The Hot Corners feature on macOS is nothing new. However, it seems to be an underused and overlooked tool. Why? Not sure. Being able to invoke an action on your laptop with a quick flick of the trackpad or mouse seems like it would be an attractive feature for anyone.
If you’re new to this fancy Mac feature and aren’t sure what it can do for you, we’re here to help. Here’s why you should use Hot Corners on Mac and how to set them up.
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Reasons to use Hot Corners on Mac
Those who already use Hot Corners on Mac likely have their own reasons. And they probably include as least one, if not all, of those below. Here’s why you should use Hot Corners.
- Faster: Sliding your finger across the trackpad or moving your mouse to the corner of your screen is faster than any keyboard shortcut or menu clicking could be.
- Reliable: No matter what you’re doing on your Mac, you can depend on those Hot Corners and that they’ll perform the action you set up.
- Easier: Some people make mistakes when using keyboard shortcuts while others haven’t memorized how to access a setting. With Hot Corners, actions are easier.
How to set up Hot Corners on Mac
Now that you know why you should give Hot Corners a go, it’s time to set them up. You can use one, two, or all four if you like.
- Click the Apple icon > System Preferences from your menu bar.
- You can access the Hot Corner settings from two different spots. So, either select Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver or choose Mission Control.
- At the bottom of the window, click the Hot Corners.
The pop-up window shows the Active Screen Corners and corresponding drop-down boxes. Starting with the corner you want to set up first, click in the drop-down box and choose the action you want to apply.
You can pick from things like start or disable screen saver, go to the Dashboard, Notification Center, or Launchpad, or put your Mac to sleep.
When you finish making your selections, click OK and your Hot Corners are ready for you to test out. Just use your trackpad or mouse and move to that corner of your screen and your action should occur.
Adding a modifier key to a Hot Corner
Once you have your Hot Corners set up and tested, you’ll notice just how sensitive they are. If you’re concerned about accidentally moving to a corner at an inopportune moment, try this trick.
You can add a modifier key to a Hot Corner. This means that in order for the Hot Corner to work, you must hold down a single key while moving to the corner. And you can use whichever modifier you like, such as Shift, Control, Option, or Command.
To add a modifier key, go back to one of the Hot Corner setup screens from the steps above in your System Preferences.
Select the drop-down box for the corner where you want the modifier key. With the action list open, hold down the key you want to use and you’ll see it automatically added before each list item’s name. Pick the one you want and click OK.
Then, test it out!
As a side note, you can use more than one modifier key at the same time. So, if you prefer to use two keys, like Shift + Control + your movement to a Hot Corner, you can. Just hold down both keys when selecting the action from the list.
Hot Corners not working, quick fix
While Hot Corners are reliable, they’re not perfect. If you run into trouble with one or more not working, there are a couple of things you can try.
First, make sure that if you have added modifiers, you are holding down the correct key(s) while moving to the corner. Or on the reverse, maybe you added a modifier by mistake. Go back to the Hot Corner settings and be sure everything looks correct.
Next, try removing the Hot Corner action and then adding it back again. For instance, a user in the Apple Community posted that they changed their Hot Corner from Start Screen Saver to Disable Screen Saver, clicked OK, went back in and changed the action back, clicked OK, and it worked.
There are other suggestions in the Apple Community that you can also try out if you are still having trouble with your Hot Corners.
Are you going to use Hot Corners on your Mac?
Hopefully this guide will help you decide to use the convenient Hot Corners feature on your Mac. The feature offers flexibility for the action to take as well as being able to add modifier keys, so give it a try.
You can pop back over and let us know what you think in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!
Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a project manager, department manager, and PMO Lead. She then decided to follow her dream and now writes about technology full-time. Sandy holds a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology.
She loves technology– specifically – terrific games and apps for iOS, software that makes your life easier, and productivity tools that you can use every day, in both work and home environments.
Her articles have regularly been featured at MakeUseOf, iDownloadBlog and many other leading tech publications.