iMac System Preferences: The Mission Control Pane

By Mark L. Chambers

The following figure illustrates your iMac’s Mission Control, Spaces, and Dashboard settings that you can configure in this group. You can use Mission Control (found in System Preferences) to view all the application windows that you’re using at one time so that you can select a new active window.

Or you can move all windows aside so that you can see your Desktop. Dashboard presents a number of widgets (mini-applications), which you can summon and hide with a single key.

Tweak the operation of Mission Control from this pane.

Tweak the operation of Mission Control from this pane.

Here’s what you can control about Mission Control (horrible pun not intended but accepted nonetheless):

  • Hot Corners: Click the button at the lower left to specify your hot corner settings. These four pop-up menus operate just like the Hot Corners/Active Screen Corners of the Desktop & Screen Savers pane, but they control the operation of the OS X screen management features. Click one to specify that corner as

    • All Windows corner: Displays all windows on your Desktop

    • Application Windows corner: Displays only the windows from the active application

    • Desktop corner: Moves all windows to the outside of the screen to uncover your Desktop

    • Dashboard corner: Displays your Dashboard widgets

    • Notification Center corner: Displays the Notification Center strip at the right side of your Desktop

    Choose Launchpad to activate the Launchpad screen. Note that you can also set the Screen Saver Start and Disable corners from here, as well as put your display to sleep.

  • Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts: Use each pop-up menu to set the key sequences (and mouse button settings) for Mission Control, Application windows, Show Desktop, and the Dashboard.

    You’re not limited to just the keyboard and mouse shortcuts on the pop-up menus. Press the Shift, Control, Option, and Command keys while a pop-up menu is open, and you see these modifiers appear as menu choices! (Heck, you can even combine modifiers, such as Command key+Shift+F9 instead of just F9.)

    By default, Mavericks displays your Dashboard as a Space within the Mission Control screen. If you prefer your Dashboard widgets to appear as an overlay (as they did in previous versions of OS X), deselect the Show Dashboard as a Space check box.

  • Automatically Rearrange Spaces Based on Most Recent Use: If this check box is selected, Mission Control presents your most recently used Spaces first within the thumbnails at the top of the screen.

  • When Switching to an Application: When selected, this check box allows you to switch applications between Spaces desktops using the Command key+Tab shortcut. Mavericks jumps to the desktop that has an open window for the application you choose, even if that desktop is not currently active.

  • Group Windows by Application: When selected, this check box automatically arranges windows in the Mission Control screen by the application that created them.

  • Displays Have Separate Spaces: If you have multiple monitors connected to your iMac, you can select this check box to create a separate Spaces display for each monitor.