Are you forever dragging windows around on your Mac to find the one you want? Hiding all the open apps so you can see the desktop? Do you wish you could sleep the display without waiting for the Energy Saver timer to kick in? Want to start the screensaver right now?
You can trigger all these options, and more, just by moving your mouse pointer to a corner of your Mac’s screen. What?!? Yes. The feature that lets you do these wonderful things is called Hot Corners. It’s built in to every Mac — and it’s awesome.
What can Hot Corners do?
Hot corners is a neat, system-wide Mac trick that triggers a special action whenever you move your mouse pointer into a corner of your screen (hence the name). The advantage of using a screen corner is that you can’t miss. You just move the mouse (or finger the trackpad) in the general direction of a corner, and it’ll get there. No conscious effort is required. So, it will become automatic. You just slam the pointer into a corner, and the action is triggered.
So, what kinds of things can Hot Corners trigger? Here’s the list:
- Activate Mission Control
- Show Application Windows
- Disable Screen Saver
- Show Desktop
- Show Dashboard
- Put Display to Sleep
- Show Notification Center
- Show Launchpad
- Start Screen Saver
Most of these are self-explanatory. Show Application Windows, for example, will perform an Exposé-style reveal of all the open windows in the current application. I have two hot corners active on my Mac. Bottom left puts the display to sleep — I can’t see the point of a screensaver when you can just sleep the screen and save power. Bottom right shows the desktop.
I use both, all the time. (Show desktop is especially useful if you’re the kind of person who uses the desktop as a dump for all of your files.)
How to set up Hot Corners on Mac
First, open the System Preferences app. You will find Hot Corners in the Mission Control preference pane. Just click the Hot Corners button at bottom left, and its configuration sheet will drop down. Then click on any of the four drop-down menus to select an action for the corresponding corner.
As always with this kind of power-feature, it’s a good idea to set one or two Hot Corners, and get used to them before you add more — otherwise you’ll never remember what’s what. On the other hand, you can always find out what a corner is set to do just by mousing over there.
Also, be prepared for some fun whenever anyone else uses your Mac. Some people park or jab the cursor into screen corners as a kind of nervous tic. Watch as they do it, and see your Mac go haywire with flying windows, or a blank screen. Or you could sneakily activate Hot Corners on co-workers’ own Macs if they are foolish enough to leave them unlocked and unattended.