Just bought my first Mac – an M1 Mac Mini

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So my Windows desktop mini PC needed replacing (currently running with an SSD and Windows 10), and I decided to get an M1 Mac Mini as the replacement. I already have a keyboard, mouse and monitor, so it kind of made sense. Given all the rave reviews, I figured why not…

Initial thoughts…

I hate Mac OS. I’ve used older Macs before and I find it incredibly frustrating compared to Windows. Here are two examples –

Why can’t application windows have their own menus? I mean, what kind of a dumb UI is that, to have the application menu detached from the window and placed at the top of the screen? In Windows, each window has its own menu, nice and easy.

Application switching is a real pain in Mac OS, especially if you have multiple instances of the same application running. You can’t even see the instances in the Dock unless they are minimised. And toggling an application by clicking on the icon in the dock doesn’t work like it does in the Windows task bar.

So far, for me as a power user, Windows is winning hands down.

I was hoping to be wowed by Mac OS, but I’m not. I’ll stick with it for now, but boy am I disappointed so far…

 

 

 

Comments (38)

38 responses to “Just bought my first Mac – an M1 Mac Mini”

  1. bkkcanuck

    "Why can’t application windows have their own menus? I mean, what kind of a dumb UI is that, to have the application menu detached from the window and placed at the top of the screen? In Windows, each window has its own menu, nice and easy."


    Going from Windows to macOS in 2007... it is just different... when I select something different, I don't expect it to be the same -- I learn how to do it the new way. I got use to it very quickly, and now, it is the way I prefer it... I always know where to find the menu -- at the top. If I have multiple windows, I don't waste space by having 3 menu bars for 3 windows... And now with Windows being completely confusing, some applications have a menu, some have the same functionality hidden elsewhere, some use ribbons -- it is a comical mess that I find much more confusing.


    Windows has multiple instances of an application running, I believe macOS has one 'instance' running with multiple windows (only one copy of executable code in memory). If you were a power user, I don't think you would really care about the dock vs taskbar as both are inefficient. To launch, cmd-space (Alfred even better), I actually set the dock to hidden and it only is displayed if I hit cmd-D to toggle it on. When it is on, if I want to see what windows are active -- I just right click it and it lists them.


    If you go to something and you want it to work the way of what you are leaving - you should not even bother leaving... it is stupid to even try -- since you are only setting yourself to be disappointed from the get-go.

  2. dftf

    After some Googling, I've found something to address your issue with the menubar: there is an app called "MenuEverywhere", which lets you add the app's menus to the window titlebar, or adds all of the menubar items into the right-click menu. So that should solve your issue.


    You can download it here

    binarybakery.com/menueverywhere.html

    • wp7mango

      Thanks, I'll take a look. It will probably fix this issue, but it doesn't address some of the other issues I have.


      To be fair, I shouldnt need to install this utility, but that's what many people say about any OS when they don't like how something works!!!

      • dftf

        What other issues remain?


        The only other one I can see, from your original-post and replies you've made, is the one about changing apps in the Dock. And "bhofer" already replied to you on that to say "you can right-click the app in the dock to see a list of open windows". That's only one extra-click compared to Windows, where you either have to hover-over a Taskbar app, then select the window to switch to ("Windows 7 style"); or you can switch instantly to a window if you use the "never combine Taskbar buttons" option ("Windows 95 style"). But remember, that last option has been removed in Windows 11, so the hover-over method is now the only way.

      • dftf

        I'll probably just advise you "try doing a Google search" as within just minutes I can find various apps to resolve your issues:


        "I want to hover-over a Dock icon to see open windows for an app, like on Windows"

        Solution: HyperDock (bahoom.com/hyperdock/) or ActiveDock (noteifyapp.com/activedock/)


        "I want the Dock to function similar-to a Windows 95 era Taskbar"

        Solution: uBar (brawersoftware.com/products/ubar)


        "I want the Snap functionallity that Microsoft added into Windows 11, where you hover-over the Maximise/Restore button"

        Solution: Magnet (apps.apple.com/app/id441258766)


        "I want a button at the left-hand side of the Dock that will act like a Start Menu"

        Solution: ActiveDock (noteifyapp.com/activedock)


        "I want to switch between all windows, similar-to how Alt + Tab works on Windows"

        Solution: Witch (manytricks.com/witch)


        "I want the Finder to list folders at the top of an A-Z sorted list, then files after, like File Explorer"

        Solution: in the Finder, go to Finder then Preferences... on the menubar. Go to the Advanced tab. You'll find the settings there to enable this behaviour.


