What’s New

Contexts is constantly improving. Learn about all the new features, improvements and fixes!

Contexts 3.1

A small update with fixes. Please install it if any of these are impacting you.

  • Fixed an issue introduced in the last update because of which in some cases switching to a window of an app with multiple windows open caused the last active window of that app to also move to the top of the Command-Tab Switcher.
  • Fixed an issue because of which in some cases switching to a window of an app which was assigned to all desktops caused the Space to change unnecessarily.
  • When System Preferences > Trackpad > Scroll & Zoom > “Scroll direction: Natural preference” is set to off, scrolling when Panel is visible changes selection in the correct direction.

Contexts 3

Today, we are releasing Contexts 3, the biggest update to Contexts ever! It comes with a much improved search, options for grouping and filtering windows by Space and a lot more.

Before we go into the details, one important change to note is that Preferences are now accessed by relaunching the app; the “Pref.” buttons have been removed.

Lets look at the 4 most important enhancements first:

  • Search has been dramatically improved and lets you switch to your windows in as few as two or three keystrokes. Yes, you are reading it right! Here is how it works (for more details visit the website):

    • Search matches non-consecutive characters. Up to one typing mistake is ignored too.
    • Character matches at start of app names and window titles get a higher score allowing you to just use acronyms to get to specific windows. E.g. “fd” for a Finder window with title “Documents” and “fw” for a Finder window with title “Work”.
    • Once you type a search query and select a window from the results, typing the same search query next time will cause that window to be the first result. E.g., if you type “m” and the first two results are “Mail” and “Messages” in that order, select the second result “Messages” with the arrow keys and the next time you search “m”, “Messages” will be the first result.
    • If you want to go even faster, use Fast Search: just hold down the Fn key and start typing your search query; the panel will appear and your results will be shown; select a window and release Fn to activate it. E.g. to switch to Safari press Fn-S, to switch to Messages press Fn-ME and so on. It is fast and effortless. You can pick the modifier key you prefer or disable this if you want to from Preferences > Search.

    If you use Number Switching, we highly recommend you try out Fast Search. It is as fast, way easier (to remember a character or two from the title than an arbitrary number), and better at remembering mappings across app restarts.

  • Command-Tab Switcher is now a lot more configurable. First, it can be set to show windows from all Spaces or only from visible Spaces. Second, minimised windows, hidden windows, and apps without windows can all be individually set to show, not show or show at the bottom of the list.

    Also Command-Tab keyboard shortcut and Option-Tab keyboard shortcut can have their own set of settings.

  • Windows are now grouped by Space and ordered alphabetically by app name on Sidebar, Gesture Switcher and Number Switcher. The Sidebar can also be set to show windows from all Spaces, only from visible Spaces or if you are using multiple displays only those which are on the display a Sidebar is on.

    The existing grouping behaviour is still available in case you use Number Switching or just prefer it. See Preferences > General to change back to it.

  • If you are using multiple displays, Contexts can show the Panel on all displays simultaneously. You no longer have to turn your head to look for your window switcher on another display.

Besides the major enhancements mentioned above, the following improvements and refinements have also been made in this release:

  • The app has a new icon.
  • The appearance has been considerably refined.
  • When the Sidebar is configured to be on the left side of the display, the app icons are now shown on the left of the title like they are otherwise.
  • A menu has been added to the Sidebar which can be used to adjust some important preferences. The Hide button has also been moved into it.
  • Adjustments have been made to the positioning of the Panel.
  • You can optionally start a search from the Command-Tab switcher just by typing a query while holding down Command or Option. When this is enabled, you can press & hold Command-Q, Command-W etc to perform the corresponding actions.
  • “Auto adjust window widths so they are not overlapped by Sidebar” preference is now enabled by default.
  • “When cursor not over” preference has been changed from a slider to much clearer named options.
  • Number Switcher shortcuts are disabled by default. Also “Show Numbers on Sidebar” preference has been moved to Number Switcher preferences and is now disabled by default.
  • Some cross platform apps (and others written using third-party frameworks) have issues with the setting “When switching to an app, perform Dock icon action”. This setting is now disabled by default. If you enable it and have issues switching to any apps, please let us know so that we can add an exception for those apps.
  • Single finger gesture is no longer available.
  • Some preferences have been reorganised.
  • The welcome window which has details about how to give Contexts accessibility access has been refined.

