Manage iTunes Window Size When Out of Bounds

| How-To

Sometimes, a Mac OS X Window gets too big on the screen to see the resize control on the bottom right. Worse, with iTunes, the green button doesn’t auto-resize the window; rather it creates a mini player. Here’s how to fix the size of an iTunes (or any other app’s) window when it seems you can’t access that resize control.

One of the so-called UI features of Mac OS X is that windows can only be resized from the diagonally ribbed control at the bottom right of a window. Occasionally, this can cause frustration, especially with iTunes.

iTunes-0 The Window resize control

1. Two Monitor Trick. The first thing to try, of course, is if you have a dual monitor set up. If iTunes is on the smaller screen of, say, a MacBook, just drag it to the larger screen. That should reveal the resize control. Then you can resize and move iTunes back to the smaller screen.

But you already knew that. Let’s tackle something tougher.

2. The Option Key Trick. Let’s take a close look at an iTunes Window on a single display that somehow got too big to access the resize control. This can happen under rare circumstances.


Window edge out of bounds

Normally, you would click the green button at the top of iTunes to set the window size equal to the display size. Doing that in iTunes, however, produces the mini player. That’s nice to have sometimes, but of no help to us here in our dilemma.


The mini player

Instead, first get the dock out of the way if you have it wide and at the bottom.*  It can get in the way, and you might end up clicking in the dock instead of the size control. Move it, for example, to the side. Then hold down the Option key on the keyboard while you click the green button at the top of iTunes, and you’ll get the desired effect.


Size control revealed!

Now you can resize the iTunes window to your satisfaction. Then move your dock back. However, I’ve occasionally had a poorly behaved app fail to respond to the green button properly. The resize control remained stubbornly hidden. There’s a way out that always works.

3. System Preferences Trick. If you get into that nasty mode I just described and find yourself helpless with a misbehaved app, go to System Preferences -> Displays and set the screen resolution down one setting. Like this:


System Preferences -> Displays. Size control revealed!

That will force the edge of the misbehaved window to be revealed. (Again, you may have to move the dock out of the way.)  Resize to a smaller window, then change the Display setting back to its normal setting.

With this bag of tricks, you should never again have to be faced with a window that got too big for your display. Do you have any of your own tricks that you’ve discovered?


* Apple Menu -> Dock -> Position on Left

Popular TMO Stories



You could also get something like Cinch or ShifIt, which both offer window resizing - Cinch by dragging the cursor to the edge of your screen and Shifit through keyboard commands. (I use both). They each offer 50% and full-screen resizes. Makes drag-and-drop between windows simpler, too.


AppleScript is the easiest way to go here.

tell application “iTunes” to set bounds of window “iTunes” to {0, 22, 1740, 1120}

(adjust last two numbers as necessary; the given numbers are appropriate for 1920x1200)


It is so dumb that iTunes still isn’t a Cocoa app, so it has problems like this. My solution of choice is to use the Window Snapping features of BetterTouchTool. I HIGHLY recommend this tool for anybody with a magic mouse or a multitouch trackpad.


iTunes menu Window/Zoom will resize to the correct size!


iTunes Window/Zoom, eh?  NIfty.  I always wondered what that was for.


The same thing happened to me after plugging in and then unplugging a bigger monitor. As a software developer, I find bugs like this absolutely unacceptable. No window should _ever_ be displayed that cannot be resized from the bottom right corner. Please everyone, file a bug report with Apple. In iTunes, choose “Provide iTunes Feedback” from the “iTunes” menu.


This problem only happens to me when I resize the iTunes window on a larger screen MBP on a network shared iTunes library. Both of my networked Macs use a shared remote disk. If I resize my window on the larger screen, it will be too large on the other.

The tip to use iTunes Window/Zoom is a good one. I’ll have to use that next time I have this occur. I have always use the screen resolution method.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account