One of the benefits of modern computing, Mac style, is a widescreen packed with pixels. My daily workload bounces between a 27-inch iMac with Retina display to a 13-MacBook Pro with Retina display. The similarities, besides the apps? Widescreen. All that screen real estate means more open apps, and more switching between apps, and that creates more visual screen clutter.
There are many ways to manage Mac screens– Spaces comes to mind (virtual screens) but is more on the geeky side of life. Command-Tab to switch between apps, or a simple click to the open app in the Dock, gets you to the app you want, but does nothing to uncluttered the screen. That problem has spawned a cottage industry of Mac app window management tools. Here’s a few I’ve tried, each with options I like, each which could be recommended to family, friends, and co-workers, knowing the obligation for support that comes with a personal recommendation.
Tuck – Tuck is the utility that lives in the Mac’s Menubar, so it’s handy, and all it does is let you hide app windows by tucking them under the Mac screen’s edges. That hides them but makes them instantly available for use. Remembering where a window is hidden is the only real issue.
Cinch – The same developer has an app that takes a slightly different approach to app window clutter with Cinch, letting you resize a window simply by grabbing the window and dragging it to the Mac screen’s edge.
Moom – This one is a favorite. Moom divides the Mac’s screen into grid sections; vertical and horizontal halves, and others, which makes it easy to drop an app into a specific location on the screen. The app windows then snap into place on the grid.
Divvy – Another popular utility which manages app windows through a grid is called Divvy— as in, it divvies up the Mac’s screen into a grid where you can park app windows and they stick in place. I like that keyboard shortcuts can be assigned to move an app’s window into place so your hands don’t leave the keyboard.
BetterSnapTool – Perhaps the best value in Mac app window managers is BetterSnapTool. As the name suggests, all it does is ‘snap’ app windows into place on the Mac’s screen and keeps them there so you’ll always know where a specific app resides.
Other utilities do something similar to the above. For example, both Magnet and Split Screen take a Mac app and move the window to a specific quadrant on the screen, but it’s a manual process each time (unless the app window remembers the location and stays put).
Retina displays have marked the beginning of a golden era for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users who relish high resolution screens, but only the Mac requires a way to manage multiple apps on a screen to prevent visual clutter and to organize a specific location-based workflow. With up to a dozen Mac apps, tools, utilities open at one time, having a simple way to organize their whereabouts is an advantage.
What about you?