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.

101 条评论

It's noteworthy that this email came came to me from my jetbrains account.

I have my own domain, and I have it set to catch all emails coming in. When I signed up here I did as I do everywhere and signed up as the company/url I'm at. So here, I gave it jetbrains@<mydomain>, and that's the email addy that I received the message at today.

So, if this is the work of a hacker, then they're using jetbrains' internal DB. But I suspect this mass emailing was probably just the result of some errant code on their  (jetbrains) end.


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.


I agree, this is very annoying.


Yeah, would like to know why I was notified of this issue...


I agree, it is annoying please let the user decide what his focus is :)


Email does seem legitimate. It has been sent from JetBrains infrastructure. I think, it is some internal error; not a big deal, to be honest.

Received: by with SMTP id s131csp1515522iod;
        Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:13:28 -0800 (PST)
X-Received: by with SMTP id z105mr24886591wrb.89.1485195208513;
        Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:13:28 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path: <>
Received: from ( [])
        by with ESMTPS id e72si15147086wma.116.2017.
        for <>
        (version=TLS1 cipher=AES128-SHA bits=128/128);
        Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:13:28 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
       spf=pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender);
       dmarc=pass (p=NONE sp=NONE dis=NONE)
Received: (qmail 19587 invoked by uid 89); 23 Jan 2017 18:13:27 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO 300fc4f14ba3) (no?
  by with ESMTPA; 23 Jan 2017 18:13:27 -0000
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 21:13:27 +0300 (MSK)
From: Serge Travin <>
To: Philipp <>
Message-ID: <>
Subject: [YouTrack, Voted] Issue IDEA-106716: Don't steal focus
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed;

JetBrains, stop stealing the focus, dammit.


While i'm another user who has no idea why i received this, I do have one thing to say on the issue.  When I open my devtools, i.e. pycharm, webstorm, or intellij, it's because I intend to use them.  Maybe I'm not quite understanding the original post correctly, but thats what I make of it.  If I don't want to see an app it gets minimized.  At least on OS X (i haven't used these products on any other system) , theres plenty of keyboard shortcuts to make switching back and forth between them painless so no complaints from me on this issue.  Feel free to tear me apart if i completely got the point of this post wrong, but I haven't come across many apps that don't 'steal focus' on startup...

This email is another story when it comes to stealing focus.  As a user of several JetBrains products, a legitimate email from them grabs my attention and makes me want to come here to check it out.    


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've found a nice workaround:
1. Start all apps you use at once
2. Go get a coffee
3. Come back to a fully initialized workplace.


I also received a notification that I should not have. My email is hosted by Office 365 using a custom domain, so I may be able to get more detailed logs if you need them. I'm certain this is just a mistake, but in case it helps, here's the details (email redacted, you guys should have that in your system). Please contact me if there's something I need to know (a data breach, for example).

Received: from ( by ( with Microsoft SMTP
Server (version=TLS1_2, cipher=TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384_P384) id
15.1.874.6 via Mailbox Transport; Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:47:36 +0000
Received: from ( by ( with Microsoft SMTP
Server (version=TLS1_2, cipher=TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384_P384) id
15.1.860.6; Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:47:34 +0000
Received: from (2a01:111:f400:7c10::1:162) by (2a01:111:e400:52fe::52) with Microsoft
SMTP Server (version=TLS1_2,
cipher=TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384_P384) id 15.1.874.6 via Frontend
Transport; Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:47:34 +0000
Authentication-Results: spf=pass (sender IP is;s**********.***; dkim=none (message not signed)
header.d=none;s**********.***; dmarc=pass action=none;s**********.***; dkim=none (message not signed)
Received-SPF: Pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender);
Received: from ( by ( with Microsoft
SMTP Server (version=TLS1_0, cipher=TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA) id
15.1.803.8 via Frontend Transport; Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:47:33 +0000
Received: (qmail 28978 invoked by uid 89); 23 Jan 2017 17:47:32 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO 300fc4f14ba3) (no?
by with ESMTPA; 23 Jan 2017 17:47:32 -0000
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 20:47:32 +0300
From: Serge Travin <>
To: David Schwartz <d***@s**********.***>
Message-ID: <>



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


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


This is hilarious.  I am now getting an update every time someone votes on this issue.  I got 60+ emails today.  Haha.  What a great ticket for this bug.  


yes, it's annoying ...


