How to Exit Full Screen on Mac

There has been a trend toward smaller laptops to make them more portable, consume less energy, and increase battery life. The MacBook Air is undoubtedly an excellent example of this, and with smaller laptops, we also get less screen area to work with.

To make our work a little easier, we often use full-screen mode with applications, but many users can panic when they are unsure of how to get out of this setting. There are four simple ways to exit full screen on your Mac: the window buttons, a keyboard shortcut, the function key, or the menu.

My name is Eric, and I have been working with computers since I was a kid in the late 1970s. I know that navigating around the desktop on your Mac can sometimes be challenging, especially for new users, but I can give you some tips on how to get out of full-screen mode.

You can easily do this, and if you keep reading below, I will show you some straightforward methods to help you exit full-screen on your Mac.

Four Methods to Exit Full Screen on Mac

There are four simple ways to exit full screen. The first method involves using your mouse or trackpad and the windows buttons on the window you have in full-screen mode. The second two use the keyboard, and the fourth uses the application menu. Let’s take a look at each of them.

1. Use the Window Buttons

Step 1: Hover your mouse pointer over the area at the top of the screen, and you will see the menu and the window buttons appear in the upper left corner of the screen.

Step 2: Click the green window button, and the system will exit full-screen mode.

2. Shortcut Keys

In my opinion, this is the quickest and easiest method. It’s only one step, as you can see below, but it can sometimes be hard to remember the key sequence.

Step 1: Hit the Control+Command+F keys simultaneously, and this will instantly exit full-screen mode.

3. Function Key

Using the function (fn) key is similar to the shortcut method above. You just use the fn key plus the F key to toggle between full-screen mode. 

Step 1: Press the fn+F keys, and it should get you out of full-screen mode.

4. The Menu

One last method you can use is the application’s menu. This requires an extra click but is still effective, and some people prefer using the menus.

Step 1: Hover your mouse pointer over the area at the top of the screen, and you will see the menu appear at the top of the screen.

Step 2: Click on the View menu.

Step 3: Click on the Exit Full Screen option.

Minimizing from Full-screen

This is something that I was curious about. Can you minimize a window from full-screen mode without first exiting full-screen mode? I have searched and seen some information saying that you can.

The information I read said that you could use the yellow button from the window buttons to do so or use the shortcut key sequence Command+M. I tried both of these methods, and neither of them worked. 

The yellow button seems disabled when in full-screen mode, and the Command+M key sequence did not do anything. Maybe this worked on previous versions of macOS, but with my version of Monterey, it definitely did not work. 


Below are a few questions that are frequently asked when talking about full-screen mode.

Why is the Text on my Window Huge Even though I’m not in Full-Screen?

If the words or text in a window such as Safari or Chrome look much larger than usual, it is not due to the application being in full-screen mode. The full-Screen mode does not change the text size. The view has probably been zoomed in. The next question reviews how to adjust this.

How Can I Increase or Decrease the Text Size?

You need to zoom in or zoom out. You can zoom in and out using the COMMAND and -  or + keys.use COMMAND and - to zoom out. Use the COMMAND and + key to zoom in. This will allow you to adjust the size of the text and its contents to where you can read it better.

Why Doesn’t F11 Exit Full-screen Mode?

Many users have heard that the F11 key will toggle full screen mode. That is, pressing it will switch between full screen and not full screen. This works on Microsoft Windows but is not a default setting on Mac. If you want to use F11 to exit full-screen, you can reconfigure it.


Above I have shown you four different ways to get out of full screen mode. You can use the green window button, the shortcut key, the fn key, or even the application menu. 

Hopefully, you can use the one that you are most comfortable with when you need to exit full-screen mode.

If anyone out there knows how to minimize a window straight from full-screen mode without first exiting full-screen mode, I would love to hear from you!

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