Popup windows don't get focus?

On my Fedora system (now 36, but the problem also cropped up with 35), I’ve noticed that in many instances dialog windows (like file open/save dialogs) don’t receive focus when they appear (and in some cases appear behind other windows).

I’d like to understand if this is an application problem (and I’m just unlucky enough to regularly be using multiple applications that have similar bugs), or if there’s a more fundamental problem with the Gnome desktop environment.

  1. Chrome (and other Chrome-based browsers, like Brave)

    The “Save” dialog (e.g., when downloading files) shows up in front of the browser window, as expected, but it doesn’t have input focus. I have to explicitly click on the dialog (or switch to another application and then back with alt-tab) before I can interact with it from the keyboard.

  2. Calibre

    The “Add books” dialog consistently shows up behind the Calibre main window. I need to either click on it or alt-tab to the “Portal” application that shows up in order to use it.

Are these related problems? Is this a configuration issue or buggy software? Thanks for your help!

It may be a user configuration issue.

To check that create a new user then log in as that user and test your apps to see the behavior. If it is normal and not as you describe it would appear to be user configuration. If exhibits the weird behavior as the new user then it would appear to be system configuration or a bug.

I just checked gnome-tweaks and it contains a setting about the popups. Maybe that is also your issue. Attach Modal Dialogs in this image.

@computersavvy thanks for the response! I was hopeful, but the “Attach Modal Dialogs” setting doesn’t appear to impact the problem in any fashion, and I see the same behavior when logged in to a new user account that I created just now for testing.