It’s working right now!

System preferences > Mission Control > Group windows by application.

After no problems for some time, 9 mos. apparently, the vanishing windows happened again without my changing any settings. I found that solution on-line today in a Windows-on-a-Mac discussion.

Now I can overlap windows untidily, click the one I want to bring it to the front, separate them, and open documents without chasing the other open windows off the desktop. Oh Joy! wasted hours on this.

If that Mission control setting had been checked before I was unaware of it as I have never changed anything in Mission Control before.

1 Like