Switching between open windows in elementary OS 6 has changed.

A recent update replaced the distro’s flashy (in both senses of the word) alt + tab experience with a simpler version. The new approach is more akin to the sort of switchers found in other Linux desktop environments and other desktop operating systems.

To better illustrate the change here’s a gif that shows what window switching looked like in elementary OS 6 previously:

an animated gif of the elementary os  window switcher - old
The old experience

And here is what window switching looks like after installing the latest updates:

an animated gif of the elementary os  window switcher - new
The new experience

Simpler, right?

Elementary devs say user feedback informed the change. Users found “[…] looking down at the dock—or even across physical space to the primary display in the case of multi-display users—was less intuitive and overloaded the dock’s purpose.”

It’s hard to disagree.

Making the dock the anchor for the window switcher is an odd one. And while the swishy window swapping animations that accompany the UI do look slick, do it too fast and you end up feeling sea sick!

Finally, with so much zing happening on screen at once — icons, windows, dimming, zooms, etc — there was total visual overload for a shortcut people know for being fast and efficient.

Additionally, the old windows switcher was one way; you couldn’t hold shift to cycle in reverse (which you can do on pretty much every DE and OS I’ve tried).

Elementary OS 6’s new “calm” window switcher addresses all of those concerns ably. In taking a less frenetic approach the alt + tab experience is once again geared towards speed and utility rather than WM theatrics.

And those who do like a more fancy-pants method for switching between open windows still have one: super and .

If you’re an elementary OS user do me know what you think of the change down in the comments.

alttab elementary pantheon