General Question

Vincentt's avatar

What do applications on OS X look like when maximised?

Asked by Vincentt (8074points) February 13th, 2008

It seems that every single screenshot of applications on Mac OS X display applications un-maximised. I understand why (maximised apps make the space around the dock look wasted) but I’d like to see what it looks like, so if anyone on OS X could post a screenshot, that’d be highly appreciated.

Also, if you use OS X, do you actually run your applications un-maximised?

(And yes, I’m asking a lot today)

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17 Answers

soundedfury's avatar

Maximized windows in OS X don’t take up the whole screen, they simple use the maximum amount of screen space needed for the content within then. So, it’s likely you’ve seen maximized windows in OS X, as they don’t look different than non-maximized windows.

Vincentt's avatar

Right, so what do they look like if their content takes up more space than available on the screen? Say, you’re browsing a Fluther question with a lot of answers where you’d need to scroll to read all. Or when you’ve got Photoshop open and you want maximum screen real estate for your image?

PS. Excuse me, I’ve hardly ever worked with Macs :)

Mulot's avatar

I’m now on Mac since almost two years and at first, when I saw friends on their macs with theses “non-maximized windows”, I didn’t understand why. Now I use a Mac, I HATE Maximized windows for usual usage (Mail, Safari, iTunes, Finder), but I appreciate maximized windows for development IDE like Eclipse or XCode.

The “auto maximized size” for Safari is really cool, as soundedfury said, the content is just wrap at the efficient size, which makes navigation very easy. Moreover, if you have an horizontal scroll bar, remember you can scroll with your track pad or your mighty mouse in every direction !

Then I can imagine that windows or linux user may be struck by the state of mind of un maximized windows, this is just an Mac user behavior I think.

cwilbur's avatar

“Maximized” isn’t a useful concept in Cocoa. The green + button in the window frame toggles the window between its current size and the largest useful size that the application thinks it can use, but there’s no “maximize” in the Windows sense of “take up the whole screen.”

soundedfury's avatar

For a window that has excess on the Y-axis it will simply fill the vertical down to the Dock. For a window that has excess along the X-axis it will fill the horizontal up to the point that the application believes is reasonable. It will not maximize in the strictest sense in most cases, merely opting to go to the largest useful canvas size.

teira's avatar

I’ve never really been able to understand why the PC users I know try to maximize every window they’re using. It just seems to take up all available screen real estate without putting useful content there, like the grey background of photoshop. I’ve just always made things as big as they need to be.

bob's avatar

Many power-users of OS X put the dock on the left or the right—not on the bottom. The vertical space is precious. The horizontal space is superfluous for many/most apps.

Right now, my browser window is vertically maximized but doesn’t go too far to the left or the right. My 15” screen has a native resolution of 1440×960—1440 pixels is much bigger than most web pages. (The 13” Macbook has a native resolution of 1280×800, which is a little closer to normal web page size, but still a bit wider than the average site.)

When I use Windows at school or work, the screen size is usually smaller (1024 px horizontally), so maximizing makes much more sense.

Some apps, like Photoshop, have floating tool bars. I don’t want my image to be behind those most of the time. But Photoshop has a real full-screen mode on the Mac, right? (I haven’t used Photoshop in a while, so… I could be wrong.) When I’m doing word processing, I usually have the window maximized vertically, but not horizontally. There isn’t much that I do which requires the full horizontal screen, and in those cases, specific apps (WriteRoom, Quicktime, DVD Player) provide full screen solutions.

sndfreQ's avatar

The only case that I find maximizing useful in my workflow is where I have use a Gateway 19” LCD as a second display for my MBP, and the display rotates 90 degrees vertical. I set the screen res to 900×1440, then utilize the added vertical space to display my outlook (Entourage) email app to display preview pane and mailbox one on top of the other stacked. Very little/no scrolling to read emails full screen, and no need to work in separate windows-works like a charm, and I display my calendar on my laptop’s display.

Vincentt's avatar

@johnpowell – thanks, that comes close to what I was looking for, if someone could post a screenshot like that from Leopard that would be perfect :)

@teira – well, being a “maximiser” myself, it’s not really that I want as much space for that particular window as possible, it’s more that I don’t want to be distracted by other windows or my desktop background.

phoenyx's avatar

I like to maximize certain apps, like my browser or IDE. However, I like to use multiple desktops (OS X and linux).

Vincentt's avatar

@phoenyx – absolutely, multiple desktops rock :)

ryanconsidine's avatar

To help minimize distraction from other applications, mac users use the “hide others” command, which makes all the windows of other applications disappear. (they aren’t closed, just hidden until switch to that application or choose “show all.”)

However your desktop may still be distracting.

richardhenry's avatar

This is Fluther in Safari having just clicked the green zoom button: http://img187.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture1vb6.png

As you can see, the application does not need to consume every single pixel of screen space in order to show you every possible inch of Fluther on my 15” MacBook Pro.

The ‘zoom’ button is so-called, because on the Mac the concept of maximisation is considered redundant, and it is more about taking up as much space as required and as possible, as opposed to simply filling up the entire screen.

chatnoir's avatar

I rarely maximize my windows. I like that I can see the desktop behind the application I am working with. Also, I may want to take an image from one application and click and drag it onto another open application. I have a 17” PowerBook G4 so I do have alot of real estate to use. A funny aside, really is that I get kind of claustrophobic when I can’t see the desktop behind the apps. I’ve never heard anyone else ever mention that, but it’s true for me.

rexpresso's avatar

Here’s my screenshot, and I take the opportunity to share GrabUp an awesome instant screenshot uploading tool — http://www.grabup.com/uploads/7ca232dd66607d0627bb803ce995971a.png

rexpresso's avatar

Oh and with Command+Alt+D, I can make the dock disappear, and I get this: http://www.grabup.com/uploads/cdeebc89936b64eaf98f5765a204c13b.png

I actually have total maximization like in Windows, because that’s how I like to use apps. I’ve installed an app for that, it’s called RightZoom. When I want normal behaviour basically I just resize the windows manually… it’s less of a hassle than the opposite — for me personally, of course.

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