If you have any questions or feedback, you can get in touch with us at hello@contexts.co and twitter.com/contextsapp. We love to hear what you think!

Contexts 2.9

  • When Panel is visible, the selected item can be changed by scrolling up or down.
  • Search can be set to always use a specific Input Source.
  • The slight delay before the Command-Tab Switcher becomes visible can be disabled.
  • An option for a workaround has been added that improves switching when an app has windows open on multiple displays.
  • Drag and drop works on Panel when using the Number Switcher.
  • The two fingers gesture only activates if both fingers initially touch near a top corner.
  • Numbers are no longer shown on the Gesture Switcher.
  • Gesture Switcher can also be cancelled by pressing Escape.
  • Command-Backquote (`) and Option-Backquote (`) Switcher remains inactive for apps which are set to be ignored by Contexts.
  • Pref. button on Panel no longer hides when moving the cursor over the first item in the list.
  • An issue that was causing an extra window to appear for iTerm has been fixed.

Contexts 2.8.1

The next version is here with a new two-finger top-edge gesture, the ability to exclude specific apps from being tracked, re-organized preferences and a lot more.

  • A two-finger top-edge gesture option has been added which is a lot less prone to accidental activations.
  • The one-finger and two-finger gestures only activate when touching the left or right end of the top-edge of trackpad to further reduce accidental activations.
  • The search field is no longer shown on the gesture switcher.
  • Specific apps can be exluded from being tracked. Just right-click on an item and select "Never Show App". To have an app tracked again remove it from Preferences > General > Apps to not show.
  • Command-Tab Switcher shows after a slight delay like the default macOS Command-Tab Switcher does. This makes switching to the last active window more seamless by not showing the Panel for a split second.
  • Command-Backquote (`) and Option-Backquote (`) show the windows of the active application so that you can switch to a specific one without cycling through them one by one.
  • The Preferences window has been re-organized to make finding options easier and to allow space for adding more options in the future.
  • Close, Quit, Minimize and Hide actions have been added to the right-click menu.
  • By default switching to an app is equivalent to pressing its Dock icon. Now you can change this behaviour in Preferences > General to only have the app made active.
  • Moving the cursor over the Panel changes the selected item. This can be turned off in Preferences > Panel.
  • A workaround has been added for an issue with JetBrains apps which causes them to not lose focus in some cases (and hence not auto-save) even when another app has become active.
  • Fixed an issue which can sometimes cause a crash when disconnecting external displays.
  • Fixed an issue which was causing crashes on the new Touch Bar MacBook Pros.

Contexts 2.7

One of the aspects that we have been thinking about is that the sidebar can sometimes overlap window content that one may want to see or interact with. In this release we are introducing a feature to help prevent this: when a window opens or is moved or resized Contexts will check if it is overlapped by the sidebar and if it is, will reduce its width a little so that it no longer is. This means you will no longer have to hide the sidebar or manually resizes windows! In case you really want a particular window in a certain place and are okay with it being overlapped, resize it again within the next minute and Contexts will not adjust its width again.

You can enable this from Contexts Preferences > Sidebar. Try it out and send us your feedback!

Here is list of all changes:

  • Contexts can now auto-adjust widths of windows a little so that they are not overlapped by the sidebar. You can enable this in Preferences > Sidebar.
  • Sidebar expands correctly when hovering the cursor over the buttons area at the top.
  • On macOS Yosemite, the sidebar hides correctly for full screen windows.
  • When the panel is set to show on the active display, it shows on the correct display when the active window is a full screen window on a non-primary display.
  • Includes more refinements to the switching mechanism when using multiple displays.
  • Switching with keyboard shortcuts works when clicking and holding on to a window. This can be used to move a window to a different space.
  • Command-<number> shortcuts work correcly for the French keyboard layout.
  • Window titles for Messages app are updated correctly.
  • For Chrome apps, now only one item is shown.
  • Fixed an issue which caused duplicate items for Microsoft Office windows.

Contexts 2.6.1

Contexts 2.6.1 is here! And it brings the much awaited Vibrant Dark & Vibrant Light themes. The interface also now uses the default OS font (San Francisco or Helvetica depending on which macOS version you are on) instead of Gill Sans that we started using way back in the Lucida Grande era. If it looks a bit different, give it some time and it will start to feel a lot more integrated with the OS. We hope you will love it!

