Give Apps In Lion Open Window Amnesia [OS X Tips]



Apple has introduced a new feature in Mac OS X Lion called Resume. Resume will automatically reopen all the windows you had open the last time you used an app after you relaunch it.

Not a bad trick for some apps, but for some others it can quickly be really annoying. Here’s a tip on how you can avoid it altogether.

Some apps like Microsoft Excel bundled in Office 2011 for Mac don’t work well with Resume and actually can generate errors or just act unexpectedly.  Meanwhile other apps like Preview reopen so many previously used windows that they can be pretty annoying.

The solution is simple and you can use it whenever you don’t want Mac OS X Lion to remember the windows that were open for a particular app when you close it. All you need to do is press Command-Option-Q or press Option while selecting Quit from the apps menu bar.

Adding the Option key causes Lion to perform a Quit and Discard Windows command versus just a regular Quit command.


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55 responses to “Give Apps In Lion Open Window Amnesia [OS X Tips]”

  1. rockinrors says:

    Thanks David, works great!
    Is there a way to turn it off completely?

  2. ajcrow93 says:

    Have a google for resuminator. It should do the trick. 

  3. jongar jabbar says:

    resume doesnt work with safari
    i quit the app
    relaunched it, all the previouse tabs are gone

  4. freediverx says:

    System Preferences – General – Restore windows when quitting and reopening apps

  5. Dave Wright says:


    To disable this system-wide, go to your System Preferences, the General Pane, and remove the check mark next to “Restore windows when quitting and reopening apps”

    This is a system-wide change, so make sure you really want to do it.  Of course, it is just as easy to put it back.

  6. Steven Chaffer says:

    Mr. Write:
    Thank you sir!! I was gonna preform David’s (the author) trick every time I shut safari off but now I can just do this. Its really annoying. Thanks for the tip!!

  7. macgizmo says:

    Resume was the very first thing I turned off in the System Prefs after installing Lion.

  8. Steven Chaffer says:


    Mr. Wright…its early, sorry.. :)

  9. Toby Esterhase says:

    The best thing about the new features is disabling them– how about fixing the wifi problems or the power hogging. OS lion = fail

  10. CharliK says:

    It works. But you have to make sure you are on the 5.1 update that added it. You might not be. 

    As for making it not work, I just close all my windows before I quit an app. It’s really not that hard to hit the extra couple of keys and then there’s nothing to resume. 

  11. CharliK says:

    Why bother with that when there’s a system pref to turn it off. 

  12. Cody says:

    I also think resume is kinda annoying, but I must say that I have experienced how cool it is, too. Last week, while browsing the Internet and writing there was a blackout in my area. After the power came back a couple hour later, I started up my iMac and sure enough, there were all my open tabs in safari and my place in pages with no errors. I must say though that I like this command-option-Q for preview and safari on a regular basis. Thanks for the info, I was getting tired of using that little red button in the corner.

  13. prof_peabody says:

    I’m starting to wonder why people are bothering to install Lion at all if they are going to use all these hacks to change it back to the way Snow Leopard looks/works.  

    It’s also way too early.  Anyone who buys a new product and then almost immediately changes it’s default behaviour simply hasn’t lived with that default behaviour long enough to make a reasoned decision IMO. 

    If, after a month or so you still have trouble with the defaults then it might make sense to say you’ve decided not to use them.  To immediately change them though is just the sign of a closed mind.

  14. Michael De says:

    Even better!

  15. DavidWMartin says:

    I’m leaving the defaults, but I don’t mind giving people options.

  16. DavidWMartin says:

    I prefer to use the app method – I actually like this for some of my apps. 

  17. Cherie Rojas says:

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from,

  18. R.W. Elti says:

    “How to turn Lion back into Snow Leopard”  ??

    So many COM articles on how to disable new features, how to make this app work like it did in Snow Leopard. What gives?

    Is it a worthy upgrade or is it more annoying eye candy to be disabled? Or a mix?

    Spending time making Lion work the way SL is working so well for me now doesn’t sound like a good use of my time.


  19. ZacharyRodgers says:

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from,

  20. Ramón says:

    In Leopard I could designate one window for iTunes and it would always remain there; that doesn’t seem to be possible with Lion. Am I missing something? I really want it to stay in one location of my choice.
    For example, I want it to only open in Desktop #3.

  21. Fofer says:

    Resuminator lets you turn off this feature on a PER-APP basis:

  22. Fofer says:

    Lets you turn off this feature on a PER APP basis.

  23. AnupR says:

    So, if every new feature is annoying, then my advise to those folks is why upgrade to Lion? Stick with Snow leopard … 

  24. dcj001 says:

    While any app is open, right (or Control) click on the apps’s icon in the dock. go to Options, and choose “All Desktops.” Then go to whichever Space you’d like the app to remain in, right (or Control) click on the apps’s icon in the dock, and choose “This Desktop.”

  25. Ramón says:

    Thanks, but I think that iTunes is the exception to that. I had tried that before posting my question, then I tried the steps as you stated, but it wants to open in an unnumbered desktop.

  26. Ramón says:

    Update: I discovered a “quirk”. If an application such as iTunes is in full desktop mode, designating a specific desktop will not work.

    OK; now I’m happy.

  27. Gabriele Tavagna says:

    I found out that if FIRST you close the window with Comand+W and THEN you close the app with Comand+Q, when you open it again it doesn’t open with the previous document. I tried now with some app and it works well.

  28. Junaidkureshi says:

    Thanks man i was so annoyed by this, i think your two lines are better than all of this article….lol.

  29. Junaidkureshi says:

    Cultofmac is doing great tips for Lion, i visit the site daily to see if there is anything new Cult come up with…keep it up…thanks 

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