Don't steal focus


Most every morning I sit down, start up my computer and start up all the programs I will be working with that day. I usually proceed to read my email first. Unfortunately, Intellij, like so many products, thinks it is the most important program ever and it must have my attention. So it steals focus and puts itself right in my face. However, I tend to have between 2-4 projects open in different windows. So it does this not only once but for each project.

IMO there is never a case for focus stealing. One could make a case for security software which may have a legitimate need to demand direct action. I also think such a case has never occurred in my life. I suppose any kind of alarm program could make the case. I still wouldn't agree, but I can see that some people would. However IntelliJ has no case whatsoever to steal focus. Focus should be on what I am focussed on. Just because I started the IDE does not mean I intend to work with it right now. Untill someone implements a telepathic focus algorithm programs should just start up in the background and let me continue with whatever I am doing.

Official comment

Hello all,

We are sorry for the irrelevant notifications some users have got. The server accidentally got translated into Russian language. This can be considered an operations issue on our side and we did our best to switch back to English. While switching the language back and forth we were also translating persistent saved searches people use to subscribe to issue updates. Apparently some of these queries got unwanted modifications, hence the strange and unrelated notifications some people got. The latter problem is mostly addressed by now.

We're now reviewing access scheme to make accidental changes like this one impossible in future. At the same time certain technical measures are to be taken to make database translation process seamless and robust.

You can unsubscribe from the thread by clicking on the link from the e-mail notification:

or click unfollow button in the forum thread:

Thanks for your reply. I know that windows has always worked this way. I am a linux user (unless I am playing a game). Just because something has always been done some way doesn't make it right.

I regularly work with 2-4 projects. Related, but distinct projects. I like to keep the in seperate windows, separate workspaces. There is no need for Intellij, or any program, to grab focus. I think many people start multiple programs at once, certainly software developers. That means you always have to wait as each program steals the focus. I think it is poor UI design, and I have always thought so. Splash windows are even more annoying as they are completely useless advertising while I would like to be doing something else.

The solution is simple. Dont steal focus. It is unnecessary and counterproductive.


Receiving the mass email has stolen my focus


JetBrains, stop stealing the focus, dammit.


While I appreciate the update, I'm not sure how I got on this list.


When I read about this discussion, I realised how annoying it is for me too - I have 10 or so microservices projects in 10 IntelliJ idea projects opened simultaneously. When I close all of them and reopen idea again, I want all of them to reopen too, but they keep stealling the focus as they become loaded. So its like I start idea > I go to e-mail client and start reading > first project loads and (without fully initialized/compiled/reindexed, it steals focus > I immediatelly return back to e-mail client to continue reading > this repeats 9 more times :) and is making me anxious.

What I would expect is, that:

If I start idea and do not change to different application meanwhile (like email client), I want the window to appear and have focus (I do not want it to start in background, so that I would be forced to click on it again to bring to focus)

If I start idea and then switch to different app, i do not want the new windows to bring me back to the IDE

(I am long-term windows user who for the last year turned to Unix (Ubuntu))


I think the problem is that most don't understand the issue, it's perfectly normal that a program steal focus on start.

The problem with intellij is that it does so several time!

Not only one time on start, but: when just started and showing the splash/laoding-screen, another time when the project open itself, then again several times (indexing finished or other event).

It's really a pain, I usually start intellij and then do other stuff/start other program while intellij load.

For example my mail client, and I'm always interrupt by intellij while typing my password in the mail client...


AS with many - I've no idea why I was notified.  But ... also as with many, I agree that IDEA should not steal focus during start up.  


Hmm...this can't be true. Mostly I play games on windows, which is usually fullscreen (ok, you can steal focus if you are a full screen app). You don't need focus to start up a window though. Can't think of any example of the top of my head, but I know programs can start up without focus. All you need to do is everythign yo would normally do, but when starting the UI don't place it on top. I am not a UI programmer though. I know that Linux window managers generally offer support for this. Theoretically I can even tell my window to never allow programs to grab focus, but I've found that these settings never work for the programs that irritate me (in this repsect, I like IntelliJ or I wouldn't be offering feedback). Visibilty is adding an icon somewhere to the windows list. If windows can exist in minimized state, underneath other windows then they can also be started up that way, I would think. It is possible Windows does not allow this, though that would surprise me greatly.


You are not entirely right nor entirely wrong. Consider however that your product can not be considered in the 99%. It is a proffesional product for developers. People using Intellij have a very diffferent pattern than sitting down to play a game, browse the internet, watch a movie...these are all very different thigns from sitting down to get to work. Even if I intend to start right away, Intellij conflicts with itself as multiple windows opening will each steal focus from each other. I personally still consider all forms of stealing focus wrong, but you are not incorrect that it is a sort of standard, which makes my feelings somewhat irrelevant for the general case. Splash screens are even worse, as they are basically a form of commercial with no value to the user other than to block whatever it is they are looking at and a limited amount of information which mostly no one is interested but if they are they wouldn't generally get it from a splash screen.

oh and one more thing. If I open a global text search I actually do expect it to steal focus so I start typing right away. Yet everytime it turns out I am typing in my class/document instead of in the search box. AFAIK Intellij is the only program that exhibits this behaviour.


