A tiling window manager for OS X


Build Status

Tiling window manager for OS X similar to xmonad, written in pure Objective-C.


A quick screencast of basic functionality can be found here. (It's rough, and I'd love to see a better one if someone has the skills and inclination to make one.)

Getting Amethyst

Amethyst is available for direct download here or using homebrew cask.

brew cask install amethyst

Note: that Amethyst now is only supported on OS X 10.9+. The last version that supports 10.8 can be found here.


I can't update to 0.9.4.

There seems to be a issue with how 0.9+ was signed. You may need to download it directly and install it that way.

Amethyst stopped working.

Try disabling and reenabling Accessibility permissions for Amethyst and then relaunch it. I know, it's arcane and weird but frequently fixes issues arrising from code signature issues, which may be the cause here.

I tried that and 0.9.4 is still broken.

If you need to downgrade version 0.8.6 can be downloaded here. Otherwise feel free to open an issue or email me.

Using Amethyst

Amethyst must be given permissions to use the accessibility APIs under the Privacy tab of the Security & Privacy preferences pane as shown below.

Accessibility permissions

Keyboard Shortcuts

Amethyst uses two modifier combinations.

  • mod1 - option + shift
  • mod2 - ctrl + option + shift

And defines the following commands, mostly a mapping to xmonad key combinations.

  • mod1 + space — cycle to next layout
  • mod2 + space - cycle to previous layout
  • mod1 + w - focus 1st screen
  • mod1 + e - focus 2nd screen
  • mod1 + r - focus 3rd screen
  • mod2 + w - move focused window to 1st screen
  • mod2 + e - move focused window to 2nd screen
  • mod2 + r - move focused window to 3rd screen
  • mod2 + [n] - move focused window to nth space
  • mod1 + h - shrink the main pane
  • mod1 + l - expand the main pane
  • mod1 + , - increase the number of windows in the main pane
  • mod1 + . - decrease the number of windows in the main pane
  • mod1 + j - focus the next window counterclockwise
  • mod1 + k - focus the next window clockwise
  • mod2 + j - move the focused window one space counterclockwise
  • mod2 + k - move the focused window one space clockwise
  • mod1 + return - swap the focused window with the main window
  • mod1 + t - toggle whether or not the focused window is floating
  • mod2 + t - toggle globally whether or not Amethyst tiles windows
  • mod1 + i - display the current layout for each screen
Setting Up Spaces Support

Spaces are, unfortunately, not supported right out of the box. To enable it you must activate Mission Control's keyboard shortcuts for switching to specific Desktops, as Mac OS X calls them. This option is in the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard preferences pane. The shortcuts will be of the form ctrl + [n]. Amethyst is only able to send a window to the nth space if the shortcut ctrl + n is enabled.

Mission Control keyboard shortcuts


Amethyst can be customized by creating a json file called .amethyst in your home directory. The structure and valid keys and whatnot are all defined in default.amethyst.


You can set the layouts you want to use by supplying a list of layout names under the "layouts" key. For example,

"layouts": [

will restrict your layouts to the tall and fullscreen layouts. The available layouts are as follows:

  • Tall ("tall"): Defines a main area on the left and a secondary area on the right.
  • Wide ("wide"): Defines a main area on the top and a secondary column on the right.
  • Fullscreen ("fullscreen"): All windows are sized to fill the screen.
  • Column ("column"): All windows are distributed in evenly sized in columns from left to right.
  • Row ("row"): All windows are distributed in evenly sized rows from top to bottom.
  • Floating ("floating"): All windows are floating. (Useful if you want a space dedicated to floating windows.)
  • Widescreen Tall ("widescreen-tall"): Like Tall, but the main area uses columns and the secondary area uses rows.
Mouse Follows Focus

This setting can be enabled by changing the following line

"mouse-follows-focus": false,


"mouse-follows-focus": true,

in your .amethyst file.

Always float an app

You can set specific application to float by default, this can still be toggled by mod1-t

"floating": [

Get the required string for the app osascript -e 'id of app "Finder"'. Just replace Finder with the name of your app

Layout HUD

By default Amethyst pops up a HUD telling you the layout whenever the layout changes. You can disable it in your .amethyst file using the enables-layout-hud key. i.e.,

"enables-layout-hud": false

By default the HUD will show when changing to a different space. You can disable the HUD during space changes, while still having it enabled when cycling or selecting a different layout, by using the enables-layout-hud-on-space-change key. i.e.,

"enables-layout-hud-on-space-change": false


If you would like to see features or particular bugs fixed check out the Trello board here and vote on things. It'll give me a better sense of what people want so I can prioritize.

I love pull requests. If you'd like to contribute please branch off of the development branch and open pull requests against it rather than master. Otherwise just try to stick to the general style of the code.


If you have questions or feedback you can email me or drop by #amethyst on Freenode.


Amethyst is free and always will be. That said, a couple of people have expressed their desire to donate money in appreciation. If you are so inclined I've set up two options:

  • You can find a Patreon page here if you would like to pledge money regularly for releases.
  • If you would like to do a one-time donation there's a PayPal button below. If there's some other method of donating that you would prefer open an issue and I'll try to add it!

PayPal Donate

If you are considering donating to me, you are more than welcome to. You should also consider donating that money to a charity in addition to or instead. Here's a very incomplete list of things that you might want to throw money at:

And a bunch of technology-oriented ones: