That little green dot


When Apple released OSX to the world in 2001 it was a bold departure from OS9 in many ways. Secure, rich in content and very colourful.

One of the more obvious features were the three coloured orbs in the left of every Finder window. They looked like little glass beads and nowadays they are affectionately known as the traffic lights.

Red closed the window, yellow minimised the it and green resized the window to – supposedly- fit snuggly around the icons. You never really knew how much of the screen it would decide to take up from one click to the next and so over the years, I decided not to use it at all.

However, with the introduction of Sierra, the little green dot has received a split personality in order to slickly combine window expansion and the full screen feature that seemed to be all the rage a few years ago with the introduction of the iPad.

For those of us accustomed to the green dot doing one thing only this can be a source of great confusion and worry. You click on the dot and, instead of the window being expanded to (God knows) what proportions, instead your menu bar disappears along with the dock. In short, full screen mode – the surge of desktop computing. IMHO.

So, what to do about this. Well, as usual, the Option key comes to the rescue.

To make the green dot work like it has since 2001, hold down the Option key before clicking on the green dot and you’ll notice the green dot has a + icon in the centre as apposed to the outward facing arrows. This allows you to use the Window expansion feature that, I am happy to report, works correctly these days.


Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 3.04.09 pm

To go full screen, simply click on the green dot. Once there, in order to return to normal mode, move your cursor to the very top of the screen and once the menu bar drops down from the top, click on the green dot to return to sanity.


Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.