Here is list of all changes:

  • Adds Vibrant Light & Vibrant Dark themes which match the light and dark themes for Spotlight. Vibrant Light is the new default. The original theme has been named Subtle. To change, go to Preferences > General.
  • Contexts now uses the default system font instead of Gill Sans for all interface text.
  • The gesture switcher can be confusing for new users who are not aware of it but trigger it accidentally. It is now turned off by default. If you want to use it, it can be enabled in Preferences > Gestures.
  • Numbers can be set to hidden on the Command-Tab Switcher from Preferences > Panel – in case you prefer the cleaner look.
  • If Accessibility Service access is turned off for Contexts while it is running, Contexts asks that it be re-enabled.
  • P/N and K/J can also be used instead of Up/Down Arrow keys for re-ordering keyboard shortcuts.
  • The update notification window has been made larger so that it is easier to read the release notes.

Contexts 2.5

  • New windows are listed next to already open windows of the same app. This makes it much easier to find windows since those of the same app are clustered together.
  • Command-Backquote (`) and Option-Backquote (`) are now only used by Contexts to move up the list when the panel is visible. This means these keyboard shortcuts are no longer reserved globally and you can use Command-Backquote (`) to cycle through windows of the active app.
  • Search results with the same score are sorted alphabetically by application name and then by title.
  • The panel and sidebar widths can be configured in case you want to see more of the titles.
  • The panel scrolls automatically when moving up or down the list if there are more items than it can accomodate.
  • The preferences button is now visible on the Command-Tab Switcher too.
  • A note about macOS not pointing at the right app when a menu bar app has turned on Secure Input was added to the warning window.
  • Fixes an issue that prevented moving an item to another group (via drag & drop or shortcuts) if the last item in that group was reserved.
  • Fixes an issue that caused the sidebar to sometimes hide and re-appear when windows were closed.

Contexts 2.4

This release has two major improvements: an all new faster, easier to use, more ergonomic gesture switcher and the ability to reserve window numbers for specific apps. Try out both of them!

  • The gesture switcher uses a top-edge gesture now. Place finger on the top-edge of the trackpad and then slide it down. The panel will appear (or the sidebar will expand depending on your preferences) and the selection will move down. Lift finger when the desired window is selected.
  • Window number slots can be reserved for specific apps by right-clicking on an item. When you restart your computer or relaunch the app its windows will go into the reserved slots first.
  • Control-P/N, Option-P/N and Command-P/N can be used to move selection up and down.
  • Control-K/J, Option-K/J and Command-K/J can be used to move selection up and down.
  • Fixes an issue which sometimes caused a character to be put into the search field instead when invoking Option keyboard shortcuts.
  • An alert is raised if the Contexts app is renamed or moved to a different folder while it is running.
  • Fixes an issue which in some cases resulted in a crash on macOS Yosemite when using multiple displays.
  • Fixes an issue with the gesture recognition which resulted in crashes on macOS Sierra when waking from sleep.
  • iTerm borderless full-screen windows are now tracked.
  • Switching to Airmail when all its windows are closed should work correctly.
  • VLC full-screen windows are now tracked.

Contexts 2.3

If you are still in the trial period, please update immediately to save yourself some hassle. This update fixes an issue that can prevent the panel from hiding away when the trial period is over.

  • Fixed switching to windows of apps which have multiple windows open on more than one display. Previously, another window of the same app could get activated in many cases (currently this change is only active if you have set Contexts to update to beta versions).
  • When SecureInput is enabled by any app, a warning is shown in the menu bar along with details about the app and a button to quit it.
  • Sidebar detects fullscreen windows better. Also when using multiple displays, sidebar hides on only the display with the fullscreen window.
  • Fixed an issue that can prevent the panel from hiding away when the trial period is over.
  • The search textfield has support for standard movement and deletion keyboard shortcuts.
  • Numeric keypads can also be used for keyboard shortcuts.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for number switching work with the French - Numerical keyboard.
  • Fixed 3 issues which could cause a crash.

