How to exit full-screen mode

Many of us use our computers for a variety of activities, such as streaming movies or playing games. Sometimes, we end up in full-screen mode without knowing how to get out of it. Fortunately, exiting full-screen mode is actually quite simple and can be done in just a few steps.

What is a full-screen mode?

Full-screen mode is a feature in many modern computer programs that allows the user to maximize the viewing area of their window. When a program is in full-screen mode, it takes up the entire computer screen and can be used without any other windows or programs being visible. This makes the program easier to view and can be helpful for tasks such as watching movies or playing video games.

Why you may want to exit full-screen mode

Full-screen mode is useful for viewing content without distractions, but it can also be inconvenient when you need to access other windows or applications. It’s common to enter full-screen mode when watching a video or streaming a movie, but sometimes you might want to adjust the volume, change the brightness, or even close the program or website. Exiting full-screen mode is simple and can be done on any device by pressing a few keys on your keyboard or tapping an icon on the display.

How to exit full-screen mode

On Windows

Using the F11 key

Press the F11 key on your computer’s keyboard to exit full-screen mode. Note that pressing the key again will toggle you back to full-screen mode.

Using the Exit button

While in full-screen mode, swipe your mouse to the top of your screen until a small circle with an “X” appears in the top-left of your window. Click the “X” to exit full-screen mode.

Using the Escape key

In certain apps, pressing the “ESC” key on your keyboard can take you out of full-screen mode. 

On macOS

Using the green button

While using any application in full-screen mode, move your pointer to the upper-left corner of your screen. This will activate macOS commands for controlling open windows. Click on the green button to exit the full screen.

Combining shortcut keys

If you like to use keyboard shortcuts, you can press Command+Control+F. That same keyboard shortcut is used to go in and out of full-screen mode.

Using the macOS menu bar

And finally, you can do things the traditional way. Once again, hover with your pointer over the top portion of your screen until you see the macOS menu bar. Then, navigate to View, and then Exit Full Screen. That’s it!

On a mobile device

By default, users exit activities by swiping from left to right. If the app contains horizontally scrollable content, users first have to navigate to the edge of the content and then swipe again from left to right to exit the app. You can also exit full screen by location of the exit tab mostly at the top right corner of your phone screen. You can also press the back button on your mobile device to exit the full screen.


Exiting full-screen mode is a simple process that can be done in just a few steps. Whether you’re using a laptop, desktop, or smartphone, it’s easy to go back to the original window size. Whether you’re watching a movie or playing a game, make sure to follow the steps outlined above for exiting full-screen mode so you can go about your day without hassle.

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