How to Use Stage Manager in macOS Ventura

Window management has always been a little controversial on macOS. Some people like Mission Control in macOS, but others tend to favor how Windows manages applications on the desktop.

However, this year, Apple has a new approach to window management in macOS Ventura, and it’s called Stage Manager.

What Is Stage Manager?

Stage Manager is arguably one of the best new features in macOS Ventura. This feature lets you assort your windows in a clean, simplistic view while letting you focus on a single app with minimal distraction. Stage Manager does this while allowing you to switch between apps quickly. As you would expect, it also allows you to overlap windows, making it easy to view information from multiple applications.

The application you would like to use will be displayed in the center of your screen, while other open applications will move to the left. You can resize windows just like you could in previous macOS versions. Previously in macOS, if users didn’t want to use Mission Control to view and switch between applications, they would use third-party options for window management.

This new feature is also optional, so you don’t have to use it if you prefer your original desktop organization tool. However, macOS now has a built-in window manager for people who want to set up the perfect workspace on their computers. Not only is Stage Manager available on macOS Ventura, but it is also one of the biggest features in iPadOS 16.

How Stage Manager Can Be Useful

Stage Manager switching in macOS Ventura

Stage Manager can help you focus on a specific application and enhance your workflow if you frequently switch between applications. Instead of having to open and minimize windows over and over, you can use Stage Manager to switch between apps quickly.

In addition to the view itself, applications that display in Stage Manager update live. Therefore, you won’t always have to close windows and switch apps to see what’s new. Stage Manager does all of this without creating a more cluttered desktop. This is beneficial to Mac users, especially if you are someone who uses folders or uses Stacks to organize your desktop.

Furthermore, when you use a particular pair of applications, Stage Manager can automatically group those apps so that you can swap between other apps without losing your place. If you get into Stage Manager, you can customize the experience to improve your workflow by arranging applications the way you want.

Even if you intend to use this feature occasionally, you can easily enable or disable it in Control Center. If you’ve customized the Control Center on your Mac and don’t want to change it around, you can add Stage Manager to your menu bar for even quicker access.

All in all, Stage Manager is certainly worth a chance if you often use multiple applications on your Mac simultaneously and transfer information between apps frequently.

How to Use Stage Manager on Your Mac

macOS Ventura shown on multiple devices
Image Credit: Apple 

While it might seem confusing initially, using Stage Manager is simpler than you think once you understand its behaviors. If you have an open window when you enable Stage Manager, it will remain on the screen.

On the other hand, when you open another application, the current window on your screen will minimize and move to the side, similar to when you minimize a window to your dock. You can have up to six windows on the left side, which will be organized by recent use.

Pairing applications in Stage Manager is straightforward. You can drag a few applications from the left side to the center of your desktop to achieve this. Now, when you open a new application, the windows on your desktop will move to the side and be grouped together. Clicking the group will bring them forward, so you can pick up from where you left off.

App Windows on the Side in Stage Manager

If you want to clear your desktop of windows, there are two ways to do this that remain unchanged in macOS Ventura. You can clear your desktop by minimizing applications by clicking either the minus button in the window or using Command + M.

But what about the windows on the side of Stage Manager? You can clear that too by pressing Command + H when the application is on your desktop. And to bring the window back to the desktop, you need to click on the app icon in your dock.

Now that you know the basic functionality of Stage Manager, you can start thinking of some groups of applications that you want to keep on hand.

How to Enable Stage Manager in macOS Ventura

Now that you’re familiar with Stage Manager and its benefits, let’s walk through how to enable it on your Mac. There are two ways to enable Stage Manager in macOS Ventura. As mentioned before, the first way to enable it is through Control Center. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Click on the Control Center icon in the macOS menu bar.
  2. Click on Stage Manager.
  3. A window will appear, giving you a basic description of the feature and how to use it. Click Turn On Stage Manager.

Stage Manager Welcome Window in macOS

The second way to enable Stage Manager is through System Settings, which Apple redesigned in macOS Ventura. To enable it this way:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click Desktop & Dock.
  3. Scroll down and toggle on Stage Manager.

Stage Manager Settings in System Settings

In the settings menu, you also have the option to customize Stage Manager’s interface. You can choose to show items such as folders on your desktop as well as recent applications.

If you have recent applications enabled, the app windows will only appear if you move your mouse over the left of your screen, similar to how you view your dock when you hide it in macOS. Lastly, Stage Manager lets you show windows from an application either all at once or one at a time when you click on them.

Simplify Your Window Management With Stage Manager

Now you have a good understanding of what Stage Manager is and how to use it. Once you enable it, you can start organizing your application windows in a way that allows you to switch between individual and groups of apps quickly.

However, Stage Manager isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, so consider trying a few window management tools if you are unsure.

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