        For anything else... why not try a Google search first?

        • dftf

          Also, kind of ironic you argue you shouldn't need to install any extra software on macOS to do these sort of things when the company you've just bought a computer from literally uses the line "there's an app for that" in its marketing! ;)

  3. digiguy

    Totally agree. I use both Windows and MacOS daily. And I have for years. But there are features that are clearly better on Windows. There are also things that are better on MacOS. But overall I consider Windows a better OS. Some MacOS quirks are just infuriating. If it was not for the integration with my iPads I would not use it that much if at all.

    But MacOS fanboys will always be there to say stop complaining, it's just different, learn workarounds, bla bla bla. Just like for the bad changes in Windows 11. People have the right to complain when things are worse. That does not mean everything is. And no, a workaround that take more time or is annoying for someone does not make the problem disappear....

    • bkkcanuck

      I just have not seen anything comparable on Windows with regards to workflow and automation... No app close to Keyboard Maestro, but that may be because there are limitations with Windows (it is the only reason why it has not been copied), and attempted Alfred clones are a pale imitation that implement a limited subset of of functionality (very limited) -- and not very polished. I would also prefer my default shell to be a UNIX shell. The windows font readability is much poorer on Windows (IMHO), too skinny. I am also not coming to it as a newbie either, I use Windows for the current job, and before 2007 I had used only Windows and UNIX (with a glancing use of using a Macbook for one app for one customer - their communication tool of preference was something called 'Common Knowledge' (before 1998) on macs (Mac OS 9 or before).

  4. spiceagent11

    But MacOS fanboys will always be there to say stop complaining, it's just different, learn workarounds, bla bla bla. Just like for the bad changes in Windows 11. 

    • bkkcanuck

      Windows 11 is the first time (at least in a long time) that Microsoft seems to be at least moving to work on their UI to make it more consistent and useable. When you make changes like that, early refactoring can lead to a loss of UI functionality, but that tends to be part of the process. I have nothing against Windows 11, I just have not loaded it on my Windows computer because the customer is not yet using it. I still however, prefer macOS as I feel that Apple still puts in more thought in UI consistency (personal preference), and the app developers are more dedicated to delivering apps with polished UIs (cultural thing). One of the same things that lead me to going with Macs at home (starting in 2007), still keeps me there... and that is at it's core it is a UNIX operating system with a polished (non-clunky) UI where I can use my UNIX shell and tools (not bolted on the side)... that just works. In addition, I just have not figured out a toolset that gives me the same control over managing and optimizing my workflow.

  5. wp7mango

    Thanks for the comments so far. Just to clarify a few things -


    I bought the Mac Mini to replace a Windows mini PC mainly because I wanted to try something different. This computer is for my non-work stuff. I still have my high spec Windows 2-in-1 hybrid laptop for all my work stuff. I'll keep the Mac Mini for now because I do wish to learn Mac OS properly. So whilst I am complaining, I'm not a quitter.


    The reason why I'm bitching is not because it's different. It's because for my workflow it's worse. I was expecting different, but I wasn't expecting worse. I often run two windows side by side, or 4 windows with one in each corner and the menu issue means I have to give focus to the window first before the menu becomes available. Space isn't an issue, but the extra mouse clicks and extra mouse movements are tiresome.


    I've also come to the conclusion that unless you are invested in the Apple ecosystem with an iPhone and ipad etc (which I'm not) , there is no benefit to having Mac OS over Windows.

    • dftf

      "I have to give focus to the window first before the menu becomes available."


