Alt+tab doesn't work with fullscreen video

Bug #1616896 reported by Davide Aguiari on 2016-08-25
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
elementary UX

Bug Description

I can't alt+tab with fullscreen videos.
I tested VLC and Elementary Video too.

Davide Aguiari (gorghino) wrote :

Tested with Elementary Loki Beta 2

Zisu Andrei (matzipan) on 2016-08-25
affects: elementaryos → gala
Changed in gala:
status: New → Confirmed

Hm, this is an interesting UX question. Technically, "this is a feature, not a bug." Fullscreen windows, whether a video or otherwise, are opened onto a new workspace. Window Switching (Alt+Tab) in elementary OS is designed to be per-workspace. Since a fullscreen window is on its own workspace, there are no windows to switch between, so Alt+Tab doesn't work.

If you manually move another window onto the workspace with the fullscreen video, you'll see Alt+Tab does work.

There are a few options here:
1. Consider this working-as-designed,
2. Change Alt+Tab to cycle between all windows, not just the current workspace,
3. Make initiating Alt+Tab un-fullscreen any fullscreened windows on the current workspace.

Each of these has some problems.
1. This obviously feels broken to OP, and I can see the line of thought,
2. Alt+Tab being bound to the current workspace is by design, and I don't know that changing that is a net positive,
3. This could cause some weirdness where we end up changing workspaces in the middle of an Alt+Tab animation, and might also be confusing.

Assigning to UX team to discuss.

Changed in gala:
assignee: nobody → elementary UX (elementary-design)
Sam Hewitt (snwh) wrote :

Part of this issue is there's a lack of visual feedback for the as-designed behaviour for when you press Alt+Tab in empty and full-screen apps.

Victor Bolshov (crocodile2u) wrote :

Alt-tab behavior is super annoying, with everything else so far being just great in eOS. I have to make extra mental effort every time to remember whether or not I am currently in fullscreen mode, while I'd just like to switch between windows. I also don't like that fullscreen mode effectively brings window to its own workspace, without that being requested (I actually don't like workspaces at all).

Max McKenzie (maxmck) wrote :


In case anyone else stumbles across this thread whilst trying to work around this issue.

I found a nice trick. First, you need to assign a shortcut to make apps full screen. See

In my case, I hooked it up to ctrl+alt+cmd+space.

When you make an app fullscreen it will then move that app to another workspace/desktop, and into fullscreen.

At this point, you can press ctrl+shift+1 which will move your app to the first workspace/desktop.

Then ctrl+leftarrow will move you back to the first desktop.

and bam you can now alt-tab through all the apps, fullscreen or not.

note: You cannot view the dock or top menu because the fullscreen app is always open in the background. so I keep a web browser maximized and not fullscreen so that when I switch to it the top menu and dock are available.

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Other bug subscribers