Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mac OSX Lion & Multiple Monitors

The good news: I got a shiny, new Mac Mini as my new main desktop, which is great for the reduced-office-space in the London apartment.

The bad news: I use dual-monitors and Apple really dropped the ball on multi-monitor support!!

Here are some examples.
The new Mission Control works great on a single-monitor system, but completely falls apart on dual-monitors. For starters, both monitors slide together; so if you're on "Desktop 2" on monitor 1 then you're on "Desktop 2" on monitor 2. I can't imagine many people who dual-monitor want this!
Most people (or at least ME) use one monitor for whatever they're working on, and then have browser, email, and Skype (or some similar variation of that) open on the 2nd monitor all the time.

Especially as a web designer, I want Dreamweaver open on Screen 1 and the browser(s) open on screen2. Then I can look back and forth quickly. But I probably also have PhotoShop open on screen1 (on a different 'desktop' to keep things orderly), and when I slide over to it, I DO NOT WANT TO SLIDE OVER TO AN EMPTY SCREEN on screen2!!!

You can work around this by setting your monitor2 apps to show on all desktops, but that breaks whenever you bring the app over to the main screen. Which I do quite often for Skype video calls, opening a 2nd browser window, etc. Also gets really confusing if you slide another random app over to the 2nd monitor and it gets lost in the shuffle.

Why, oh why, oh why can't the two monitors be controlled separately? So I can view desktop1 on screen1 and desktop3 on screen2 simultaneously! Even just a "Lock this desktop to this screen" option would probably be good enough--because I really only need 1 desktop for Monitor2.

Furthermore; full-screen mode completely breaks the 2nd monitor. It just blanks the screen completely. AND YOU CAN'T EVEN OPEN AN APP FULL SCREEN ON MONITOR2!! Slide an app over to monitor2 and click full-screen and it slides itself back to monitor1 and hides whatever else you had showing on monitor2.

HEY GENIUSES, there is more to getting your work done than aesthetics! Some people (me) have different orientations for their different monitors! My 2nd monitor is rotated 90* into portrait mode. Documents and graphics that are, you know, tall and stuff, work better on a monitor in portrait mode. It would be nice to edit them full-screen on a monitor that fits the content better.

Ok, that's it. Everything else about Lion rocks, but your dual-monitor support sucks. Fix please.
(This is written for OSX 10.7.1. Hopefully my comments will be obsolete soon...)