When you’re working hard, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by several applications with multiple windows each. Stay organized with these window and workspace management tools for macOS.
If you’re trying to stay organized on macOS, Mission Control is absolutely essential. Mission Control creates multiple virtual desktops, called Spaces, and let’s you quickly toggle between them. This way you can group your apps together into their own Spaces to keep things from getting too cluttered. Then, quickly slide between them with a hotkey or mouse command.
Mission Control also makes it easy to see all your currently open windows at once. When triggered, it quickly “explodes” your current desktop, showing you all the open windows. This way you can quickly find what you’re looking for. Even if you don’t like Spaces, this feature is invaluable.
macOS’s native window management tools are fairly limited. While Split View has its uses, it’s still not nearly as flexible as Window’s Snap tool. Magnet makes up for that by massively expanding your ability to resize and organize windows on your Desktop. It actually works a lot like Snap, but if you’ve never used that, here’s the deal. You drag a window to the edge of the screen, and that window automatically resizes to take up exactly half the screen real estate. If you drag the window to a corner, it will take up one quarter of the window. You can also quickly maximize windows and even split things up into thirds. And while you can execute these commands with a mouse, power users might find the keyboard shortcuts especially handy.
Where Magnet is a more powerful version of Split View, BetterSnapTool is a more powerful version of Magnet. Most of its strength comes from its insane customizability. Users can set their own snap zones and specify custom shapes for each. This means you can arrange your windows in whatever unique pattern you like, and then save those window positions to snap zones. Then you can snap back into the arrangement after things get moved around. It’s as close as you’ll get to actually saving a workspace in macOS. The additional features can be slightly overwhelming, but if you want something more customizable than Magnet, this is your ticket.
Split View might be the most basic window management tool available in macOS, but it still has its uses. If you click and hold the maximize button on any full-screen-capable app to the side of your monitor, that window will quickly shrink. You can then drop that window on the left or right side of your screen. Then, you can select another full-screen-capable app from the currently open windows. to fill in the remaining space. If you just need to see two things at once for a few minutes, Split View is a great way to quickly get that done.
Picture-in-Picture is what Alton Brown would call a unitasker: it’s good for just one thing, but it does that one thing pretty well. With Picture-in-Picture, you can “float” a video window on top of your workspace, making it always visible. This is perfect if you like watching TV while you work, and it currently works with iTunes and with YouTube and Vimeo in Safari.
To use Picture-in-Picture on YouTube, double right-click on the video and select “Enter Picture in Picture” from the dropdown menu.
For Vimeo videos, click on the small Picture-in-Picture icon, next to the fullscreen button.
After you’ve had a Mac for a few months, you might find yourself suffering from an extremely cluttered menu bar. There’s probably some stuff up that’s legitimately useful, but a lot of those icons might just be stuck there. Many background apps use the menu bar as their sole means of user interaction, and that requires an always-on menu bar icon. If things are getting overwhelmingly crowded, Bartender can help you sort it out. It reorganizes your menu bar, hiding unwanted icons behind a subtle “more” button. Click that, and all your icons will be revealed! But otherwise, they’re kept tucked away from view.
Pro Tip: Window Snapping and Mission Control
If you’re using Mission Control and window snapping at the same time, you might end up accidentally moving windows to new Spaces rather than snapping. To fix this problem, you can increase the delay between moving a window and triggering Mission Control.
1. Open Terminal from “/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app.”
2. Enter the following command and press “Enter”:
defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-edge-delay -float 2.0; killall Dock
Good window and workspace management is essential for peak productivity. You can use any of the above apps to declutter and reorganize your digital workspace.