Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Why the macOS Ventura Share Menu Is Bad

What’s new in AppKit:

The most prominent update to the sharing experience is the new sharing popover. This replaces the existing share menu with a rich interface that includes more information about the document you’re sharing and familiar features like suggested people. It supports all of the same APIs and delegate methods as the previous picker, so you can still do things like filter the list of sharing services, or insert your own custom services into the picker.


The new sharing picker is great for kicking off sharing from somewhere like a toolbar button, but sometimes you want to start sharing from a menu, like the main menu bar or the context menu for a selected view inside your app. Previously, you might’ve constructed your own menu to handle this, by enumerating sharing services and then building menu items for each one. Although that does work, it bypasses the standard picker, so now you’re missing out on all of those new features. In macOS Ventura, NSSharingServicePicker can create a standardShareMenuItem for you. You can add the standard item to any menu to easily kick off sharing. Once selected, the menu item summons the sharing popover, and for context menus, it’ll even anchor the popover to the same view that produced the menu.

I love the idea of an API to create the standard Share menu item, but I think it should create a submenu rather than a popover. The popover just doesn’t work very well.

Jeff Johnson:

  1. It takes one click to get the Share menu on Monterey, two on Ventura.
  2. The contextual menu and its Share menu item disappear when I open the Share menu.
  3. Nonetheless, the Share menu is anchored at the now empty space previously occupied by the Share menu item.
  4. The Share menu refers to the Support link on the web page, which is nowhere near where the Share menu is visually anchored.


I can no longer navigate the menu at all with the keyboard!

The arrow keys and type-selecting by name no longer work.

To me, the worst part is the location of the popover. Say that you are trying to share a file from Finder. With a submenu, the sharing choices always appear just to the right of the cursor. With the new design, if you choose Share… from the menu bar, the popover appears, not near the menu, but potentially way on the other side of the screen, i.e. near the icon that was selected. Even if you choose Share… from the contextual menu, the popover does not originate from the where you initiated the command but from the icon. So it’s not just a matter of needing an extra click—which, as with Control Center, feels slower than the menu it replaced—but you also need to first move the cursor to a different area of the screen.


Update (2022-08-11): Peter Böttges:

Keyboard support was also removed from Menubar controls like Sound/Vol. and Wi-Fi with the overhaul in Big Sur.

And most of the new UI has zero support for Apple Script automation, making it inaccessible to those having to rely on it.

That’s the wrong direction to take macOS to.

Seth Willits:

My theory is that NSMenu is a little too limited in its customization capabilities. I’ve run into it now and then.

Ex: As soon as a menu item has a view, it’s no longer a clickable/selectable item like the others. Sometimes want it to be.

Customizing the style and size of individual items is not clear. (Attributed titles get you there with text attachments for images, but … awwwkward)


But all in all, yes… a popover masquerading as a menu is a terrible thing. Crazy that they did it.

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I cannot fathom what Ventura has that I’d want to “upgrade” for. Tried Stage Manager on a very short-lived beta install and it was an absolute mess compared to Mission Control. And little regressions seem to be everywhere. I’ll hope for better next year and skip 13 for as long as I can. What a lousy update.

Mac OS is getting worse, it's so sad to see those changes. So many questionable UI decisions that don't provide anything useful, but just make UI look better on screenshots. And the real usability is on the steep decline.

"Ex: As soon as a menu item has a view, it’s no longer a clickable/selectable item like the others. Sometimes want it to be."

There are some private APIs to make things a bit better but they are not reliable from one OS release to another.

>My theory is that NSMenu is a little too limited in its customization capabilities. I’ve run into it now and then.

Speaking of which, the macOS 14 AppKit release notes say menus are now AppKit (rather than Carbon). So maybe they're making moves in that direction.

Alas, neither the Share popover, nor most(?) of the menu extras (a few exceptions: Time Machine, VPN) have menu-like behavior. You can tell because hovering over an item is grey rather than the accent color, and arrow keys don't work to navigate. It's particularly annoying for the Share popover, where (at least for me), the first share item gets a focus ring, but you still can't navigate with arrow keys; you have to use tab.

Unclear if this is a work in progress where they eventually want to migrate those once NSMenu is powerful enough.

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