App and window switching in OS X is – like everything else – different from the conventional method most people are used to (or how it’s done in Windows). Even if you’ve always used a Mac, it is entirely possible that you might not like the way it switches between apps. We’re not criticizing the shortcuts used to switch apps; Command+` and Command+Tab work just fine, but perhaps the execution isn’t to your liking. Vecte is a free Mac app that lets you keep the default shortcuts you’re used to in OS X, but changes the behavior slightly. When switching between apps, the list of running apps appears below the Apple menu instead of taking up the center of your screen. The app also takes over switching between windows, quitting apps, and zooming in and out. Vecte does this pretty much the same way as OS X does natively, but it’s faster and more responsive.
Vecte runs in the background without so much as a Menu Bar icon. The shortcuts menu and its few preferences appear the first time you launch the app. You won’t really need to memorizing any new shortcuts when switching over to Vecte, though if you want the app to run when you boot your system, you can enable it here. The app needs to run in the background in order to function, so make sure you use the ‘Close’ button instead of quitting it.
Hit Command+Tab and the list of apps you can switch to will appear at the top-left of your screen below the Apple menu. Like the default feature in OS X, you will not be able to switch to an app that has been minimized. If you ever want to open Vecte’s preferences window or quit the app, you will have to hit Command+Escape with this app switching menu visible.
In our testing, Vecte really felt faster and more responsive than the default app switching feature; switching to a different window was noticeably snappier. While the app is indeed faster than OS X, it performs a rather small function and doesn’t really add to the feature list. The developer can either add to the list of shortcuts that Vecte can take over, or just add some more features. For now, if Vecte were to let users switch between recently quit apps, or apps that have been minimized, it would instantly become way more useful. Of course if Vecte just delivers better speed in terms of app switching, it might even replace some of the more popular apps switchers available for OS X. The app is fairly new and still in beta, but worth a test drive nevertheless.