macOS is an excellent operating system, and its best known for its stability and smooth performance. When I switched over more than two years ago, I was frustrated with the constant issues I was having on Windows 10, the continuous audio issues and the practically non-existent search feature that never once worked.
Since then, Windows has received a lot of new features, and Windows 11 appears to have fixed the search bar issue. Although I am yet to daily drive a Windows 11 machine, the search feature wasn’t the only thing that caught my attention. I love how Windows 11 offers a quick pop-up view of all the different window arrangements, and I love that it saves all of the virtual desktop layouts and application placements for later use. Windows is still superior when it gets to managing multiple workspaces and app windows.
macOS doesn’t have many window management tools and shortcuts, unless you use third-party apps like Spectacle, which I’ve covered in my top 5 apps I always install first on a new MacBook post.
And that’s where macOS falls short, as it doesn’t always correctly restore windows when you connect a new external monitor, or you wake up a machine from sleep. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned on my mac, only to find myself needing to spend an additional two-to-three minutes restoring the layout to what I’m used to and what works the best for me.
It may sound silly to complain about this, but the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 is too fast to wake up. When I started using the laptop, I could see this as an issue, which turned out to be a real hassle today, six months after using the device every day. I’m not one to complain about speed, but I use a Dell U2719DC secondary monitor to complete most of my daily tasks. When I turn on my mac in the morning, I must first wake up the Dell monitor (usually by pressing the “space” on my Logitech Craft keyboard); otherwise, all of my windows will be scattered on different virtual desktops and will default to my mac’s display.
I use five virtual desktops to switch between personal stuff and work. Three virtual desktops have different windows open for writing, one for editing images, another for publishing, and another for research. It’s a controlled and organized mess that works for me.
macOS was one of the first operating systems that let users restore all of their windows to their default state when it’s restarted. And it works flawlessly, and it saves me a lot of time when I have to restart my machine. Whenever the mac boots up, it automatically restores everything the way it was previously, saving me a lot of clicks and time on managing. But it’s an entirely different story when I wake up the laptop in the morning, and open the mac before I wake up the external display.
Third-party apps won’t help you manage virtual desktops
It’s frustrating. I rarely ever use my third monitor (it’s an old TV) as it messes up the layout. It’s a limitation of macOS, as the third-party apps that claim to restore layouts will not transfer over to virtual desktops. Apple knows how to handle external monitors, but window management is still nowhere to be found.
macOS 12 Monterey is a mature operating system, and it’s a shame that Apple still hasn’t fixed it to this day. The worst thing is that I’m not the only one facing this problem. There are many forums with other frustrated mac users who are having similar issues, and macOS was never known for its excellent window management. Keyboard shortcuts are still missing, and even if Microsoft patented the idea, it’s weird that Apple hasn’t found, or decided not to, find a workaround implementing something similar.
The full-screen button offers split views, but as the name suggests, it will pull windows to be full screen, which I avoid, unless I’m watching a movie where I don’t want any interruptions and see the top bar or the dock on the bottom of my screen.
Assuming that Apple is listening to feedback, it must finally find a way to make window management across multiple displays and virtual desktops more seamless and easy. There’s no reason to download third-party software for things like this, which should have been baked into the operating system many years ago. If there’s a single feature that I hope macOS 13 has, it’s this one.
Have you ever come across this issue? Do you wish macOS had a Windows-like window management functionality? What apps do you use on your mac to manage your desktops? Let us know in the comments!