Contexts 2.2.0

  • Search matches consecutive characters now. Use a space to match another set of characters.
  • Added palm rejection to prevent activating the switch gesture unintentionally.
  • The panel no longer gets deactivated when using it to close windows or quit apps.
  • Shortcuts for number switching work with the AZERTY keyboard.
  • Fixed an issue which caused the panel's shadow to retain the background of the previous window when switching quickly to a new window .
  • Fixed an issue which caused the sidebar to sometimes become unresponsive waiting for a newly opened app to become ready for input.

Contexts 2.1.0

  • Shortcuts work when Caps Lock is on.
  • New windows of existing apps are correctly added to the top of the recent windows list instead of at the end.
  • Fixed a case which caused the app to sometimes crash when connecting or disconnecting displays.
  • Invoking the shortcut for search when panel is visible hides it.
  • Gesture switching is disabled by default.
  • Borderless iTerm 2 windows are tracked.
  • Stickies app is tracked.

Contexts 2.0.3

  • Switch windows by sliding your finger along the vertical edges of the trackpad! See preferences for details.
  • A more refined aesthetic.
  • Each display can have its own Sidebar.
  • Better handling of Microsoft Office 2016 windows.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing execssive CPU usage for some users.
  • Esc key press no longer gets forwarded to the focused window.
  • Option for which display to show the panel on is saved correctly.

Contexts 1.9.2

  • Fixed: App crashes when opening Java apps on El Capitan.
  • Added the ability to subscribe to beta updates. If you would like to help test out beta versions, turn on preference in Preferences > General.

Contexts 1.9

  • Font and icon sizes can be increased.
  • Switching to an entry of an application without windows has the same effect as clicking its dock icon.
  • The 'Hide' button works correctly on Yosemite.
  • The 'Launch Contexts at login' checkbox should always represent the status correctly.

Contexts 1.8

  • Contexts shows Dock icon badges (this can be disabled in preferences).
  • Safari fullscreen html5 video windows are tracked.

Contexts 1.7

  • Applications without windows are also tracked. This can be disabled in preferences.
  • OS X Lion and Mountain Lion are no longer supported.
  • Sidebar no longer jitters on hover on OS X Yosemite.
  • iCamSource Pro windows are tracked correctly.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud menubar windows are ignored.

Contexts 1.6

  • Improved compatability with Mavericks 10.9.5 and Yosemite beta. This is the last release to support Lion and Mountain Lion.
  • The overlay style is always used for scrollbars.
  • Fixed: Sometimes the wrong window would appear at the top of the recently used windows list. This should now work correctly.
  • Android emulator and Join.me windows are correctly tracked.
  • Drobo windows are ignored.

Contexts 1.5

  • Search ordering is much improved.
  • Search can include digits as long as the first character is not a digit.
  • To select a window by number during search press Command/Option-<number>.
  • Windows can be dragged and dropped on the panel in search mode.

Contexts 1.4

  • Moving the cursor over the panel no longer changes the highlighted window.
  • Fixed: Pressing Command-<number> after Command-Tab selects the correct window instead of defaulting to the first one.

Contexts 1.3

  • Minimized windows are moved to the bottom of the Command-Tab list.
  • When panel is visible Command-S switches to search mode.
  • When panel is visible Control-Command-Up/Down Arrow can be used to reoder groups.
  • Panel width is no longer configurable.
  • VMware Fusion Unity mode windows are tracked.
  • Fixed: When typing characters for search the selection remains on the first window in the list.
  • Fixed: BOINC Manager and PGAdmin3 windows are tracked correctly.

Contexts 1.2

  • Windows can be closed with Command-W or Option-W.
  • Windows can be minimized with Command-M or Option-M.
  • Panel appears faster.
  • Preferences panel has details about all the shortcuts.
  • Windows for applications launched from the shell (like Emacs and MacVim) are also tracked.
  • When using Parallels in Coherence mode, windows of Microsoft Windows applications are also tracked.
  • Fixed: App no longer crashes when entering space characters in search.
  • Fixed: iTerm2 full screen windows are also tracked.

Contexts 1.1

  • Command-Q while panel is active quits application of selected window.
  • Command-H while panel is active hides application of selected window.
  • All Modifier-<number> shortcuts work when panel is active even if they are globally not active.
  • Fixed: Crashes when reordering windows on sidebar.
  • Fixed: In some cases Firefox windows are removed from list when trying to activate them.
  • Fixed: Application icons for Finder and Firefox should appear correctly.
  • Fixed: Only one window for Rdio should show in list.
  • Fixed: Windows for SomaFM should show in list.

