A few years ago, when I was a college student and not working as a tech reporter, I never thought I would need a Mac, nor did I ever like Mac computers. But times have changed, and over time I developed a desire to try out different operating systems, which I never thought of.
I won’t lie. My growing appetite wasn’t the only reason I bought a Mac. I was getting bored with my Surface Laptop 2 and Windows, which led me to look elsewhere. So, I bought the base model of the Mac mini. I was hoping that after trying macOS, I would fall back in love with computers. And after using it for about five months, I can say that my expectations have been met, but not in the way I thought.
I label myself as a casual user, like most people. I use it to write articles for Nuveen, watch movies, listen to music when I’m bored, and browse the web. This is all very basic stuff, which is why I felt that switching to macOS wouldn’t make much of a difference to me, but to my surprise, it did make a huge difference.
After turning on my Mac, the first thing I did was play around with the Dock a bit because I love the magnification effect on mouse hover. But little did I know, I wouldn’t like it that much. Aside from how aesthetically pleasing it is, it lacks one basic functionality: app thumbnail preview.
When you hover over an app icon in the taskbar, you get a small preview of each active window, helping you decide which window you want to open. The app thumbnail preview is much more than that. For example, when I listen to Spotify, I’m used to using the play, pause, forward, and back buttons from this little thumbnail preview. It’s a lot easier this way versus how macOS does it. On a Mac, you’ll need to right-click on an app icon to bring up these basic control options (also in list view), which you should do if you want to do more than simple things. As for changing it. The current song that is playing. However, the missing app thumbnail preview was never a deal breaker for me. I wanted to explore how a Mac could improve my workflow and overall productivity.
Speaking of productivity, the copy and paste functionality is something I use extensively on a daily basis. But I always underestimated how big a positive role it played in my daily workflow until I started working on my Mac Mini. Apple made me appreciate how well my Surface Laptop 2, or any PC running Windows 10 or 11 for that matter, handles copy and paste. Clipboard history in Windows 10 and 11 is where you can find all your copied text, HTML, and images that are under 4MB in size. You can paste these copied items wherever you want. Windows saves them to the clipboard until you shut down your PC. In macOS Ventura or any previous version of the OS, you can only see the most recent text that you copied. Despite the hefty price tag, it’s a shame the Mac doesn’t offer a decent first-party clipboard management tool.
When I was considering buying a Mac, I was skeptical that Windows management could be better than what we have in Windows 11 in the form of “Snap Layout”. I was hoping that my Mac Mini would give me some surprises. In contrast, the overall Windows management experience on macOS disappointed me. My Mac Mini is connected to a 27-inch 4K LG monitor, and the purpose of buying the monitor was to get more screen real estate, which in turn would help with multitasking. macOS Ventura does not allow you to use more than two apps at the same time. I tried a few third-party applications, but the experience wasn’t even close to what Windows 11 offers.
Unlike copy and paste features, I’ve never underestimated how the free flow of information between devices can help users be more productive. Before buying a Mac Mini, my Galaxy S21 was connected to a Surface Laptop 2 via Microsoft’s “Phone Link”. You don’t need a Samsung phone for this. Any Android phone can work with Windows 11 or 10, provided your phone is running a supported version of Android. However, it is best to have a premium Galaxy phone to get the most out of “Phone Link”.
While macOS and the iPhone work very well together, I also strongly feel that Apple must also make the necessary compromises to let Microsoft offer the “PhoneLink” experience within the Apple ecosystem. Just as the world is embracing the idea of a common charger for all mobile devices, seamless sharing of information between devices should be platform agnostic.
I don’t have a nasty habit of bashing products because they don’t perform certain functions the way I’d like them to. Everything has an audience. I’m sure there are people who are equally or more dissatisfied after switching from Mac to Windows. For some, macOS hits the right bone, but I’m not part of that group because the aforementioned features are absolutely essential to me. However, macOS did one thing for me: now I love Windows more than ever, despite all its flaws!