macOS: Not Quite Home

I have always prided myself on having a certain plasticity when it comes to using computer operating systems. Having spent time with Windows, macOS, and Linux and often switching between the three made sure that I could get work done on any of those.

More recently however I have been using macOS on my MacBook Air for 40 hours a week for work and I find myself just a tad uncomfortable using the operating system. Just a pinprick of annoyance, a paper cut. Every time I use Finder, every time I have to deal with macOS windowing system generates irritation.

I find myself coming to the realization that I have become just a little too used to using Windows as my desktop operating system. The OS plasticity I thought I had seems to have faded like an old memory. Using Windows just feels right. It feels like home, as much as a computer operating system can feel like home.

Some of the dislike of macOS is not new, I have always thought that Finder was the worse of the GUI file managers. I found myself preferring Windows’ Explorer, XFCE’s Thunar, GNOME’s Nautilus or KDE’s Dolphin over macOS’ Finder. Something about it just felt a little bit off.

I think also some of this originates from Windows being my first operating system. I am just used to using Windows and its idiosyncrasies in a way that I’m just not macOS. More concerning to me however is that I cannot seem to find some enjoyment in using macOS even after months of using it for 40 hours a week.

It is then not surprising that I was more comfortable with the various Linux desktop file managers than I was with macOS’ Finder. All of the ones I’ve used were modelled after Windows’ Explorer, especially KDE’s Dolphin. macOS’s Finder just always felt fundamentally different than all of them.

The reason I keep talking about GUI file managers is because they are an unavoidable part of using a desktop operating system. No matter how advanced and filled with features they get, you cannot avoid interacting with their file managers. As such to me, liking the desktop operating system’s file manager is a sign that I’m at least okay with the rest of it.

The biggest irritation for me is the way macOS does window management. Functionality I thought were a given like snapping window to tile it to the right is something that is tedious to do on macOS. Command+Tab doesn’t seem to switch between all open windows of all applications but just applications themselves. Ugh.

It really is quite a shame that Apple Silicon and Apple laptop hardware in general is just so far ahead of anything in the world of Windows laptops right now. Otherwise, I would have just bought a Windows laptop and be rid of this problem entirely. For now I just keep hoping that something in my brain will click and I’ll start actually enjoying macOS.