How To Keep a Windows Always on Top in Mac OSX

It boggles the mind that a simple feature like the Always on Top for windows is still not part of the core Mac OS system. After all, in a way the Mac OS is the premium version of the open source Linux platform. And, this feature is not missing from the open source platform.

Now, just because Always on Top is not an option when you right click your application window on your Mac, it doesn’t mean there aren’t some workarounds. Here’s how you can implement the Always on Top for windows on Mac OS.

To start things off, you need to download the latest mySIMBL version. Extract the file and access the mySIMBL app.

This may seem a bit straightforward but some users report that it doesn’t always work this easily. If you encounter issues with the installation, there is something you can do.

You can disable the System Integrity Protection before attempting to install SIMBL again. In order to do this, you have to restart your machine and then press and hold Command-R during startup. This will help you enter Recovery Mode.

From there, access the Terminal through the keyboard shortcut or from the Utilities menu. In the Terminal you want to input the ‘csrutil disable’ command. This line will disable System Integrity Protection.

Restart your machine again and log in normally.

Now you’ll want to move SIMBL to the applications folder. You can do this when prompted by a message which should read:

Once SIMBL is on your system, you get the Afloat collection from the Github page. Use Finder to navigate to the Bundle folder. You’ll notice two files: ‘SIMBLE-0.9.9.pkg’ and ‘Afloat.bundle’.

You want to pull the ‘Afloat.bundle’ file into your mySIMBL window. Just drag and drop.

Once you do this, make sure that you receive a notification that it’s listed among the plugins. You should see a green dot next to the plugin.

Restart your machine after this.

When you log back in, open the Afloat app. From there, go to the window options and find the Keep Afloat option in the list. Click it to add it. This should now give you the Keep Afloat option for some of your applications.

Don’t expect it to work on all your apps. The Keep Afloat option will only work with apps that are compatible with SIMBL. For apps that recognize it the option should appear like this:

Depending on how you installed SIMBL you may need to do one more thing. Yes, you’ve guessed it, re-enabling System Integrity Protocol. Go back to the Recovery Mode’s terminal and input the following command ‘csrutil enable’.

Restart your machine and you’re good to go.

Final Word

Although it seems like Afloat solves the Always on Top problem on Mac OS, do remember that it only works with SIMBL-compatible applications. For example, you won’t be able to keep your Firefox browser always on top.

Even Google Chrome showed mixed results depending on the version of the OS and the version of the SIMBL package. For the best results, always keep both up to date.

3 thoughts on “How To Keep a Windows Always on Top in Mac OSX”

Avatar CM says:
It works with Mojave, but it’s going to spam you for permissions on just about every single process and application your computer runs. Afloat has great functionality, but the simblagent process that runs in the background is beyond obnoxious.
Avatar Andrew says:
This used to be an option in previous versions. I’ve used it. Not sure why the dropped support.
Avatar Matt says:
Any idea if it’ll work with Mojave (10.14)?

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