Stage Manager on a single display (macOS) :: Another Stage Manager Post

I know there has been much ink spilled on the topic of stage manager. [See my collection of posts below.] I just wanted to add one item, that I mentioned in passing elsewhere. I am finding that Stage Manager on a single display is vastly superior to Mission Control and Spaces. I’m writing this as someone who really likes and heavily uses Mission Control and Spaces.

I have a 16" MacBook Pro and I usually have dozens of windows open. Right now I count 15 and it’s not even 9 A.M. here in L.A. Normally, my MacBook is docked and I’m using it with my 27" screen (that is until I take this bait courtesy @rkaplan: Multiple Studio Displays). I usually prefer that set up because even with a 16" display, the work that I do can feel cramped.

I’ve been working on my MacBook alone a lot lately and with Stage Manager, I have been finding I am working as effectively as I do on my big set up. Here are my theories.

First Mission Control on a 27" or larger display gives you enough room to really look at your universe of open windows on a display. On the laptop, though, the Mission Control display is cramped. Stage Manager has helped me avoid the need to use Mission Control. By the way, I never thought of any of this before the advent of Stage Manager.

Second, I find switching between apps is more efficient with Stage Manager than with Spaces. Spaces is an excellent feature: it keeps your work organized; it’s simple to use; it provides great flexibility; and provides probably dozens more benefits. It is one of the standout features that made the Mac a far more desirable operating environment than Windows. Still, Stage Manager – on a single display – is a vasty more efficient way to manage a whole lot of windows and apps. The switching seems faster to me (don’t know if it actually is), it’s easier to interact between apps in different stages than it is to interact with apps in different spaces.

Third, Stage Manager takes less conscious effort to organize one’s workspace. I don’t have to re-arrange my apps into different Spaces and it’s trivial (most of the time) to get apps onto the same stage.

Fourth, Stage Manager makes it easier to get to apps and avoid getting lost. With multiple spaces, no matter how well I have my apps and projects organized, I sometimes have to switch spaces multiple times to find what I’m looking for. It’s not a huge issue, but I have not faced this problem at all with Stage Manager.

Finally, I actually find that I think it’s fun to use without being kitschy or getting in my way.

Hopefully, as Stage Manager matures, Apple will fix some (all?) of the user interface quibbles we’ve raised and will continue to raise throughout our posts and comments here on MPU. Even as it currently works, I find it to be a step forward and that it has great promise.

________ Catalog of Posts on Stage Manager ________

Thoughts on Stage Manager

Stage Manager is Growing on Me

Some thoughts on Stage Manager on iPadOS

Living with Stage Manager for Two Weeks

Stage Manager on Mac = Spaces with complications

StageManger IPad - here’s one use

P.S. I I missed any, let me know and I’ll add them.


Echoes my thoughts completely. Loved it on iPadOS, thought I wouldn’t like it on macOS due to spaces, seem be be thoroughly proven wrong so far. My only gripe is that there seems to be no way to set apps to open in your current stage, instead of creating a new one and then having to drag the window back into your previous stage.


Interesting thoughts and a good illustration of how it may suit some people more than others…

I’m the opposite, and I wonder if this comes down to whether one is “visual or logical”. A friend once described how she discovered you can tell some people “it’s the purple icon” and that’s all they need, whereas others you can tell “it’s the one in the top right” and that’s all they need. Switch those instructions between those two people and both are struggling.

Maybe because I have built up some habits (most apps, particularly Safari, on Space 1, work on Space 2, photography on Space 4, Space 3 reserved for “other” task that needs isolation) that I can pretty much always quickly find what I need. In the brief time I used Stage Manager, I had to completely change my focus (literally and figuratively) from the main screen to the sets along the side, trying to figure out which set I actually needed to click on. Side note: can you arrange those sets in a (semi-)permanent way, or are they completely at the whim of the OS?

I did actually like the idea and the look of Stage Manager, but for me (per my post linked above) it was the clash with other features of the visual OS that really turned me off. I would literally have to re-arrange my desk for the required changes to make sense.

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I had the same, but lately I’ve been finding that what I really want is one space per project/task for focus reasons. However, the projects I have open aren’t static, so reconfiguring and remembering which space belongs to which is harder than just looking at the list of stages where 1 stage = 1 project. Just my 2¢ :slight_smile:


It has a show-stopper bug for me, but once that’s fixed I’m sure that I’ll make use of it when my MBP isn’t docked. I think that I liked it (in combination with Spaces) when trying it out.

Same here, and this slow down my workflow quite a lot.

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