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How to set up and use Hot Corners on macOS (and why you should)

If you're looking for a way to improve your macOS desktop workflow, Jack Wallen believes Hot Corners can be a great help.
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Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on

Desktop operating systems always have some very cool features that are placed front and center. At the same time, you'll find some handy additions tucked away that aren't often reported on. 

One such feature is called Hot Corners, which isn't a new feature. In fact, Hot Corners have been around for quite some time and are used on other operating systems. 

What are Hot Corners?

Simply put, a Hot Corner is a configured action that occurs when you move your cursor to one of the four corners of the desktop. Each Hot Corner can be configured with a different action.

With macOS, you can select from the following actions for each Hot Corner:

  • Mission Control (a bird's eye view of your open windows)
  • Application Windows (the application switcher)
  • Desktop (show your desktop)
  • Notification Center (open the Notification Center)
  • Launchpad (where you can open any of your installed applications)
  • Quick Note (jot down a quick note)
  • Start Screen Saver
  • Disable Screen Saver
  • Put Display to Sleep
  • Lock Screen

Although this list might not make your top 5 most used features in macOS, Hot Corners can make your desktop workflow considerably more efficient. Instead of having to locate those actions (or remember trackpad gestures for each), you simply drag your cursor to the associated corner for the action, and you're good to go!

Let's get these Hot Corners configured, so you can start enjoying a better workflow on your macOS desktop.

Configuring your Hot Corners

The location of the Hot Corners configuration isn't exactly intuitive. To configure your Hot Corners, follow these steps.

1. Access Mission Control Configuration

To access the Hot Corner configuration, click the Apple menu (in the upper left corner of your desktop) and then select System Preferences. In the resulting window (Figure 1), click Mission Control.

The System Preferences window from macOS Monterey.

The macOS System Preferences window.

Image: Jack Wallen

2. Open Hot Corners Configuration

In the next window (Figure 2), click Hot Corners at the bottom left corner.

The Mission Control configuration as found in macOS Monterey.

The Hot Corners configuration is found within the Mission Control window.

Image: Jack Wallen

3. Configure Your Hot Corners

You can now select any one of the available actions from the drop-down for each corner (Figure 3). A word of advice…I tend to leave the top left corner unset, as it can interfere with opening the Apple menu. 

The Hot Corners configuration window as found in macOS Monterey.

The Hot Corners configuration window.

Image: Jack Wallen

Once you have all of your Hot Corners configured (Figure 4), click OK to save your settings.

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I've set all of my Hot Corners as I want them and it's time to save the changes.

Three of four Hot Corners configured in macOS Monterey.

All you have to do now is move your cursor to the Hot Corner of your choice to enable the action you've configured.

Hot Corners are a great way to help make your macOS desktop workflow a bit more efficient. Once you get the hang of Hot Corners, you'll wonder how you got along without them.

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