• Posted by Peter Haza
  • On September 11, 2008

  • Filed under Anything else


Cmd + Tab and Dock not working in OS X

Today suddenly my Cmd + Tab just died on me, along with the Dock. Seeing as I use ⌘⇥ all the time, I set out for a solution. Being quite early in the morning, I didn’t really think for myself but figured Google could do the job.

Well, Google did as I told and led me to this thread. People were talking about deleting files on the command line, sorting permission and even re-installing the Dock.

Too much work for me, so I turned to IRC, knowing morning here meant evening somewhere else.

ph^: Is there anything similar to explorer in windows that you can kill in os x to make the dock and ⌘⇥ work again?

Infininight: yeah…

Infininight: it’s called the “Dock” 😉

And so I fired up Activity Monitor and force killed Dock. Two seconds later my Dock popped up and ⌘ ⇥ worked again.


  1. Posted by Patrick 11th September, 2008 at 10:26 pm |

    Was that a Mac specific IRC channel and if so could you please tell me the server and channel name?

    Thanks in advance

  2. Posted by Peter Haza 11th September, 2008 at 10:32 pm |

    No, it’s actually a channel for TextMate, but all the clever people are hanging in there anyway. That would be ##textmate on irc.freenode.net.

  3. Posted by Patrick 12th September, 2008 at 09:24 am |

    Thank you very much.

  4. Posted by Corgi 13th October, 2008 at 01:36 am |

    I think I love you. Thanks.

  5. Posted by Pagaille 15th November, 2008 at 02:50 pm |

    I was so happy to find this trick… However it didn’t worked for me :-( I still have to reboot my machine in order for this to work again…

  6. Posted by Pagaille 15th November, 2008 at 02:53 pm |

    Thinking twice, I remembered that I had been watching tv throught eyeTV, which had been started through Front Row (using a google labs python script)… I discovered that simply stopping eyeTV wasn’t enough : you also have to quit Front Row. Thanks !! :-)

  7. Posted by Aaron Harp 21st May, 2009 at 02:47 am |

    thank you, thank you.

  8. Posted by Kiki 29th May, 2009 at 04:00 pm |

    Gah, I even figured this out myself first time it happened to me… thanks.

  9. Posted by Fred Raputznik 1st June, 2009 at 06:05 pm |

    Thanks for the tip! I always forget about Activity Monitor; I was looking to restart Dock via the Force Quit dialog! Thanks!

  10. Posted by Bill 7th August, 2009 at 06:39 pm |


    Just what I was looking for and found it at the top of the Google results for "cmd-tab" AND "not working". Short. Simple. I all problems were so easily solved.


  11. Posted by Theodric 10th September, 2009 at 01:14 pm |

    Nice one. For me, only cmd-tab and cmd-space (Spotlight) had quit working: I fired up Activity Monitor and discovered that the screensaver dæmon had hung. Killed that, and all was back as normal. But you pointed me in the right direction!

  12. Posted by jerry 9th October, 2009 at 11:05 am |

    Same-same here. Screensaver daemon hung, no Cmd-Tab. Wonder what that is…
    But anyway, thanks for the tip, Peter!

  13. Posted by nobody 16th October, 2009 at 03:17 pm |

    Thanks! I did think to open the Activity Manager, but I thought the Finder was the problem, not the Dock.

  14. Posted by Niels 5th December, 2009 at 07:18 am |

    Worked. Weird problem….

  15. Posted by Musthafa 8th December, 2009 at 05:02 pm |

    Thanks a lot !!!, You saved my day :)

  16. Posted by Bob Kauflin 18th December, 2009 at 10:10 pm |

    I had the same problem. Turned out I was running a screensaver called PolarClock. I swtiched to another screensaver and it solved the problem.

  17. Posted by urchinpriests 8th January, 2010 at 02:08 pm |

    Nice to see the topic Google result (yours) is now a simple fix. Thanks for posting… worked great!

  18. Posted by Jeroen 19th January, 2010 at 07:18 pm |

    In my case it was also Frontrow, eating up all my cpu as well by the way.. Thanks a bundle..

  19. Posted by Carlos 30th January, 2010 at 07:17 pm |

    This never happened before, but now it did, and your solution helped me out. Thanks!

  20. Posted by Shaun 2nd February, 2010 at 04:14 am |

    This worked for me from the command line:

    killall -HUP Dock

  21. Posted by Mrloureed 19th March, 2010 at 07:27 pm |


  22. Posted by reader 12th April, 2010 at 06:16 am |

    awesome! u saved me a reboot! i was almost about to do tht!

  23. Posted by HMK 13th April, 2010 at 11:49 am |

    Excellent! Thanks a lot

  24. Posted by mapquest 14th April, 2010 at 04:34 pm |

    thanks you saved me too from a reboot

  25. Posted by Steve 28th April, 2010 at 08:47 pm |

    You just saved my butt.

  26. Posted by Matt R 10th May, 2010 at 05:46 am |

    Thanks! Though I had a few moments of being baffled by how to get to Activity Monitor, since without the Dock or cmd+tab I couldn't figure out how to get to a command line or a Finder window. (Exposé was also not working properly….) But the Spotlight in the upper corner of the menu bar was working, so I searched for Activity Monitor there and managed to run it. Not sure if there's a better way to get to it.

    Could there be a common cause for these Dock/cmd+tab problems? In my case it happened while running several very CPU-intensive processes simultaneously….

  27. Posted by starticsblog 17th June, 2010 at 10:38 pm |

    nice man, thanks a lot!

  28. Posted by Helen Valentine 21st June, 2010 at 09:04 pm |

    Thank you so much for this – I was in the middle of a project & really worried for a second there!

  29. Posted by yshana 23rd June, 2010 at 05:10 am |

    Phew! Glad I thought of Google. And thank you!

  30. Posted by ~kqr 5th July, 2010 at 11:13 pm |

    Wow. This problem have irritated me for so long. Amazingly simple solution there. Kudos to you and forward my thanks to the people who helped you.

  31. Posted by Adam 5th July, 2010 at 11:47 pm |

    I wish i would have found this post a few days ago! Gracias.

  32. Posted by Steve 7th July, 2010 at 06:38 pm |

    Thanks to you I didn't have a problem long enough to get excited about. Nice work.

  33. Posted by Help 17th July, 2010 at 05:12 am |

    Thank you so much! My three year old was on my computer for 2 minutes and somehow SCREWED IT UP! :) This tip is one of the one hundred fixes I need! :)

  34. Posted by matt 6th August, 2010 at 07:59 am |


  35. Posted by Josh 2nd October, 2010 at 02:14 pm |

    Every other site I checked was worthless, but you totally fixed my problem. Thanks so much!

  36. Posted by Tuomas 3rd November, 2010 at 10:48 am |

    Thank you sooooo soooooo sooooooooooooooo much!

  37. Posted by Pooria 29th December, 2010 at 02:08 am |

    killall Dock

    It always works!

  38. Posted by Eoin 31st December, 2010 at 11:57 pm |

    Thank You so much too! This was wrecking my head…and its Easy Peasy – My 7 month old girl loves this mac so much – we just have to let her hammer at it but she's always able to disable something ….of course her own baby toy laptop is of no interest to her! Thanks again

  39. Posted by Mani 6th January, 2011 at 07:50 pm |

    Thanks for posting this!!!