How to manage open applications

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Nathan W, May 10, 2008.

  1. Nathan W macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2008
    Hello Folks,

    I just got my wife a MacBook Pro and we are already confused. [YES, WE JUST SWITCHED]

    Here is the first issue. It seems that the concept of closing and switching between applications is totally different on a Mac (willing to learn, just totally confused).
    I understand from reading a few websites that the only way to actually close an application is to go to file->Close or Command Q... Is this true? I'm OK with keyboard shortcuts but my wife hates them and the extra steps of having to go up top, drop down a menu, and select quit seems kind of silly. What is the difference between the X and the - up top then anyways?

    Also (and more importantly), we keep losing windows. For example, we had the Mail application open and started a new message which opened a new window. She then went back to Safari to get a contact. When she went back to the Mail application we landed back on the inbox and the new message window was nowhere to be found. We had to close each window one by one until we found the new message window hiding behind them. There has to be a better way then that .... right? (Please say YES)

    Any help and insight you guys can give me would be great. I'm excited to learn the ways of the Mac and there are a lot of things I like... but sometimes it seems like things are more difficult than they need to be just to be different than a PC (like the X not closing the app).

  2. wordy macrumors regular


    Feb 26, 2008
    Yes, the only way to fully quit is cmd-Q or from the menubar (i.e. Safari --> Quit Safari). If you just close all the windows, the program is still running (try CMD-Tab or look for indicator lights under apps in your dock). You will learn to love command shortcuts. As a PC user, we're trained to be enslaved to the mouse, but really shortcuts are just that!

    The X closes a window, where the yellow button minimizes it to right side of the dock (there is a name for that area, but it escapes me). The green button's function is up to the developer. Sometimes it maximizes to full screen (another PC --> Mac tip: get use to NOT having windows maximized) other times it will do something totally unexpected.... try it in iTunes for example. :)

    Your lost windows are probably minimized. Check for icons in the right side of your dock. A great tip is to set an Expose hot corner to show all windows:
    Preferences --> Expose&Spaces -->
    I have my top right corner set to "Show all windows" so as soon as I move my pointer up there, it quickly shows me all my open windows.

    As a final tip, I'll say you should try and approach your new Mac with an attitude of "how do I do this on a Mac?" rather than "Why doesn't this work like Windows?" If you do that, you'll learn faster and get more out of your Mac experience.

    Congrats on your new Mac!
  3. forafireescape macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2008
    I echo everything in this post. It took me awhile to get used to the keyboard shortcuts, but now whenever I use a PC, I get really cranky that they're not there. Like learning all new things, it'll take time. Maybe you could make an appointment to go to an Apple store and have someone there teach you some tricks for getting started, or maybe even ask a Mac-savvy friend.
  4. Nathan W thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2008
    Thanks for the help wordy!

    I guess I'll just have to force my wife into using shortcut keys. Sounds like it's very needed for this OS. I really like them but she just wants to click somewhere.

    BTW, thanks for the "All Windows" in the right hand corner tip. I turned that on and it's going to help a lot... thanks!
  5. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2005
    You can use Cmd+` (the Cmd and the backquote key - the key above tab) to switch between windows of a single application (it's like Alt+Tab in windows, but it works only for the application that's currently activated). So when you "lost" that new mail window, all you had to do was switch to Mail (where it showed you the Inbox) and hit Cmd+` repeatedly until you saw the new message window.

    Additionally, learn to use Expose - it makes cluttered windows easy to manage (and avoid getting lost).
  6. applefan69 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 9, 2007
    Somethjing noone else has said yet, is the fact that OS X keeps applications running is in fact an ADVANTAGE to windows. You mentioned that you thoguht it was an annoyance just for the sake of being different.But it in fact is one of the things I like best about OS X.

    Reason it is better is because it allows applications to run in the background without leaving clutter on your desktop. For example, you can turn itunes on, get music playing, then you can close your iTunes window and music will continue playing even though other then that blue dot underneath the itunes logo in the dock you wont be able to tell iTunes is open. Which I think is very nifce.

    Furthermore it makes opening applications LATER much fast. For example photoshop is a program that takes a long time to start up whihc is kinda annoying. But what you can do is when you first start your mac up, you start photoshop up... it'll go throuhg the regular starting up of photoshop. Then when it done just close all the windows in photoshop.

    NOW, 3 hours later you decide you actually want to use photoshop, you click the photoshop icon in the dock, and bamn the photoshop windows appear with no starting up. I find that VERY VERY VERY nice. In my situation I have my mac start up my five most used apps, once it finishes starting up. (my favorite five are: Safari, Adium, iTunes, Mail, Speed Download) Sure that makes my computer take maybe 20-30 seconds longer before it has fully started up and is sitting on idle process. BUT after it is done then my whole mac will run really fast until I shut my mac down. Assuming I dont open a different application later in the day, I wont have to wait for any apps to start up all day.
  7. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    One more thing on the Mail issue. No one has mentioned this, when you start a new message on Mail then click to another application and then click back to Mail and all of a sudden your new message window is gone is because you are clicking on Mail's inbox window and the new message window gets put behind the inbox window.
    Easy remedy is to switch applications by clicking on them from the Dock rather than clicking the applications window. When switching back to Mail if you'd just clicked the Mail icon in the Dock the new message window would reappear.

    Try using Expose and you will have instant access to any and all open windows.

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