Multitasking on a Mac sucks, and this is why

I recently switched to a Mac (again) for work, and I’m pretty darn convinced that OS X sports the worst multitasking experience I’ve ever seen, and here’s why.

For those feeling really adventurous, consider taking a drink every time I say “awful”. For those feeling helpful, feel free to tell me exactly why everything I am complaining about is wrong —I’d love to love this OS.

Spaces

  1. You can’t rename Spaces. Really?
  2. Creating Spaces is clunky. Moving Spaces around is clunky. Deleting Spaces is clunky.
  3. Moving left/right with keyboard shortcuts space by space is suuuuuper slow. The fastest way I’ve found to move to any specific Space is a hot corner and clicking on it directly.
  4. You… can’t quickly jump to a specific Space. You can set up keyboard shortcuts for “Desktops”, but apparently not your full-screened applications.
  5. Moving windows between Spaces is an awful experience. Dragging a window to the top of the screen, and then dragging it “harder” at the edge, and then only having a small window of tiny windows to drag it around on is awful.
  6. If I‘m in, say, a Google Chrome window and move five Spaces to the right (to another, full-screen Chrome window), hitting Command+W to close the current tab should absolutely not close the active tab from the Space I came from. It does.
  7. You can only have 16 Spaces. This might seem like a pretty high limit, but the fact that there is a limit at all is pretty dumb. Especially when the Space selector already scrolls before 16; might as well just let it scroll further for those of us that frequently (or occasionally) find use in more than 16 spaces.

Windows

No, not the operating system. The things literally every application in OS X runs in, that you interact with every single time you use your computer. So why are they so bad?

  1. Leaving it up to applications to decide what double clicking their titlebar does? I just want to make that window bigger until it fills the whole screen without manually clicking and dragging or holding down modifier keys while doing so. Looking at you, Chrome.
  2. Command+Tab and Command+Backtick are an abomination. Command+Tab is for all applications across all Spaces, and Command+Backtick is for windows of the same application. Just let me Command+Whatever between all windows on this workspace, already. Command command command.
  3. Similarly, there’s a three-finger-swipe gesture downward to choose between all of the windows for your open application, and nothing to choose between all windows.
  4. And look at how much space is wasted in that gesture (pictured above), when it could be better used to provide thumbnails that actually differentiate the windows.
  5. Windows don’t make it easy to line them up with the edge of the screen when you’re moving them around. They just fly by — all willy-nilly — and it’s up to you to spend the time getting right on the edge.

Window splitting

This is bad enough it probably deserves an entire book written about why it’s awful and how it could be so awful when competitors have been doing it (very well) for so long.

  1. You can only split two windows on the same Space.
  2. Both windows have to already be open to split them. It’s pretty common I want to snap something to the side of the screen, then open something else to fill the other side of the screen. If I don’t select something immediately, the first window unsnaps and you’re back to where you started.
  3. If you want to split something in to an already-fullscreen Space, it’ll open on some other random space and you have to drag it up and over to the Space you actually want it on.
  4. There’s no keyboard shortcut to split windows, or even snap them left or right? Not to mention snapping upward and downward, thanks a lot Windows 10 for setting that functionality expectation.

I gave myself two weeks to get reacquainted with the operating system before writing this and I’m sure there’s more frustrations yet unseen, but I just wanted to outline my frustrations as a user trying to get a lot of work done so friends more familiar with the system might be able to help out.

If there’s an easier solution to any of the above — that isn’t “just don’t do so much stuff” — I’d love to hear it. I’d love to be wrong about all of this if it ends up increasing my productivity.

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