Problem closing some windows (but not all)

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I am a relative newcomer to Macs. I have had a Macbook Pro Retina for about 3 years but only decided to make the move from Windows to iMac 27in Retina for my main desktop PC last year.

Since I started using the iMac I have been frustrated by the fact that in some applications (but not all) I have to make the window active by clicking on the title bar before I can interact with the window.

The particular app that really irritates me is Mail. If I don't make the window active, I cannot interact with the window at all - including selecting items and closing the window with the red x.

I have read discussions from people who have had similar problems and I would have been prepared to accept this as a 'quirk' of Yosemite OS. However what is strange is that it does not behave like this on my Macbook. It also doesn't affect other apps (e.g. Safari).

Can someone throw some light on this and explain it to a Mac newbie.

Since it doesn't act like this on my Macbook, is there a setting I can change on my iMac?
 
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Sorry, not quite sure what you mean. Which windows can you interact with without making the window active first?
 
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MacInWin

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What you are looking for is called "focus follows mouse" and by default OS X does not support it. If you have it on your MBP, you have some third party software setting it for you.
 
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What you are looking for is called "focus follows mouse" and by default OS X does not support it. If you have it on your MBP, you have some third party software setting it for you.

That's what I thought but it's not as simple as that. I definitely haven't installed anything on the MBP to fix it and it has behaved the same ever since I first purchased it.

This afternoon I paid a visit to my local Apple store and explained the problem to them.

We tried it out on an identical iMac to mine and that didn't have the same problem. In fact its behaviour was identical to my MBP.

The technician suggested I contact Apple support as he said the behaviour I described definitely wasn't right.
 
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Sorry, not quite sure what you mean. Which windows can you interact with without making the window active first?

Sorry if I did't make myself clear

The behaviour is like this:

On my Macbook (and also on an iMac in my local Apple store)
  • I open Mail then open Safari in window next to it on the screen
  • I then click the red x in the mail window and the Mail window closes
  • I can also select threads or messages in Mail


On my iMac
  • I open Mail then open Safari in window next to it on the screen
  • I then click the red x in the mail window and nothing happens
  • I also cannot select threads or messages in Mail
  • The way to fix this is to double click the Mail window and it then behaves as I expect


Peter
 
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OK, thanks.
I open Mail then open Safari in window next to it on the screen
I then click the red x in the mail window and the Mail window closes
I can do that, but
I can also select threads or messages in Mail
I can't do that, which I always thought was normal; ie, you can't do something in a window unless you make it active.
 
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MacInWin

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I've been doing some experiments. I open Mail, then Safari. I can click on the X and close Mail directly. I can be in Safari and click on an inbox in Mail but all that does is shift the focus so that I can repeat the click to do the actual selection of the inbox. To get back to do anything in Safari (like finish this post) I have to click in Safari to give it the focus again. Going back to Mail, I have to click one to get the focus before I can open a message there. So, with the exception of being able to close Mail with the X, you can't do anything unless it has the focus. Ditto for Safari.

That's how it's been for as long as I remember. Nothing new, nothing changed. I don't know how drpeej was able to get his MBP to focus-on-mouse, but on his iMac, he should be able to close Mail directly even without the focus being in Mail. That's the anomaly. The MBP is working properly. But he should not have to double click, just click once to shift the focus.
 

bobtomay

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Did some experimenting here also.

My experience has pretty much always been to do anything in a different app window, I had to click on that window to give it focus first. That's what I have done for as long as I can remember. Haven't done it often since I use almost all apps full screen on this 13" MBA display and use the Dock icon or swipe between desktops to change between apps.

However, that's not the case currently. I've just tried it with Mail, Safari, Finder, Evernote, the About This Mac window. With the exception of Finder, I can pretty much click on anything from one window to the other and it works without needing to change the focus first. If Safari has focus, I can go to Mail and scroll through the sidebar, select a new email, different inbox, hit the repy button and it all works without needing to change the focus first - same thing with Safari - while another app has the focus, I can switch tabs, open a link from the favorites bar, even the back button works without changing focus first. Finder was the only one with an issue - where the first click only changed focus 8/10 and the first click actually selected the new folder/file 2/10.

What was interesting about Mail - 2 items would not work without changing focus first - the delete and junk buttons.
 
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MacInWin

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Curious that it's erratic with Finder. I wonder if it's "click-bounce." Systemically, a click is a click is a click. It should be consistent, not random.
 

bobtomay

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Because Finder was erratic, I even tried it by clicking the trackpad vs just tapping also. It was 1/5 either way.
Even tried waiting different periods of time after I moved the cursor before clicking and couldn't make any sense out of it.
 

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