Contexts 1.0

  • While panel is visible Shift-Command-Up/Down Arrow and Shift-Option-Up/Down Arrow reorder windows.
  • Command-Backquote (`) and Option-Backquote (`) complement Command/Option-Tab by moving selection in reverse. This is much more ergonomic than Shift-Command/Option-Tab.
  • On Mavericks the panel can be configured to show on the display with the active window.

Contexts 0.9.32

  • Windows search algorithm is much improved.
  • Command-Esc hides panel without switching to selected window.
  • Safari window titles are updated correctly.
  • Stickies app windows are ignored.

Contexts 0.9.30

  • Right Option-<number> and Left Option-<number> shortcuts can be configured separately.
  • Right Command-<number> and Left Command-<number> shortcuts can also be configured to activate windows.
  • There can be up to 9 groups.
  • When sidebar is on left the window icons appear on the right.
  • Steam's windows titled 'Friends' are ignored.
  • Fixed: Crashes when swiping to hide sidebar.

Contexts 0.9.29

  • On Mavericks switching windows is faster and smoother.
  • The preference for switching with Command-Tab is saved.
  • Command-Up Arrow and Command-Down Arrow moves the selection up and down.
  • Fixed: On Mavericks Finder windows do not always come to the front when activated.
  • Fixed: If Gill Sans is disabled the app crashes. Now Lucida Grande is used instead.
  • Fixed: Sometimes multiple Skype windows appear in the list.

Contexts 0.9.26

  • An option to replace the Command-Tab Switcher with Contexts.
  • Instructions for enabling accessibility services on Mavericks.
  • Opens Preferences when the app icon is clicked.
  • Fixed: Finder windows disappear on click in Mavericks.
  • Fixed: Activity Monitor window not appearing in list.

Contexts 0.9.24

  • The number of groups can be set to be between 1 and 5.
  • Custom shortcut can be set for search.
  • Pressing Esc hides the panel without switching to the highlighted window.
  • Fix: Extra windows for Microsoft Office applications, Adobe Reader and Steam should not show in the list.

Contexts 0.9.22

  • Fix: Sometimes windows when closed would not get removed from the list. They should get removed correctly now.
  • All windows of Steam are being ignored for now.

Contexts 0.9.21

  • Fix: Some windows which were not being tracked should now show correctly.
  • The Sidebar can be disabled.
  • The Panel has a button to access preferences.
  • Windows are added to first group until it has at least 6.

Contexts 0.9.20

  • Misc stability fixes.

Contexts 0.9.19

  • Added a walkthrough for activating Accessibility Service.
  • Replaced the preferences icon with a much clearer labelled button.
  • Updated help copy in the preferences window to match the changes to the number switching behavior in the previous version.
  • Fix: Only those windows which are in the groups get added to the activity list.

Contexts 0.9.18

  • Windows without titles are ignored. These are usually helper windows.
  • For windows in the first group only the second digit of the window number is shown. This makes the one keystroke switching functionality more obvious.
  • Some stability fixes.

Contexts 0.9.17

  • The sidebar hides when flash player is made full screen.
  • Tweaks to app update behavior.

Contexts 0.9.13

  • The app is now signed with a Developer ID certificate and so works with Gatekeeper enabled.
  • Added notes and a tip in the preferences window.
  • Fix: When a window is closed the numbers for other windows in its group are consistently updated.

Contexts 0.9.12

  • The sidebar always hides when switching to full screen windows. Some applications do not report the correct window size for full screen windows so sometimes this does not work.
  • Fix: Windows when closed always get removed from the activity list. In previous versions in some cases windows would not.
  • Fix: When switching to a window on another space it is always brought forward. In previous versions in some cases the space would switch but the window would not come forward.

Contexts 0.9.11

  • The app automatically updates to latest version using Sparkle.
  • The UI font has been changed from Helvetica to Gill Sans.
  • Sidebar preferences have been simplified.
  • The app icon and preferences window icons have been updated.
  • Windows are added and removed faster and more reliably.

Contexts 0.9.10

  • First public release.

Support & Feedback

If you have any questions, suggestions, feedback, a bug to report, or just want to send us some appreciation, we are listening at hello@contexts.co and twitter.com/contextsapp.

We love hearing from you.