Computerworld: 15 things Apple should change in Mac OS X

“In many ways, it’s easy to slam Windows XP and Vista: Just start counting security flaws or user experience nightmares. When you’re the Goliath of the operating system world, everyone wants to hurl stones. But what about the proverbial David, or in this case Apple Computer Inc.’s Mac OS X? Looking for flaws in Apple’s OS seems like picking on the little guy — until you remember that Apple is doing very well these days and has made much of its vaunted UI and seemingly secure OS underpinnings,” Scot Finnie and Ken Mingis write for Computerworld.

Finnie and Mingis write, “Even though it’s been out for more than 18 months now, Mac OS X 10.4, or Tiger, is a noticeably better operating system than XP or Vista. But it’s not perfect. OS X has its own quirks and flaws, little irritants made all the more irritating by the fact that they come out of Cupertino, which should know better. There are some things about the way it works that aren’t as flexible, usable or convenient as Windows.”

Finnie and Mingis write, “we’re focusing on 15 of the little things already in OS X that need refinement or rethinking based on our everyday use of Macs:”

15. No Date Display
14. Widgets Can’t Be Placed on the Desktop
13. Inconsistent Use of Context Menus
12. Documents and App Instances on the Dock
11. Managing Window Size
10. Accessing Applications
9. Backspace and Delete Keys
8. Printer Setup
7. Inconsistent User Interface
6. Laptop Screen Dimming
5. Managing Finder’s Columns View, Problem No. 1
4. Managing Finder’s Columns View, Problem No. 2
3. Managing Finder’s Columns View, Problem No. 3
2. Finder’s Hobbled Cut Command
1. Dynamic Finder Refresh

Finnie and Mingis write, “Some readers have already sounded off about their Macintosh pet peeves, and here are some of things they picked at:”

1. Over-protective Shutdown Error Trapping
2. Renaming Isn’t Easy
3. Secondary Mouse Button

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, there are third-party products and hacks that allow you to attack some of the issues mentioned above. What are your favorite solutions and/or other pet peeves about Mac OS X?


  1. 15. No Date Display

    Click on the time in the menu bar.

    11. Managing Window Size

    Much easier than Windoze, since we have the green “fit to content” in the upper-left of all windows.

    10. Accessing Applications

    Spotlight works well as a built-in application launcher.

    8. Printer Setup

    Compared to the Windoze printer set-up process? Pssh.

    7. Inconsistent User Interface

    WHAT?? Mac OS X uses system APIs throughout the finder and release them for developer use to maintain consistency.

    6. Laptop Screen Dimming

    My PowerBook’s screen dims and brightens with changes ambient light. Plus all Apple notebooks dim the screen brightness by default when running onbattery power.

    …and so on, and so on.

    Mac OS X isn’t perfect, but it’s the closest thing to computing nirvana that I’ve ever experienced. This list holds little credibility.

  2. The only thing that drives me nuts about OS X is that my applications keep crashing for no good reason.

    I’ll be browsing the intenet, playing a video or something and the application will just shut down!! There doesn’t seem to be a fix for this problem either…

    I would really like to see this one fixed!

  3. Zune,

    Brevity is the essence of wit. And you’ve been sarcastic for a long time now. Time for a change?

    As for OSX irritations:

    15. You CAN show the date and time in the menu bad, idiots
    10. Shift CMD A, people. Or just drag the app to the dock.
    9. What’s irritating about the backspace and delete keys? They do exactly what they’re supposed to do.

    #1 is the only one that really bugs me.

  4. 15. No Date Display
    – gee, sure is hard to click on the menubar clock.

    12. Document and App instances on the Dock.
    – this can be done.. what are they trying to say?

    10. Accessing Applications
    – huh? this is way more flexible than Windows.

    9. Backspace and [forward] Delete keys
    – this is a stupid PC thing anyway.

    6. Laptop Screen Dimming
    – how is that a feature of OS X? Do they want more software control over it? I fail to see how that would improve the OS.

    2. Finder’s Hobbled Cut Command
    – yes, this could be handy

    1. Dynamic Finder Refresh
    – do they mean windows should always show the latest? I think this is being fixed with the “new” Finder coming in Leopard. It’s going to blow everything away that we’ve seen.

    Those last 3 “knit-picks” are just stupid. More PC mentality being inflicted on OS X. Wouldn’t necessarily make it better.

  5. If that’s the best they can do (with most of the items being personal preferences and taste issues, not actual problems), I’d say that’s proof Mac OS X is an excellent OS. Just like the lame attempts a “proving” Mac OS X has security issues just proves how secure it really is (if that’s the best the hackers can do, Mac OS X must be pretty secure).

    [With Windows, you can fill up a list of 150 items with just the current malware exploits.]

  6. Widgets can be loaded onto the desktop…

    Open up Dashboard, and pop open the widget bar. Find a widget you want, hold down the mouse button, drag onto the dashboard screen (while holding the mouse button) and hit F12 (or whatever button you use to activate the Dashboard).


  7. a) Screen dimming is strictly optional – the defaults are just quite sensible, but you can configure it as you wish.

    b) Window resizing under OS X sucks, that much is true. Fit to content is nice, actually remembering the last window size is priceless, but the resize-at-every-border feature in Windows and other systems is simply superior in this regard.

    Jeremy: I’ll be browsing the intenet, playing a video or something and the application will just shut down!! There doesn’t seem to be a fix for this problem either… I would really like to see this one fixed!

    Probably a misconfiguration or simply a buggy application. I don’t know this kind of problem apart from one application I know is rather fragile.

  8. I am quite pleased that the Finder doesn’t retardedly treat entire files as “cut/paste” or “copy/paste” targets.

    That kind of retarded shit was what a well-designed GUI was supposed to avoid!

    Clueless Windblows sufferers wishing their archaic nonsense on the rest of the rest of us…

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