Mac window disappears, with no way to recover it

I had a very bad first launch experience of Obsidian on macOS: Before even writing my first note, the main window disappeared on me, and I could not find any way of bringing it back, except to delete all of Obsidian’s preference files.

The issue is reproducible:

Steps to reproduce

  1. Install Obsidian from scratch on a new system (or delete all of its preference files)
  2. Launch Obsidian
  3. Create or select a vault
  4. When the editor window appears it fills the full screen (except dock and menu bar - it is not in full-screen mode).
  5. Double tap the menu bar

Expected result

The window should scale to a smaller size that does not fill the screen. Double tapping the window bar is a common macOS shortcut to switch between a maximized window and a regular sized window.

Actual result

The window disappears and there is no way (that I could figure out) to bring it back. Restarting the app does not help. Only deleting the Obsidian preference files (I used AppCleaner to locate them) brought the app back to a usable state.


  • Operating system: macOS 10.15.6
  • Obsidian version: 0.8.12

Additional information

My guess would be that double clicking causes the app to return to its previous size, and since there is none, the window gets assigned a 0x0 size and disappears. This 0x0 size gets stored in the preferences and survives restarts of the app.

Whitenoise marked this as “repro” so I guess that means it is reproducible. So I’m not going to reply about the bug. I’m only going to reply with some potential workarounds, in the meantime.

There is a shortcut key. Toggle Fullscreen Ctrl-Cmd-F. If you hit that, would it make the window reappear in full screen mode, at least?

By the way, in the latest insider version 0.8.13, “The entire app is now frameless.” Double-clicking on the title bar doesn’t seem to do anything anymore, for better or worse.

I personally recommend using a window management app like Divvy or Hammerspoon to manage resizing windows. There are a few others. Those are the two I use. Those apps might also be able to resize a window that goes missing, using a hotkey.

Oh well, frameless may inderectly solve the issue

I experienced this very same issue but it should be fixed in 0.8.5+ according to WhiteNoise. Which version are you using?

Ha, indeed. Frameless seems to prevent the macOS double-click-on-the-menu-bar-to-toggle-full-screen shortcut.

You can still double click a window edge to get macOS to expand the window maximally in that direction, and that seems to work just fine.

Hi, sorry for the late reply. I assumed I would get email notifications for replies, but I guess that is disabled by default for new accounts.

Fullscreen did work. However it didn’t provide any way (that I could figure out) to get a non-fullscreen window back. Good point about Divvy and similar programs. I am using BetterSnapTool, and didn’t think about trying that. That probably would have worked.

I’ll try the new frameless version.

@xurc I was using 0.8.12. So if it was fixed in 0.8.5 then it got un-fixed again.

But it sounds like 0.8.13 switched to a frameless window, which disables the title bar double click, and thereby prevents this issue.
I just upgraded to 0.8.14 and can confirm that double clicking the title bar does nothing now.

You can change your email settings in the Preferences > Emails section of your forum account.

This is the expected behavior now, although somewhat non-standard in macOS.

Thanks, yes, I did change the email settings once I realized that there were replies here and that I wasn’t getting email notifications.

Hi all, glad to know I am not the only one with this problem. I’m not sure what the solution is - how can I use the app without it being full screen?

I am getting confused by this thread. We made some further changes to frameless in 0.8.15. If you still have this issue in 0.8.15, please post new bug report with clear steps to repro.

I see, thanks for letting me know! I shall wait for it the new version released for download?

I suspect the issue probably is that if you had this problem with an earlier build, and got into the situation where the main window has a null size (or is off screen) when not in full screen mode, then you will still have this same issue after updating to 0.8.15.
It is only that in 0.8.15 it is no longer possible to get into this situation in the first place.

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Maybe check the stored main window size at startup, and if it has a zero size, then reset to something reasonable?

@WhiteNoise I just confirmed my suspicion. So the repro is:
Clear all settings and config files (I used the AppCleaner app) and install version 0.8.12.
Then follow the steps outlined in the first post.
Afterwards update (or let the app auto-update) to 0.8.14.
The main window will still be invisible and inaccessible when not in full-screen mode.

@rachellee The workaround that @rigmarole mentioned does indeed work: You can install a window management app like Divvy or BetterSnapTool. In those apps you can assign a global key combination to set the currently active window to a certain size (for example to fit the bottom right quarter of the screen). Using this keyboard combination with Obsidian active will resize the window, so that you can then select and further resize it yourself.

@hendrik what happens if you are in fullscreen and manually resize the app. Does it work from that point on?

You can’t resize the window in full screen mode. This is the Mac’s dedicated full screen mode, where the app gets its own screen and fills the full screen without any window chrome, so it is different from maximizing the window in normal windowed mode.

ok, thanks you.

The very first time that the app starts, does it start in fullscreen mode?

@WhiteNoise No, it starts in regular windowed mode, but with the window maximized to fill the screen.