I have no idea why i received this email. But i should say that you stole my focus and i had read all thread:)


Re Andrey Dernov comment:

> We are sorry for the irrelevant notifications some users have got.

It's fate. You have to finally draw your attention to the annoying screen. Computer gods have finally heard your users ;)


Yeah, this focus issue is depressing. Would like if JetBrains fix it.


IDEA is an excellent product, except for the window focus stealing.


Don't know why I got a notification too. But I agree with the post about the focus


This problem is the most annoying thing on Intelij for me. I hate to be typing on the Terminal and my words appearing on a random class inside Intelij because they feel I want the app in my face right away.


Maybe someone @ JB was trying to convince their boss for this change, and wanted to see how many people wanted it. I'm all for changing the focus behavior, btw


As mentioned above - I got notified without me having any interaction with this issue. My gmail didn't report sending via onmicrosoft though. Also SPF record matched sender IP, so it's either an hacker attack from inside of JB OR simply software error on jetbrains team side. Nontheless I would love to see some kind of official explanation from JB regarding this notification.


Same as everybody, don't know why I was notified. But I have been suffering from this problem every day for years, and I did not even imagine I could have asked for a fix. Please fix this! Open the projects (often as much as 10 in my case) in the background! it's true that when I open IntelliJ, it is to work with it. But opening IntelliJ with 10 projects is a long process, and I don't see why I should just watch it. I prefer doing something else and coming back to it when it's done. And I don't care about Windows standard. First because I never use Windows. Second because even if it is standard and you don't want to surprise users, at least, make it configurable.)


Well hey, since you just emailed me about it, I TOO really don't like focus stealing. Focus stealing bad.

Can we not have nice things?

Plz? Thank Yous!



I also got the notification. This long annoyed me, so +1.


I believe I got this notification because a year or two ago I reported similar issue while working with Windows version. That time they somehow shut down the splash screen or made it less annoying. Today we can see exactly the same problem on Linux.

I see a few ways to fix this terrible UI issue:

1) Make the JetBratins' products load faster. Because it's the real reason of the problem. Maybe postpone updating and rescanning the workspace.

2) Give an option, as suggested above, to shut down the annoying splash screen.

3) Get rid of the splash screen completely beause it doesn't bring user any value, and instead display it on request - Help -> About

Please, people don't try to hide the problem saying that on Windows all software works this way. Even if so, no one loads so long and causes their initial screen to interrupt me when I'm entering a password or doing some other important stuff.

Don't know why I got a notification too. But I agree with the post about the focus

AS with many - I've no idea why I was notified.  But ... also as with many, I agree that IDEA should not steal focus during start up.  (I mean on start up of the Mac when its reopening all of the programs that were open when it was shut down/sleeping/crashing)


I agree. it's really annoying . I'm running on a mac, and IDEA is not the only culprit, plenty of other mac UI programs do this too, but IDEA shouldn't do if it has a choice. maybe it could be a preference setting "Enable Steal Focus"!


I am a mac user and I hate this focus steal. Usually I have 3-4 WebStroms opened and after every system reboot I must spend my time waiting till all WebStorms are loaded because I cannot do anything but see like mac switches active spaces to show me that WebStorm was opened.

What I have: I reboot system, I enter my session and see that Chrome is ready for work and I can start googling/checking mails/whatever. I start working with Chrome and than, suddenly mac switches active space to show me that WebStorm window was restored. Ok, I switch back to previous space and continue working with Chrome. After 4-5 seconds second WebStorm window is ready to be restored after reboot and again I see my active space is switched. And this repeats for every WebStorm instance.

Please fix it. Please don't switch active space when WebStorm is restored after reboot. This is very very very annoying.


Thanks in advance.


I totaly agree with the first main message

And the worst,

is when you are typing your e-mail password write-down in an opened file,

wether someone else is behind you.

This could be a true situation,

I already had part of password in files,

and it's not acceptable,

from such a high-skilled software of this level,

that I truly respect and every day appreciate.

Please dev team,

do something.



Would realy appreciate if this could be fixed. It's annoying and unnecessary!


Exactly what @Romain Rinie said. This doesn't just happen on startup, but also on other occasions. Plus I have to switch between different projects regularly so this increases the times it happens. This happens to me at least twice a day that I type something in another window (most of the times my terminal) and all over sudden Pycharm steals focus and I end up typing in whatever file is open there. I really like your IDE but this is driving me nuts and makes me seriously thinking about switching the IDE. This is open since nearly four years now. Is this really this big of an issue to fix? Please please please fix this


1. I use the launcher (JetBrains Toolbox) to launch IDEA. Why does it show extra splashscreen, for which purpose? Why the toolbox cannot show startup-progress inside a closable window - ?!

2. For new users, add the close-window button to splashscreen and allow to **close the splashscreen** once and for all, without looking where it should be configured in Ubuntu/Unity/whatever and trying "nosplash", "-nosplash", "--nosplash" with no result.

3. don't steal focus multiple times, how many years are needed to fix this?


I Agree with Vytenis. I want to start PHPStorm and during startup read mails...




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