OS X Lion Quick Tip: Reorder Windows in Mission Control



UPDATE (With apologies): Turns out this is only in the current Lion Beta, something I never would have imagined. Thanks to Rodney for pointing it out. We’ll let you know when it makes its way into a full release since it is quite useful!

The more I use OS X Lion the more I like the features it brought to the Mac and, although it can be a bit inconsistent, I am really learning to appreciate fullscreen apps. I’m liking Mission Control more and more too. The only issue I have had has been the fact that when I have a lot of applications in fullscreen mode it can take a good bit of swiping from one to the next. In addition, if I am going between two specific windows frequently it only makes sense to have them right next to one another.

There’s a simple way to do this and put all your windows in the order that is most convenient for you.


For example, if I am working on a post and want to go between my preferred blogging application, MarsEdit, and Safari, which I need in order to get information on the item, it can be an issue is they are far apart in Mission Control. Sure, I could pull Safari out of fullscreen mode and have the windows sitting side by side, but while that works great on a 27″ iMac it can feel a bit cramped on an 11″ or 13″ MacBook Air.


It is much easier to have both MarsEdit and Safari running in fullscreen mode so that each gets a full 11″ or 13″ of screen real estate. The problem is that the two windows are a good many apps apart and swiping from one to the other is a distance of four windows. It would be much better to have the windows next to one another.


So move them!

Swipe three fingers up to go into Mission Control.

Left click on the window you want to move and drag it into position.

Release, swipe three fingers down and you will be good to go since MarsEdit and Safari are now rigt next to one another.


It is a simple tip but one it is one that is making my use of OS X Lion even smoother and more convenient than ever.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

5 Comments on "OS X Lion Quick Tip: Reorder Windows in Mission Control"

  1. Rodney St. John | October 11, 2011 at 5:50 am |

    Hmmm.  I’ve been trying to do that since I installed Lion…but I haven’t been able to do that.  And I still can’t get it to work.  I just did some googling and this seems to only work in 10.7.2 beta.  Are you running Lion’s latest beta?

    • Rodney-

      You are completely correct. Sorry!! NEVER imagined something like this would be in a Beta release only. Never. Seems so obvious… and I’m using it all the time.
      Changing the post!!!

      • Rodney St. John | October 11, 2011 at 5:56 am |

        Now I’m tempted to log in and download the beta, but it sounds like it will be released to the general public any day now….so I’ll wait a few more days.  This is a great feature, and I can’t wait to get it.  It seems like something so simple…surprised it didn’t make it in the initial release.  

        • Agreed- that’s the reason it NEVER occurred to me that this was only in the Beta. Looks straight-forward and duh! Truth be told, I actually felt stupid when I found it and thought, “How could I have NOT known about this?” That explains it!
          Thanks Rodney!

  2. Rodney St. John | October 11, 2011 at 5:54 am |

    But I did find that I can turn off the “Automatically Rearrange spaces based on use.” in the Mission control settings.  For now, I minimize the 3 or 4 apps I want to use a lot today in the first desktop then I open 3 more desktops/space and drag them in order to the desktop/space that I want.  Then I can flick left or right 4 fingers to view my other desktop/spaces.

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