Two Great Things in MacOS Ventura

I have been using MacOS Ventura for a little over a week now and, while I still have not gotten used to phrases like “Preferences” and “Desktop Picture” getting replaced with the dreary words “Settings” and “Wallpaper”, respectively, I do think there are two legitimately great things in this release worth calling out.

The first is Stage Manager. I only have Ventura on my laptop, but I bet that is the context where the Mac version of Stage Manager makes the most sense. Its single-application mode and aggressive animations have made me think twice about habitually ⌘-Tabbing over to my Twitter client, and I find it makes it easier for me to juggle multiple windows while reducing clutter. It is imperfect, but it feels successful in a way that is surprising to me. Who knew MacOS needed yet another way to manage windows? Turns out.

The other thing I find impressive is the redesigned Print dialog box. It suffers from a few of the same bizarre layout choices that plague System Settings — there are yawning chasms between the left-aligned labels and the often narrow fields on the right, for example. But as far as functional redesigns of longstanding complex UI patterns go, I find it a joy to use. I have quibbles — Cupertino-area friends, I am filing feedback reports — but I think it is a true success overall.

Above all, what I am most surprised by in MacOS Ventura is that the maturity of this operating system has not stopped rethinking even basic elements like window management and printing. Neither improvement has gotten in my way or made me feel uncertain about how to use MacOS, either. That is a hard balance to strike and I think these are both successful examples of making big changes that do not break workflows in their quest for improvement.

More of this, please. I have thoughts about Notifications.