Turn Off Animations (Instant Transition) in Mission Control / Exposé on OS X Yosemite, Lion, Mac

mission-control-disable-animations-annoyingThe following will let you turn tweak or completely turn off the animations for Mission Control (still called Expose in some places.) This works for Lion, Snow Leopard, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite and probably the next version of OS X. Unfortunately, you can tweak nearly every animation except the slide when switching screens. See the post linked to on the bottom or click here to see how you can bypass OS X’s native Mission Control / Expose window manager and use a sweet 3rd party app called TotalSpaces. See my previous post about using VirtualSpaces to completely turn off/disable swype/slide/transition animation when switching desktops or screens in OS X Mavericks and Yosemite.



If the gestures listed below don’t work, you will need to enable them (yours may vary depending on your hardware/OS/settings) Thanks to this StackOverflow answer for the command below:

defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -int 0 && killall Dock

And to go back to defaults run:

defaults delete com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration && killall Dock

This turns off the annoying animations for Mission Control
(aka Expose) including:

  • Mission Control (swipe up with four fingers or keyboard shortcut)
  • App Exposé (swipe down with four fingers or kb key)
  • Launchpad (pinch with thumb and three fingers, like a crab, or those machines you put a coin in that have a claw which never seems to be able to grip on the toy you’re aiming to get.)
  • Show Desktop (spread thumb and three fingers, opposite of Launchpad gesture ^)

but unfortunately it does nothing for the following animations:

  • Notification center sliding in (2 finger gesture from right edge of trackpad or using kb shortcut)
  • Swiping with 3 fingers on the trackpad to switch between full screen apps
  • Switching desktops (whether using your gesture or dedicated keyboard shortcut per screen/desktop)
  • Switching back <> forth pages in the Safari browser

Reduce window resizing animation speed (I’ve had mediocre results with this):

defaults write -g NSWindowResizeTime -float 0.001

or revert to default:

defaults delete -g NSWindowResizeTime

You’ll have to quit the applications you’re using for this to take effect.


It would be nicer if when we made changes using `default`, we somehow kept a log of what we’re doing. Something like ~/.zhistory or ~/.bash_history would be nice. to save these exact commands you’re probably copying and pasting from strangers on the Internet. This is possible with very little knowledge of shell scripting and only a single alias command.

First is the one liner. This will create a temporary file, ask if you want to proceed before blindly applying the new value to the key for `com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration` and then prompt you that Dock is restarting and shows you how many commands (lines) are in that temp file. This is to disable the animation and see this in action on one line:

: ${tmplog:=`mktemp -t ohmytosh.com`} && echo "Writing these files to log $tmplog just in case. Proceed?" && read && echo "defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0.1 && killall Dock" >> $tmplog && defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0.1 && killall Dock && echo "restarting Dock.. you have `cat $tmplog | wc -l` lines in your temp file"

Here’s the line broken down to make it easier to read:


: ${tmplog:=`mktemp -t ohmytosh.com`} && # assign value from `mktemp` to $tmplog if this var is null
echo "Writing these files to log $tmplog just in case. Proceed?" &&
read && # wait for user input (ctrl + C cancels this entire line due to the &&'s)
echo "defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0.1 && killall Dock" >> $tmplog && # write command to logfile 
defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0.1 && # run the actual command
killall Dock && 
echo "restarting Dock.. you have `cat $tmplog | wc -l` lines in your temp file" # some user feedback. use unset $tmplog, though it will be unset if shell closes.

Upcoming posts: How to use a 3rd party app to avoid viewing the desktop/screen slide animation 50+ times a day and how to put the above into a re-usable shell alias. For now, see how I did it using VirtualDesktops years ago. Nowadays I use TotalSpaces.

If you’re a developer you’ll see some repetition here (violation of Don’t Repeat Yourself, or DRY) but should this be DRY, it’s still a hassle to type out, especially if we’re working a lot with `defaults`. Perhaps we can make this more robust but general enough to use elsewhere, a shell alias perhaps? for next time…