Clear all

macOS Finder & App Window Layering  



Hi All. This is something that's always bothered me, but not enough to try and fix it... until now. I have to preface this by saying that I use PathFinder instead of the Finder, which creates its own desktop. I know this is really meant for the PathFinder support forum, but I also wanted to tap you all's heads. This behavior happens EVEN if PathFinder is closed.

Is there a setting, app, etc. that will keep my Finder and application windows "grouped together"?

For example. I have two photos open in Photoshop, and obviously the Finder is running. If I'm in Photoshop and I need something in the Finder, I can click on a Finder window and the Finder app comes to the front. Then, if I click on a photo in Photoshop, Photoshop comes to the front... BUT the Finder window is now "sandwiched" between the two Photo windows. A simple example, but it seems to happen regardless of the number of apps, or which apps are open.

Thanks in advance

Running 10.11.6 at work and 10.13.6 at home.

4 Answers

Yes, this is a "feature" of the way macOS works with windowing of the app interface - and the associated behaviour of being able to have an application "in focus" but no visible window is a frequent source of confusion for non-tech folk.


I think, that maybe the procedural work around for you is to use the keyboard to invoke app switcher (command-tab) to move the focus between apps rather than clicking to move the focus between windows. But I do know that this behaviour may not be consistent depending on the 3rd party app coding - particularly when you're working with multiple virtual "desktops".


If I understand your desire correctly, you would like all the windows of an app to rise above other app windows when that app is the app in the menu bar.

The DragThing app has an option to bring all windows of an app to the front when you switched app.   Many of the DragThing features have been minimized by changes to macOS over the years, but I keep using DragThing just for the bringing of all windows to an app to the front when I switch.

HOWEVER, DragThing is a 32-bit app and the author has notified the customer base that he will NOT be converting it to a 64-bit app.  So next year, when the next macOS version after Mojave is released, DragThing will not run on that release as Apple has indicated that the release after Mojave will run ONLY 64-bit apps.

DragThing will continue to run on Mojave and older releases until you want to move beyond Mojave, but eventually, DragThing will become a distant memory.

If anyone else knows of a 64-bit app that will perform that 1 service, I will also be grateful.


Thanks Guys. Mojave is the last OS that my current Mac will support, so the issues with DragThing wouldn't be an issue. I'll check that one out.



If I did this right, there should be a DragThing Preference screen shot of the bring all windows to the front option.

Screen Shot 2018 11 15 at 15 Thu 11.21 AM