macOS provides no user-facing options for adjusting the appearance of the app switcher palette that pops up upon holding the Command – tab keyboard combo.
SwitchGlass brings a dedicated app switcher with customizable appearance, size and position on each attached display separately, including hiding the app on selected displays. The software can be configured to bring one or all of an app’s windows to the front and you can use it as a drag-and-drop target to open files, just like with the default macOS app switcher.
Many of these behaviors are configurable, as per the official FAQ.
Siracusa went on to explain how SwitchGlass is better than using the standard macOS Dock.
The macOS Dock does show an icon for each running application and allows apps to be brought to the front and hidden. But the Dock also may contain other things: files, folders, recent (but not currently running) apps, plus the trash can.
The Dock is also centered on the edge of the screen and has limited appearance options. It cannot appear in different positions and sizes on different displays, and it always brings all windows from an app to the front when an app icon is clicked.
Needless to say, you could just ignore SwitchGlass and continue using macOS’s default app switcher that doesn’t offer many customization options. But if you’re a power user who prefers to use a mouse or trackpad to switch apps, then you should give SwitchGlass a try.
Here’s everything you can do with SwitchGlass:
- Click an app icon to bring all windows from that app to the front.
- Hold down Shift while clicking an app icon to bring just one its window to the front.
- Right or Control-click an app icon to pull up a menu from which you can show/hide it.
- Drag one or more files onto an app icon to open those files with the app.
- Hold down Command while clicking an app icon to reveal the app in the Finder.
SwitchGlass does not appear in the Dock. Instead, its interface is exposed though an icon on the right side of the macOS menu bar at the top-right corner of the screen.
Siracusa says he wrote SwitchGlass to replace a similar feature offered by DragThing:
When DragThing was finally left behind — after 24 years of service — by macOS Catalina’s lack of support for 32-bit apps, I knew I’d miss many of its features. I missed its optional modification of the Mac’s window-layering policy so much that I made my first Mac app, Front and Center, to replace it. My second Mac app, SwitchGlass, also replaces a feature I miss from DragThing.
By the way, owners of Touch Bar-enabled Mac notebooks can use an app like TouchSwitcher to quickly cycle through their recently-used apps right from the Touch Bar.
We recently told you about Siracusa’s Front and Center that he just mentioned above. With it, you can adjust the macOS window layering policy to your liking. In classic macOS, clicking a window that belongs to an inactive app makes all its windows come to the front. In Mac OS X and macOS, however, only the window that you clicked comes to the front.
Front and Center provides both the classic and modern behavior so you get best of both worlds. You also get a dedicated shortcut for temporarily overriding whatever mode you’re currently using: simply Shift-click on a window to get the opposite of the chosen behavior.
Best of all, SwitchGlass pairs perfectly with Front and Center, supporting both click and Shift-click actions on app icons in the floating app switcher.
As Siracusa explains:
SwitchGlass is for people who want an interface element dedicated entirely to app switching, with a customizable appearance and location for each attached display. When used alongside the Dock, SwitchGlass provides a second target for mouse-based app switching. With the Dock hidden, it provides an app-switching interface without any clutter from the other functions of the Dock.
SwitchGlass is five bucks on App Store and requires macOS Catalina 10.15 or later.
What do you think of SwitchGlass?
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