      On Windows there is a feature where a window can gain focus just by you moving the pointer over it: have a look at the settings on the mac (I'd think it's Apple logo then "System Preferences") and look in any settings related to mouse, windows or accessibility, and see if it offers a similar option. That would then at-least eliminate an extra click.


      "[...] unless you are invested in the Apple ecosystem with an iPhone and iPad [...], there is no benefit to having Mac OS over Windows"


      Well, without rehashing debates over things like "FreeBSD vs NT" or "UI polish" or "the ethics and politics of both companies", then I'd at-least say that "it makes more-sense to buy a mac if you already have an iPhone or iPad, yes, as they are designed to work-together". If you're only going to buy a mac laptop or desktop, but use an Android phone and tablet, and a Samsung smart-watch, then it makes less-sense to go the route you have. It's fine, however, to purchase certain Apple products as standalone items, such as Apple TV or iPod, as they're less-integrated overall and can pretty-much be used as a standalone item, or run fine under Windows. (iPhone and iPad offer some unique features when paired with macOS, such as continuning a document you were editing instantly, but for the most-part can also be used without a mac).

    • bkkcanuck

      Well, you do not mention what your 'workflow' is - so I cannot comment. Different OSs, different strengths. I put a lot of effort into optimizing my workflow using things such as UNIX scripting, Keyboard Maestro, Alfred, Automator (and I guess I will have to soon learn Shortcuts). I had to train myself to think... how often do I do a series of things, how can I minimize mouse use... then instead of falling into a pattern of just doing the series of things and saying I will look at optimizing it in the future, put off that series of things and design a workflow that is more optimal beforehand. No OS is optimal for your workflow out of the box, you have to really work on optimizing it.

      • wp7mango

        I did give an example of my workflow, and it's more problematic when I'm using multiple instances of the same application.


        But in this instance, Windows works better for me, period. For me, Windows is more optimal out of the box for multi-tasking workflow than Mac OS. If I'm immersed in a single application, it makes no difference - both OSes work fine.

        • bkkcanuck

          Oh, that is what you call a workflow... I would not consider manually switching between windows using a mouse to be a workflow... I would probably just setup a keystroke to bring a window to front with a given window title -- so each instance was attached to a specific keystroke... or something like that.

          • wp7mango

            It's part of the workflow, not the full workflow. Regardless, it's tiresome having to access the menu if it's far from the application, and I frequently made mistakes by using the wrong menu because I hadn't changed the window focus first. It's just not intuitive for me when the menu is detached from the application window.

  6. dftf

    Man, this forum-post feels like something from the mid-2000s... same kind of complaints as back then!


    "Why can’t application windows have their own menus"

    Because they just don't on macOS, it's never been a thing there. Maybe there is some third-party software you could install that could put one above the app's top border or something. But then on Windows thesedays, most apps don't have a menu-bar either -- Edge, Paint, WordPad, File Explorer, Calculator, Mail, News, Weather, Photos and Groove Music all don't (at-least, not a traditional-style one, below the window-titlebar). Unless you live all-day in Notepad, which apps are you using that still do? Firefox is the only major one I can think-of, and even there it ships off-by-default. Office 2003 was the last version of Office where all apps still had old-style menus, too.


    "Application switching is a real pain in Mac OS"

    As I don't use a mac, so I cannot comment on how the Dock works. But can you not hold the Command button (the one that has an icon a bit like a stylistic pretzel) and press Tab to switch between apps, similar to Alt and Tab on Windows? Take a look at support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201236 and see if anything else there might help you.


    If you still really can't get on with macOS still, then using Parallels Desktop you can install the "Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview" version of Windows onto your M1 mac. Official instructions here: kb.parallels.com/125375 (though plenty of other step-by-step guides or YouTube video tutorials you could watch also)

  7. bhofer

    "Why can’t application windows have their own menus? I mean, what kind of a dumb UI is that, to have the application menu detached from the window and placed at the top of the screen? In Windows, each window has its own menu, nice and easy."


