Apple announced a lot of new software features during its WWDC 2022 event, including macOS Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9 and a lot more. During the event, Stage Manager was one of the most highlighted features showcased on macOS and iPadOS. The new functionality lets users easily switch between tabs, create workspaces, and resize windows with ease.
Before I talk about why Stage Manager makes little sense on macOS, let’s take a closer look at the three new features to understand how they work. We also have an excellent guide on how to install iPadOS 16 Beta on your current iPad, but as always, we recommend doing it on a device that you don’t rely on.
Stage Manager is the feature that lets you multitask with ease. Once enabled, it shows up on the left edge of the device, assuming that you’re not in full-screen, in which case, it will disappear. You can tap on an application to show up on the screen, and drag in other apps to use them side-by-side, or in any configuration, you like and prefer. It’s a great new way to stack and use multiple apps simultaneously.
With a simple tap on any Stage Manager item, you can switch between different setups and apps. If you have dedicated work layouts, and personal workspaces, this is an efficient way to differentiate between the two environments, unless you’re using virtual desktops on macOS – which you should.
The new function raises a few questions on why it is necessary on macOS. Stage Manager takes up a lot of space on the left side of the display. Once you go full-screen, it will automatically disappear, rendering it useless for people like myself, who use the maximum screen real estate available. If you don’t use shortcuts and third-party apps to make windows go full-screen, you should definitely check out Spectacle, or my top 5 favorite Mac applications that I install first on a new MacBook.
Stage Manager looks like it was created for touch input
Stage Manager looks like it was created for touch input, and they take up a lot of space, even on a reasonably sizeable iPad display. It doesn’t look right even on larger displays like the 13-inch or 14-inch MacBook Pro laptops. Both macOS and iPadOS already have docks, and the new features appear to take away more space from your disposal, and encourage users to use small windows.
This is bad practice, and it should be avoided to help prevent eye strain. Focusing on small objects is bad for your eyes. Some might argue that it does the opposite, helping one or two windows to stay in focus, and while I agree with it, that’s not how most people use these devices.
Walk into a cafe – and without stalking other people’s displays – see the layout they’re using. The screen is usually filled with many small windows, and while Stage Manager will help solve that problem, it’s far from an ideal solution.
Very few people use full-screen windows. The new feature is definitely an improvement, and it’s a welcome addition, but I feel confused about how it wants to tackle problems. We already have a perfect, minimalist dock. We could use it to store these “stages” there. It makes far more sense than placing it on the left side, taking up even more space.
The icons also look very large, which isn’t exactly user-friendly on devices that don’t have any touch input. It might make some sense on an iPad, but not so much on the Mac. However, it’s worth mentioning that macOS Monterey introduced a lot of new big UI elements, and this might be something that Apple is trying to add across its operating systems to be more consistent. Consistency is great, but Apple should continue focusing on improving macOS for mice and keyboards, instead of adding unnecessary and useless design changes.
Saving these workspaces is something that should have been added to macOS and iPadOS a long time ago, but it’s better late than never. I can’t wait to test out the new feature in the fall, but I hope that Apple listens to feedback and will try to change how it works before it’s released to the public.
What are your thoughts about Stage Manager? Do you like the way it’s implemented currently, or do you wish it lived in the dock? Let us know in the comments!
Apple iPad 10.2-inch
The 2021 iPad is an affordable tablet that lets your loved one relax and stay entertained. The large display is perfect for gaming, drawing, and watching movies. This iPad is also compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil.
Apple iPad 11-inch
The 11-inch iPad Pro comes with a laptop-grade M1 chipset, 128GB of storage, and it supports the second-generation Apple Pencil. It’s perfect for those who want a larger screen and one of the best tablets. The display is excellent for drawing, animation, and just about anything you can imagine doing.