How to use full-screen mode on Mac

16-inch MacBook Pro
16-inch MacBook Pro (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

If you're working with a small screen or need to focus on one specific app, you can use full-screen mode in macOS to brush unused apps aside and commit your entire screen to a single app. Here's all you need to know about full-screen mode on Mac.

How to enter full-screen mode on Mac

  1. In the top left corner of the app window, click the full-screen button. It's green and looks like two arrows pointing outward
  2. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Control + Command + F.

To enter full-screen mode, click on the full-screen button at the top left of an app window. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Control + Command + F. (Image credit: iMore)
  • To access the Mac menu bar, hover your cursor over the top of the screen. The menu bar will drop down so you can access its tools.
  • If you need to get access to the Dock, move your cursor toward the Dock. The Dock is either on the left, right, or bottom of your Mac's screen.
  • To switch between apps while in full-screen mode, you can use a three-finger swipe gesture on your Mac trackpad or use the Command + Tab shortcut keys.

How to exit full-screen mode on Mac

  1. Hover your cursor over the top left corner of the screen until you see the window bar. Then click the Exit full-screen button. It's red and looks like an X.
  2. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Control + Command + F.

    In the market?

    If you're looking for a new Mac, consider our list of the best Mac desktops of the year.

To exit full-screen mode, click on the exit full screen button at the top left of an app window. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Control + Command + F. (Image credit: iMore)

Questions?

Anything we missed? Run into any trouble using full-screen mode? Gimme a shout in the comments below or over on Twitter!

Updated November 2020: Updated for macOS Big Sur.

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.

1 Comment
  • Entering/exiting full screen is different under Big Sur.
    Hovering over the green dot gives a drop down menu offering entering full screen.
    Doing the same in full screen mode gives the drop down to exit.
    Used to use full screen years ago and it was a pain the ***, mostly involving switching apps as well as the prior way to enter/exit. This little change is so much better.