How to Keep All Windows Open When Closing an App on Mac

George Herman
George Herman
IT Security Expert

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Instead of keeping any websites in the Bookmarks to revisit them, some people just prefer leaving tonnes of tabs open in the Safari browser. However, if any of these tabs gets accidentally closed, they freak out immediately.

In case this is happening to you, we advise you to keep calm as your problem can be solved. First, open Safari’s History > Reopen Last Closed Window or History > Reopen All Windows from Last Session menu options and if this doesn’t work, just read our How to Guide on the issue.

When talking about an application on your Mac, the first thing you should know is that whether closing this app keeps its windows open and if quitting it is controlled by a certain setting. This is how you can check how your Mac is configured:

  1. Open the Apple menu at the upper-left corner of your screen and select System Preferences.
  2. Select the General panel.
  3. In the General panel, look for the option Close windows when quitting an app.
  • In case the option Close windows when quitting an app is checked, then quitting a program (by pressing Command-Q or by choosing [Program name] > Quit from the menu) will close all of its windows. Once reopened, it will start fresh.
  • If the option Close windows when quitting an app is unchecked, then re-launching a compatible application will bring back all tabs you had opened when you used it last. For that reason, your version of Preview may be showing you old JPEGs every time you open it.

Yet, there is something good about it – you can override whatever your default behavior is by holding down the Option key on your keyboard when closing an application.

In case you have checked the Close windows when quitting an app setting on, then holding down the Option key when you click on Command-Q or when you select [Program name] > Quit from the menu will keep the application’s windows open for that one time only.

However, if instead you have unchecked the option Close windows when quitting an app, all of your open tabs will come back when the apps are reopened. In this case, holding down the Option key while closing a program will force it to quit everything that is open this time.

So far, so good. However, there’s one more important thing you should know. No matter what’s the configuration of your Mac, if you launch a program from the Dock while you’re holding down Shift on your keyboard, the application will be forced to close all the existing windows. This is a good feature in case the Safari browser has opened a malicious website that’s causing it to crash repeatedly.

To force-quite the app you want, just hold down the Shift key and then click on the program in the Dock to close it. Now you are all done and can continue with your everyday activities.



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