Going Full Screen and Exiting Full Screen on Your Mac

No matter the size of your Mac's screen, it is crucial to know how to enter and exit full screen mode for your applications. Even when using large external monitors, we often find ourselves utilizing full screen mode on Mac to enhance our focus on a particular task.

In this guide, we will demonstrate how to enter and exit full screen mode, as well as introduce you to some applications that can optimize your experience in full screen mode.

When should you utilize the full screen shortcut?

The answer is simple: anytime! It is particularly useful when watching Netflix, and occasionally when working. Here are a few instances where full screen mode may prove beneficial:

  • Enhanced focus: Having numerous applications open on a single desktop can be perplexing. By placing the most essential apps in full screen mode, you can channel your attention and easily switch between desktops, which is much simpler than navigating through various menus to find the desired app.
  • Side-by-side productivity: With full screen mode, you can utilize two apps on a single display, making it effortless to compare data points or perform tasks like dragging and dropping images between apps.
  • Photo editing: When engaging in intricate photo editing, opting for full screen mode on your Mac is highly recommended. The expanded screen real estate enables you to focus on minute details and view your edits on a larger scale.
  • Multi-tasking on multiple screens: Those with multiple monitors find full screen mode on Mac particularly appealing. It provides a dedicated space for each app or multiple full-screen/half-screen apps within view. If you utilize apps like Mosaic or Swish, you can further enhance your control over your desktop setup and full screen apps.

If you wish to maintain focus without having to enter full screen mode repeatedly, we recommend installing HazeOver. This application dims background distractions, directing your attention solely towards the active window.

haze over

How to activate full screen mode on a Mac

There are several methods to activate full screen mode for Mac applications:

  • In an application's window, click the green button located at the top left.
  • While using an application, press Command + Control + F (on Big Sur and earlier) or Fn + F (if your Mac runs macOS Monterey or later).
  • In the application's menu, navigate to "View," then select "Enter Full Screen" from the drop-down menu.

Additionally, macOS Monterey introduces a fantastic feature that allows you to tile windows, enabling you to view two apps in full screen simultaneously:

  • Hover over the green icon located at the top left of your window.
  • Select either "Tile Window to Left" or "Tile Window to Right."
  • Once the desired window is tiled, click the window that you wish to position on the opposite side of the screen.
  • full screen mac

    If you desire to split your screen into more than two workspaces and customize your window layouts, you should consider using Mosaic.

    enter full screen mac

    The Mosaic app for Mac grants you complete flexibility in how you utilize full screen mode and arrange your screen for apps to share this mode effectively. You can even define the precise area in which you want an app to appear on your screen.

    Utilizing Mosaic is simple; just drag an app window, and the layout options will be triggered automatically. Drop your window onto a layout, and voila! The app also offers user-defined keyboard shortcuts for all settings, including customized grids. Mosaic works seamlessly with multiple monitors and even synchronizes with your connected iPad.

    Mastering app switching in full screen mode 

    If you find yourself immersed in a full screen window and desire to transition to another window, effortlessly navigate by swiping left or right on your Trackpad using three or four fingers. Take your personalization to new heights by customizing gestures on your Trackpad or any input device through the innovative BetterTouchTool. 

    For a simplified trackpad experience, consider the wonders of Swish, a Trackpad automation tool. 

    Swish is devoted entirely to the realm of gestures. It boasts an impressive collection of 28 pre-programmed gestures that cater to managing full screen mode on your Mac. Among its remarkable features are the ability to pinch an app to quit, swipe downwards to minimize, and perform an outward pinch from the trackpad's center to activate full screen mode. Furthermore, Swish is compatible with multiple monitors.

    If you prefer swipe gestures over keyboard shortcuts or dedicated full screen hotkeys, Swish is your perfect match. 

    swish mac

    Exiting full screen mode on a Mac made easy

    Departing from full screen mode on a Mac is a straightforward process. In case you find yourself pondering how to free yourself from the confines of fullscreen mode, here are your options, which mirror the steps for entering full screen:

    • Within the app's window, click on the top-left green button
    • While utilizing the app, press Command Control F (on Big Sur and earlier) or Fn F if your Mac is running macOS Monterey or a newer version
    • In the app's menu, navigate to "View" and select "Exit Full Screen" from the drop-down menu

    Now that you possess the knowledge of how to exit full screen mode on a Mac, bear in mind that minimizing the screen on a Mac computer cannot be achieved directly from full screen mode. The option to minimize is concealed, as your Mac treats a full screen app as a distinct desktop. 

    Elevate your Mac's window management with Setapp

    Embrace the incredible world of full screen mode on Mac and witness the astonishing productivity it brings. Most apps perform at their peak when experienced in full screen mode, making it a must-try for everyone.

    Unleash the power of Swish, BetterTouchTool, and Mosaic to revolutionize your Mac's display options, including full screen mode. These exceptional tools will leave you questioning why they aren't integrated directly into macOS! The best part is that you can enjoy these apps for free during a generous seven-day trial of Setapp, the world's most comprehensive suite of Mac and iPhone apps. 

    After the trial period concludes, you can continue to enjoy boundless access to Setapp for only .99 per month. This sensational offer is too good to pass up, so why wait? Take Setapp for a spin today!

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