How to Switch Between Windows/Tabs in Chrome & Safari on macOS (Keyboard Shortcuts)

We all know that Apple computers i.e. MacBook Air, Pro, iMac, Mac Pros or even Mac Minis come with macOS which is an operating system exclusive to Apple computers. Unlike Windows, macOS does things differently and they can sometimes be confusing for those who want to switch from Windows to macOS.

When I switched from a Windows 10 laptop to a MacBook Pro, I had to figure out a lot of keyboard combinations myself and sometimes I would discover some by accidentally pressing random buttons. The good part about macOS is that there are a lot of useful keyboard shortcuts but the bad part is that they can be a bit complex like switching between windows in different Spaces.

One of the most used keyboard combinations on computers is the window switching keyboard combination. On Windows, it is as easy as Alt + Tab which has been the same ever since I remember my first computer use which was on Windows XP. But on a macOS machine, things work differently even for switching windows and tabs. Let us take a look at how one can switch between windows and tabs using their keyboard shortcut on macOS.

How to Switch Between Windows in Chrome & Safari on Mac OS – Keyboard Shortcut

Switching between different windows of the same app i.e. Chrome or Safari on macOS is actually very easy and this can be done easily using your keyboard. This will be helpful for those who just got a Mac and expect this to work just like it does on Windows or some Linux distros. But before you read ahead, keep in mind that using this key combination will only work when these windows are in the same space while the other one works fine in any case.

Keep in mind that this depends on keyboard layouts from the region you’re in. For people living using the US English keyboard layout, you need to use the keyboard combo: command (⌘) + `.

How to Switch Between Windows in Chrome & Safari on Mac OS - Keyboard Shortcut

You can access the list of shortcuts for your keyboard when you go to System Prefrences > Keyboard > Shortcuts and then click on Keyboard to see the available key combinations for different shortcuts. The video embedded above shows how this switching between two different windows works.

It works great no matter what browser you use and it can be Google Chrome or Safari.

For people having UK English keyboard layout, things work a bit differently since the UK keyboard has a different layout and the (`) key is located differently as compared to the US keyboard. You can check the location of the key in the image above. Apart from the keyboard layout, the key combination is essentially the same.

Keep in mind

macOS window switch in spaces

As mentioned, this will only work for the windows that are in the same Space and if these windows are being separated by Spaces, the key combination will not work and to switch windows in that case, one would have to use the key combination Command + Tab. After choosing the icon of either Chrome or Safari, you must use the Arrow Up or Arrow Down keys to switch between the windows.

How to Switch Between Tabs in Chrome & Safari on Mac OS – Keyboard Shortcut

Now that we have talked about windows for the same app, let us talk about switching tabs on Google Chrome and Safari. Switching between the tabs is quite easy to do and can be done easily using the keyboard combination command (⌘) + position number of the tab.

To many of you, the term “position number of the tab” might be a bit confusing but it simply means the number at which the tab is situated. Take a look at the image below to understand it better.

How to Switch Between Tabs in Chrome & Safari on Mac OS - Keyboard Shortcut

To switch between the tabs, you just need to use the key combination as mentioned above – command (⌘) + position number of the tab. Let’s say you want to switch to the first tab, you just need to press command (⌘) + 1 and the same to switch to others.

Keep in mind

This tab switching keyboard combination only works when you make sure that CAPS LOCK is off. It kind of seems disappointing that something as important and useful like this isn’t something that Apple worked on properly. Thankfully, the key combination works fine on other apps like Firefox, Finder etc. and this has been tested on macOS High Sierra.


Switching between windows and tabs on apps like Google Chrome and macOS is something that should not be so complex and Apple should work on better integration of these keyboard shortcuts to make them available consistenly on all the apps running on macOS.

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