Tuesday, August 22, 2023

macOS Window Management

Mac Power Users:

Since the dawn of multitasking, users have needed to juggle things on their screens. Apple has taken several swings at building good window management tools into macOS, but better solutions can be found in a long list of third-party apps. Stephen and David have tried just about all of them for this episode.

I’ve been using Moom for a long time. One of my favorite features is that it can trigger a preset when the number of displays changes. So windows automatically rearrange themselves when I dock or undock my MacBook Pro.


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What about BetterTouchTool?

I use a combination of LaunchBar actions and Swish.

I would argue that the move to Windows-style MDI over the last decade or so has hurt Mac window management more than multitasking, per se. I miss inspector panels and palettes that would vanish when switching focus, while leaving your content/document window visible in the background. I still use Exposé hot corners often enough that I really miss that feature when using Windows.

Big fan of Moom too. Also love Rectangle App, as an open source alternative, with excellent "snap areas". https://rectangleapp.com

I have a list of most of those (and more) over at https://taoofmac.com/space/apps/window_managers - I’m still musing Moom aonde one machine, but have moved to Phoenix in another. Still looking for the perfect solution.

I feel like at some point in the past, Apple started hiring people who mostly had a background in Windows (or possibly iOS), and not as much people who had worked on Classic MacOS. As a result, they were people who mostly worked with things fullscreen, and they didn't have an understanding of how to use multiple windows effectively. Maybe I'm wrong; it just feels like the way they de-emphasize the title bar, make it harder to see the active window, have all this extra space around things, etc., indicates people who don't regularly (and effectively) have 15-20 open windows across multiple applications.

That being said, Zooom/2, which is now discontinued, was a really useful tool. BetterTouchTool has similar abilities, although (probably because of something Safari is doing), it can't manage empty Safari windows.

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