This is how I manage the size and position of my windows in macOS

Effective management of the Windows on our Mac is essential to be able to work productively and comfortably. The Mac, by its very nature, is clearly distinct from the iPad, not to mention the iPhonein the workflow it offers us, and being able to properly manage the information we have on screen at all times It is something as fundamental as it is personal.. Let me tell you about my experience.

What works for me? the easiest way

Since my first Mac I have always used a MacBook Pro. Different models, better and better, but still a laptop. I have never worked regularly with external screens, all the more reason to always go for 15 inches up to Apple made the jump to 16in on the MacBook Pro M1 Pro I’m currently using.

I think that’s important context, because different setups require different screen sizes, different layouts, but I always liked knowing that I could close the lid of my Mac, take it with me, and wherever I am I will have exactly the same as at home.

That said, I’ll cut to the chase: how do I manage window size and position? In the simplest way possible. The I open when I need them and immediately afterwards I close them. There are very few windows that I usually have open, mostly Safari.


Scene Manager on macOS Ventura.

One reason for this article is the new Stage Manager or Visual Organizer system that comes with macOS Ventura. I tried it for several weeks and, although I find it very interesting, I think I will use it very sparingly. And a lot of my motivation comes from the iPad. Let me take the conversation on a personal level and say the iPad is where I focus best. I write a lot on the iPad, I read, I play games and I do it without any distractions. Why? This is what I asked myself a few years ago: why how to work from a single application at the same time. Same as the iPhone, I know, but for a phone you can’t talk about long work sessions on it.

The iPad working style is the most comfortable and easy for me. Only one app on screen except when I need to check something in Safari while writing, for example, and at most the Music or Reminders app in Slide Over to change songs or mark tasks as done. Yes this management is the one that I exported, some time ago, to the Mac.

Screenshot 2022 08 24 AT 17 53 58

My Dock with the usual apps open.

Go ahead, I never close apps. I haven’t since my first Intel Mac, and now I have even less reason to do so with my supercalifragilist M1 Pro. All Dock apps are always open: Mail, Messages, Reminders, Notes, Calendar, Maps, Music, Podcasts, Apple TV, Slack, Affinity Photo, Safari and many more. From here I have two types of applications, those that I open and close and those that I use in full screen.

Multitasking computers, humans…much less. Too many things at once is usually counterproductive.

Safari, for example, I always use, without exception, in full screen. It’s already a habit, I want the biggest size available for the content, and less than that seems strange to me. The same goes for iA Writer, where I’m writing from, an app I want to use without seeing any distractions. The other occasional-use applications remain on the desktop, closed, or hidden (Command + W or Command + H).

It’s easy for me to tap Slack to talk to the Applesfera team, go to the Reminders app to see what I have pending, or open Affinity Photo to create a cover image for an article. In the meantime, I know Safari will always be at your fingertips. Always open, always fullscreen, and immediately to the right of the desktop.

I downplay a few apps. I do, especially when I want remember i have to do something with them. I’d rather not take up Dock space like that and just use it to sort out what I’m doing. Likewise, I almost always have a single app on screen. Whether it’s full screen or a floating window on the desktop, I try to focus on a single piece of information.

Screenshot 2022 08 24 AT 17 54 42

iA Writer and full-screen Safari.

I know I can use shortcuts to open multiple windows at the same time with just one click. The problem is that doing this leaves them on the desktop, and since that’s when I need more space, when I see two apps, I have to manually split them full screen. Something that has already become a habit, especially in the iA Writer-Safari duo.

Visual Organizer in macOS 13 and iPadOS 16: what is Stage Manager, what is it for and what are its requirements

Thus, the size of the windows takes a back seat. I always try to make them big enough so that sidebars are displayed and visible, but nothing else. The system always remembers the size, more so when it does not close them. And in my distro I also have the desktop visible, especially the right side, so I can quickly drag files where I need them.

There are many third-party applications to improve window management. Shortcuts, in my case, I would replace a lot of them, but what I’m going to do, what I really want to communicate is that sometimes less is more. Less information helps me focus. Fewer open applications keep your workflow smooth. And a notification center with well-configured widgets keeps us informed of the calendar, reminders and other regularly referenced applications.

In the end, there are as many ways to organize our windows as there are windows we can open. Notably I spent years with what the iPad invited me to do when I work with it. Focus on a single activity rather than the size and position of its window to multitask.

About Sally E. Bartley

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