Tidy-up series: App windows management

Along the years I accumulated several small tweaks, customizations, and workarounds I perform to any new Mac and iPhone I own, so I can maintain both my ability to focus, and some level of sanity.

For “Part I”, I’m going to address app windows management on the Mac. But before that, I should probably start with a quote I once heard:

Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing.

— Steve Uzzell

Multitasking is bullshit. I can’t help but roll my eyes whenever someone comes with a fancy talk around the necessity of having multiple displays or app windows opened at the same time and all the time.

Surely, one may eventually need a couple apps opened side-by-side for taking notes during a Zoom video call, or to move stuff between apps and the like. But other than that? Bullshit!

OR, there’s also the possibility I’m plain wrong and I suffer from a severe attention span deficit. Hmm…

If you’re like me and often struggle to deal with macOS app windows, I may have a couple tips that will likely change the way you use your desktop computer.

Unitask Team Force

One of the first apps I install to any new Mac is Hides.

This app allows me to switch on and off what they call “Focus Mode”. Basically, when triggered on, it will hide all open applications automatically except the one I have active.

Here’s a quick demo:

I’ve been using this app for a couple years and I can’t imagine going back. It’s so important to my workflow that I rarely switch it off.

OCD window sizes

You may have also noticed in the video above I like keeping my windows perfectly centered within the desktop, and at certain sizes.

In other to achieve that, I use Apple’s new Shortcuts app with an actual… shortcut to trigger between 3 window sizes:

A quick disclaimer: The shortcuts above were made for the M1 iMac 24-inch and MacBook Pro 14-inch. If you’d like to use them, with a little math you can adjust it to work with any display resolutions and sizes you prefer.

To set up a keyboard shortcut, you can click the “Shortcut Details” toolbar button at top right of the shorcut detail view; then check “Use as Quick Action”; and lastly, in the “Run with:” section, type the shortcut you want to use it with. I for one use + the size first letter.

And that’s about it — enjoy some tidy windows!

Marcelo Marfil on the internets