Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Spaces: The final frontier

For as long as the Mac has had overlapping windows, it’s come up with ways to manage them. Everything from zoom controls to window shades to turning folders into tabs at the edge of your windows1—seems like the Mac’s tried it all.

But I’m going to take this opportunity to call out a window management feature that’s still chugging away but that I believe is under-appreciated in modern macOS: Spaces.

Spaces has a long history, stretching back to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, released in 2006. But it wasn’t really a new idea in computing: the concept of virtual desktops had existed more or less since the advent of the graphical interface in the 1980s popping up in a variety of other operating systems, though perhaps most prominently in the classic X Window System that ran on top of Unix and other similar OSes.2

Though other features related to Spaces, such as Dashboard and Exposé, have died or “evolved” over the years, Spaces has stuck around, though you could argue that it’s actually become less capable in the interim.…

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