    I see this complaint often, but never understood why it's a big deal. I actually prefer it. It's at the top of the screen and is consistent with all apps, unlike in Windows. And since it's at the top, I can just throw my mouse up there...similar to how we (used to) throw our mouse into the lower-left corner for the Windows start button, or the upper-right corner for the 'X' button. In a similar vein, keyboard shortcuts are almost always the same across all apps. For example, Command+, will open the Preferences settings for that app. Because of this, I've learned to use quite a few keyboard shortcuts in macOS and don't use the menu much. Keyboard shortcuts never really caught on with me in Windows.


    "Application switching is a real pain in Mac OS, especially if you have multiple instances of the same application running. You can’t even see the instances in the Dock unless they are minimised. And toggling an application by clicking on the icon in the dock doesn’t work like it does in the Windows task bar."


    You can right-click the app in the dock to see a list of open windows for that application. Or as others have already mentioned, you can use keyboard shortcuts to switch between windows of the same application.


    I would say I'm a power user of both OSes. There are things Windows does better, and there are things macOS does better. It's just a matter of taking time to learn how to use it and be proficient. I think of it as learning another language...when I'm in macOS, things just feel natural and right; and when I'm using Windows, it also feels natural and right.

    • dftf

      I guess with regards the menu always being at the top there is an argument that in today's world of ultra high-res displays, having the menu at the top, compared to inside the window you're working in, means more travel to access the menu -- but obviously mitigating factors would be (1) whether high-DPI is being used, or not and (2) does the app being used on Windows actually still offer a menubar anyway? Most of the "modern" apps certainly now don't.

  8. christianwilson

    I'm not sure what you were expecting. macOS has never been a different looking Windows. Both OSes have a different approach to accomplishing the same thing. Power users of one OS can struggle when dropped into the other.


    You may find yourself getting adjusted to macOS, find workflows that work for you, and come to love it. Or maybe not. It's not for everyone. You may find it is better to live with the Windows platform you already know.


    I applaud you taking a leap and trying out a new OS, though. Exploration is fun.

  9. wright_is

    I switch back and forth multiple times a day between Windows and macOS (and I also have a Linux box on my desk).


    To be honest, I don't really notice the difference between menus on the windows and a menu at the top of the screen (and I use multiple windows all the time, I rarely go full screen - I have a 43" 4K display). The same with switching, being a power user, I rarely use the Dock or the Windows taskbar, I just alt+tab between them.


    It is different, but I don't find it disturbingly different or confusingly different. I bought my Mac mini in December and I was up and working without worrying about the UI after a couple of hours of getting used to it.


    I actually find Windows more confusing, because it is so inconsistent - especially when it comes to modern Settings and the Control Panel. Some things only work in Settings, some only in Control Panel and sometimes you start in one and have to finish it off in the other, or you get stuck at a certain point in Settings and give up and go back to the Control Panel.


    macOS is a lot more consistent, in that respect.

    • yaddamaster

      I'm in the same boat - move between Windows and Mac many, many times during the day. Yeah, there was a learning curve but it wasn't that bad. The hardest thing frankly wasn't window management - it was file management. Windows Explorer is simply much more powerful and intuitive (at least if you grew up in a Windows world).


      Window management in OSX is a paradigm shift. Your applications don't present as separate applications - you can actually have an application running - with no windows. It's just a different paradigm.


      Switching between applications is simple - command-tab. Switching between active windows within an application - command-tilda. It's made a bit more complex when you're running full screen (or desktop).


      The entire minimizing strategy in OSX makes zero sense to me. Maybe I haven't spent enough time with it but it's utterly baffling. But it doesn't really impact my day-to-day work.


      Installing\removing applications - piece of cake. It's how Windows should work.


      Changing application or system settings in OSX is simple - everything is under the apple logo + preferences. Windows settings are now all over the place as you stated. I cannot believe how long and convoluted the move away from control panel has been - and it hasn't improved the user experience at all. It's been a lot of work for no real added user benefit.


      I've been in the Microsoft ecosystem since Windows 2.0 and DOS. Heck, I remember playing with alternative DOS's. But Microsoft seems intent on letting Windows completely languish in mediocrity.


      I'll still keep using Office - it's the best and worth the minor yearly cost for me. Heck - it's less than Amazon Prime!


