Utilizing screen space can be cumbersome and a barrier to productivity for some. Depending on your level of concern for smaller details, managing the sizes and positions of the windows on your screen can lead to debilitating manic episodes. No matter who you are, you could surely use a window manager to automatically snap windows into the perfect size and position in microseconds.
Magnet for Mac is one of many window managers that can be helpful for Mac users that need to see two or more apps at once to do their work. The app lives in the menu bar at the top right of your screen. Clicking on the Magnet logo will show the available window positions and the predefined keyboard shortcuts. The last window that was active will be resized and moved when any option is selected or a shortcut combo is pressed on the keyboard. You can even snap windows between different monitors.
The simplicity of the preferences makes it easy to use. It simply allows you to change the keyboard shortcuts, set it to launch at login, and “Snap windows by dragging”. This last feature is quite unique. With this enabled, you can grab any window, drag it around the edge of your screen, and different window placement options will appear as a dark gray overlay. When you find the position you want, simply let go and the window snaps into place.
Alternatives for Magnet for Mac
If it is two apps side-by-side that you need, then you may find the feature you need already included in your Mac (see “Split View” article here). However, Magnet and the alternatives that follow are currently offering window organization shortcuts that macOS does not have already included.
The first recommended alternatives to Magnet are Gridsutra ($4.99) and MaxSnap ($10). Both of these work almost exactly like Magnet does, with a simple menu bar item that shows you the predefined half-screen and quarter-screen position and sizes that can be set to a user-defined keyboard shortcut. MaxSnap also includes the third sized window options. Visually, you may find Gridsutra feels a little outdated or clunky, but for me it has always worked just fine. MaxSnap has more options for shortcuts and even setting up trackpad gestures to snap windows into place.
For a free alternative you can try Veeer. This will give similar position options for the half and quarter screen sizes, but the shortcut options are less customizable and can take some testing to figure out. One problem with Veeer occurs when moving windows into the bottom half of the screen and it fails to recognize the dock. This means the bottom part of your window will be behind the Mac’s dock which is more than a little annoying at times.
The most versatile window manager on the market has to be Mosaic Pro (£24.99) with completely customizable sizes, positions and shortcuts. This is the tool I have used most and enjoy being able to set a window in just the right position and size and ask Mosaic Pro to remember that. It is the only window manager that allows me to choose which monitor a preset window position will snap to. With many features comes a big learning curve. There are a number of resources to help you learn how it works, but even I have only scratched the surface of what the app can do.
The long running favorite of our users would have to be Moom ($10). It allows for almost all of the same customization options of the apps mentioned so far, including custom sizes and positions, but there is a bit of a learning curve. For any app that you choose, stick with it and you will find the interface and shortcuts start to become second nature. If you can find a windows manager that works for you then you will soon find that you can’t work without it.
How to Install Magnet on Mac?
Magnet is available through the Mac App Store. If you find it on MacUpdate then you will be directed to the App Store to purchase the app. There is no trial available so purchase is necessary to be able to install it. Once purchased you will see the option in the App Store to “Install” and it will be automatically installed into your Applications folder.
To use Magnet and any other window manager, you will need to give the app permission to control your computer in the Security & Privacy area of your System Preferences. When there, you will find a “Privacy” tab and an “Accessibility” option. You will need to go to this option and find the app you want to allow to move your windows for you. Fortunately, most of the apps will prompt you to do this the first time you try to use the app. When this happens you will be taken directly to this specific section of your settings.
If the check boxes in this area are gray and not clickable then you will need to “unlock” this section with your administrator password. Simple click the lock icon on the bottom left and you will be prompted to enter the password. After this you will be allowed to change the settings here.
Once installed and given permission to control your windows you will find that you never need to be bothered with tedium of grabbing all the edges of your windows and messing around for 5 minutes before you can work. You will soon find that using window managers is essential to working efficiently on your Mac.