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:


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.


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 ;)

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"!


Original topic problem was solved?

I cant reproduce it.


I wouldn't necessarily characterize the application's behaviour as "stealing focus", but it is brighter than a thousand suns (and therefore it's futile to argue the opposite) that the focus behaves this way during the simultaneous startup of many applications. Have you ever been refocused to another app while typing the password and realized it only after pressing Enter?

Almost nobody would be surprised by the fact that by firing up some application the user expects that after it is started the focus belongs to none other than the very app that was just started. I share the pain of those who regularly fire up many applications at the same time (most likely when they start the work in the morning) and who, while doing so, struggle to perform any sort of meaningful action. During the startup sequence the focus jumps like mad from one app to the other at the most unexpected moments and the keystrokes together with the mouse clicks are being often mistakenly received by the application the user didn't intend to communicate with. The minority they are, when taking into account all of the computer users in the world, isn't precisely a minority when we focus (no pun intended) on some specific group of people like software developers.

I hypothesise that IntelliJ IDEA is in the most unfortunate position in this war for focus, because unlike most other apps (that I use), IntelliJ opens many windows and therefore it is very human to blame the most windowy application, while ignoring all the others that have exactly the same problem. (I could also maybe thought of Gimp, which might also open many windows, but since I'm not a graphic designer, startup of Gimp doesn't concern me so much).

The fix of course could be applied as a feature flag, because otherwise I imagine all those who expect the application to gain the focus when started would be worried when it would suddenly stop to be so. Permanently (ie. without the possibility to turn it on and off) setting the lack-of-focus-after-startup-situation would probably be even worse behaviour than the current one. It is hard to say whether the fix might be applied on the application level or on the OS level (eg. by providing a way to construct a command or a shortcut to the application that would instruct the X window system to somehow not give focus to application unless clicked by the user (BTW IMHO starting the application minimized is not a solution)).

J Marcus1943, maybe on OS X the problem is not so visible, I don't know, never used it. I encounter this annoyance while working on Linux. Every day.

Konstantin Komelin, I agree that the long startup time contributes to this issue, but I fail to see how this can be a major component of a robust fix. I don't think that faster loading would fix the issue, because if you have a large project, IMHO it might be very difficult (or impossible) to load it so fast that the focus problem would disappear. Also I don't think that the splash screen plays such an important role in the problem. Removing it might help a little, but with or without it, there are still windows of the various projects popping here and there and this is the period of the startup process when the jumping focus happens.

I would like to see the issue resolved as it takes a little bit of joy away from working with IntelliJ (probably not so much as to make me stop using the product, on the other hand you hardly ever know what will be the last straw). Life is full of sadness, but the artisans of JetBrains are the most probable crowd in the world to get it fixed. If they do, I would never be able to thank them sufficiently. Never.

However, should they come to conclusion that the jumping focus is of the low priority for them right now, I find the Jacek Gajek's coffee workaround to be the most beneficial and stressfree:
1. Start all apps you use at once
2. Go get a coffee
3. Come back to a fully initialized workplace.


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


@Dawid Chodura you should write a book about this focus... Even if it's low priority for Jetbrains, it's a really quick fix.


I think that keeping this beautyful thread alive is worth not fixing the Focus Theft.


Very annoying issue with focus stealing! Please fix this.


Very annoying and just screams amateurish engineering. Especially when PhpStorm steals focus 3 freaking times during boot up. Running on Linux so this is not a Windows specific issue.


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.


This issue drives me crazy. Annoying and unnecessary. Bump.


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.