When I'm doing web development, I typically only have 2 Mac Applications running - iTerm2 and a Web Browser.
My workflow calls for jumping between them frequently. Thankfully, the
Command+Tab OSX shortcut makes switching applications mouse-free and efficient. I mean, if Tim Ferriss is doing it…
However, there's always another 'Application' lurking in the Application Switcher - the notoriously trollsome Finder. There may be no Finder windows open, but it's still there. Watching. Waiting for you to unwittingly switch to it and start typing. It has an insatiable thirst for keystrokes.
(Troll Finder image from getterdragon)
Worse yet, when you accidently switch to Finder and no Finder windows are open, you are provided little feedback with which to spot your error. Finder will become the app name at the top left of your screen, and both your browser and terminal will be blurred (generally a subtle effect).
That's all you get. So you'll continue typing, believing you're focused on the app you want, and in fact your keystrokes are only whetting Finder's appetite.
Surprisingly, I could not find a clear and concise how-to post on to alter this behavior. So I decided to write one up here.
1. Change the Finder.app Plist
First, open the plist file that corresponds to Finder:
sudo vi /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Info.plist
sudo is required for write access to the file, and substitute
vi with the text editor you're most comfortable with.
Then add the following entry to the file you've opened:
Anywhere in the top-level
dict node of the file will work - here's an example of the new properties in the file:
Then save and quit; and make sure you don't get any readonly or permissions warnings. If you used
sudo, you shouldn't.
2. Relaunch Finder
Next, relaunch finder by holding down
Option and clicking on the Finder dock icon.
Choose Relaunch. Wait a few seconds.
3. Enjoy a troll-free lifestyle
Your Application Switcher should no longer contain Finder. Jumping out of windows has never been safer.
Should you need to open a Finder window again, just perform a Spotlight search and choose "Show All in Finder".
Alternatively, you can use a pro-tool like Alfred to browse through folders. I prefer this method, and find Alfred to be the best in class. (My friend @dorkitude has a few extensions for it too, find them on github.)
Update: Believing this dilemma to be fairly common (though sadly tolerated) among developers using OSX, I submitted this post to Hacker News - if any discussion ensues you can find it here.