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How to activate hot corners with modifier keys on macOS

Hot corners are a macOS feature that allow you to activate certain features of the OS by moving your mouse cursor to one of four corners on the screen. It’s a neat feature that is easy to replicate on Windows 10. On macOS, they’re fairly popular however, the way a hot corner is activated might be counter intuitive. Moving the cursor off to a corner of a screen is something many do as a matter of routine. If you find the feature to be useful but wish it could be activated differently, there’s a built-in option on macOS that lets you activate hot corners with modifier keys.

Activate hot corners with modifier keys

Open System Preferences and select the Desktop & Screen Saver preference. Go to the Screen Saver tab, and at the bottom right, click Hot Corners.

You will see the familiar Hot Corner configuration window appear. Open any one of the dropdowns and highlight the feature you want to activate with the hot corner. While highlighting it, tap the modifier key or keys that you want to use to activate it. For example, if you want to show the desktop when you move the mouse cursor to the bottom right of the screen, but you want to do so only when you’re holding down the Command key, press it and select Desktop from the dropdown. You can use any combination of modifier keys for a single hot corner.

Click Ok, and the change will be applied.

Use hot corner with modifier keys

In order to use a hot corner with modifier keys, you need to first hold down the modifier key that you’ve configured for a hot corner, and then click and drag the mouse cursor to the specific corner.

If you’ve set multiple modifier keys to be used with a hot corner, you need to press them all at once. It’s a lot like a keyboard shortcut except a mouse gesture is also involved.

These modifier keys are added on a per-hot corner basis which means that some hot corners can have them while others can still be activated with just a mouse gesture. It’s a great way to keep yourself from accidentally activating a hot corner without disabling the feature and without installing extra apps to handle the job.

If you want to remove modifier keys from a hot corner, simply open the dropdown again and select a feature but without holding down any modifier keys when making the selection.

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