The iOS-ification of macOS

Apple's decision to make #macOS look and feel more like #iOS is aspirational, certainly. If users could seamlessly switch between operating systems and retain muscle memory it would be a big win. It's no wonder that #Apple decided to do this with macOS 13 #Ventura.

But in practice, Apple's zeal for consolidation has created some real problems for users. In many cases it feels like one step forward and two steps back. I can see how iOS power users may welcome most of the changes to macOS, but that position smacks of Stockholm Syndrome to me.

One of the best examples of this is the redesigned System Settings, which is a mess. I've given it months to “grow on me” and it has… like a fungal infection. The settings are (dis)organized into a single column of top-level categories in a seemingly random order. Devices running macOS have wide screens, so restricting the top-level categories to a single narrow column is an artificial limitation. And it can’t be remedied by resizing the System Settings window because only its height can be changed.

And the organization? macOS has a much deeper and more broad collection of settings than iOS. So as difficult as specific iOS settings can be to find on an iPhone, it’s near impossible on a Mac. And making it worse is the fact that some settings have been organized out of existence, spread out into disparate, counterintuitive categories. Want to tune all your power and sleep settings? You may have to explore a dozen settings categories to find them when they could have been put into an “Energy” category or something similar. Luckily there is a search feature. Without it I’m sure users would be surrounding the Apple Campus with pitchforks and torches.

Also part of this convergence initiative is the Apple decision to make physical keyboards work more like the iOS virtual keyboard, which changes contextually. The difference is that the iOS keyboard changes in appearance so you can infer what's expected. This means that, for example, sometimes you can use the delete key to remove characters to the right of your cursor, and sometimes you can't. It's like an infuriating game. And now when you press and hold an alphanumeric key it no longer repeats, in favor of a popup with extended characters (e.g. foreign characters with accents and ligatures). I suppose that’s handy for people who write in a foreign language. But you would assume that it would be an option, not a change to the original default key behavior. Your keyboard isn’t broken. Apple made it better #YOUREWELCOME.

#tech #opinion

Mar 7, 2023

About Non Sequiturs

Non Sequiturs is the personal blog of Michael Argentini.

I'm a software developer and Managing Partner for Fynydd and Blue Sequoyah Technologies, the project lead for Coursabi, and Āthepedia founder. I also have several nerdy open source projects on Github.

I'd describe myself as an Oxford comma advocate, autodidact, aspiring polymath, and boffin, with a mechanical keyboard addiction. You can also find me on Mastodon.

Michael Argentini

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