      But Windows......i'm no longer married to it. My next laptop may very well be a macbook. And the kicker is - Microsoft really doesn't care. As long as Azure grows and Office isn't cannabalized then they really don't care what happens with Windows.

    • navarac

      I have no experience of Macs, but the same could be said for the differences between Win10, Win11, and various Linux Distros. I found the change of GUI in Windows 11 to be awful compared to Windows 10, to the extent I have rejected using it.

  10. lwetzel

    I use all three (macOS, Linux, Windows 11). They all have pluses and minuses. I prefer Windows 11.

  11. simont

    I am a big fan of the new M1 hardware (at least on a laptop), not so much the OS. Mainly because of the muscle memory of using Windows since Win 3.11 - If necessary, I could learn to use it properly, just would take time and possibly some extra apps to get it the way I would like.


    But at least MacOS is consistent for all the apps, etc in regards to dark mode, system colours etc.

  12. waethorn

    The menu bar is a concept that comes from numerous Unix operating systems.

    • bkkcanuck

      Can you provide some proof of that? Apple Lisa was 1983, X (Window) system I think was 1984, Xerox PARC predated that - but I don't remember it having a Menu Bar at the top -- although the standard was to have buttons at the top instead of the bottom of the window. X (Window) was what most of the GUI ran atop of for UNIX. The Graphical UI for Mac idea came from PARC, but is quite different... (they also had a contract with PARC with regards to use of the ideas).... Windows copied Mac OS but tried to pretend it was different by making some minor changes to the overall look. (recycling bin instead of trash can, etc)

  13. lindhartsen

    Why can’t application windows have their own menus? This is simply the way macOS works. The flipside is that you always know what the basic menu will look like, and where it will be, cause it's that top part of the screen.


    Application switching is a real pain in Mac OS... Agreed. It's another adjustment, either long clicking the icon to get a menu that'll show all that are open (by title only unfortunately) or making use of Mission Control. My work machine is a Mac and without Mission Control, between using multiple virtual desktops and finding windows, I'd be far more frustrated.


    There's a learning curve for sure, and personal preference for one or the other, but give it a little more time?

  14. winner

    My suggestion is to use it for a while. You need some brain plasticity here. Unknowingly you are locked into the ways you are used to doing things. It takes time and a bit of an open mind to change.

    Having used both OS's, I can assure you that a lot of Windows is insanely designed as well. You just got this machine and you are already bitching about differences just because you are not used to them? Why did you get it at all if you weren't willing to give it some time?

    • dftf

      "Why did you get it at all if you weren't willing to give it some time?"


      Yeah, I think the same: the two things the OP says are issues -- the app's all sharing one centralised menubar, and switching between apps working differently -- are surely things they could have found-out by going into an Apple Store and testing one of the demo macs there? Seems mad to order one to only then find this stuff out!

    • wright_is

      Yes. I was lucky, I grew up when there was no standard computer, every one had its own operating system, usually a command line, and there were no standards, so I was continually switching back and forth, so it just grew with me, that I could swap from OS to OS without much thought.


      It is the same as driving. I spent 15 years driving pool cars and hire cars, every week a different car, often from a different manufacturer.


      You quickly learnt how to do something, you didn't learn the keystrokes or the button presses to do something, you learnt what you were doing and knew, when you switched, what you wanted to do and how the new OS worked, so you just adjusted.


      For a lot of younger people, who have only experienced one OS and don't know "what" they are doing, just "how" they are doing it - i.e. they known that they have to click here, press that, type that in and its done.

      • j5

        Actually, I woud argue young people today are growing up using more operating systems than we did back in the day. They've grown up using smartphones Android and iOS, Chrome books, Windows, and Macs at school and home. There are more coding and computer classes and clubs now than there ever have been, all the way down to elementary school. Mills and Gen Z take to using and figuring out a UI like ducks to water.

  15. ianbetteridge

    You know that if you're a Mac user moving to Windows, every one of your complaints would be reversed -- and equally valid? :)


    The issue isn't that one is "better" than the other: it's that user interface conventions need to be applied consistently on a platform. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case. For example: where is the menu bar on Teams, or Edge?

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