The 6 Best Mac Window Management Tools
Managing multiple windows on your Mac is a cumbersome task. Since they tend to overlap, your display quickly gets cluttered you lose valuable workspace. Unfortunately, the built-in macOS window manager doesn’t offer many features to solve this problem.
“Mac window manager” is a name given to a group of Mac apps that let you organize and resize windows with built-in shortcuts, mouse clicks, and gestures. Here are some of the best window management apps for Mac to keep your desktop organized.
Magnet is a simple window manager app for Mac to organize and manage windows by snapping them to different positions on the screen. Window snapping with Magnet on a Mac is possible through drag-and-drop, keyboard shortcuts, and the menu bar.
This arrangement eliminates the need for app switching and offers better workspace efficiency no matter how many monitors you use. Read our guide for tips to make a multiple-monitor setup work.
To get started, drag your window to a particular position, or use customizable shortcuts. By dragging windows to the screen edges, the they arrange themselves into horizontal or vertical halves. And when you drag them to a corner, they occupy a quarter of the screen.
Magnet’s Top Features
- Snap windows to each of the four corners of your screen, and even restore them to their original position.
- Magnet supports up to six external displays with different orientations. With shortcuts, you can move windows between the screens.
- Maximize a window without losing access to the menu bar and Dock. This is useful when you want to access the menu bar all the time.
- Exclude apps that don’t work well with window snapping. For example, apps built with the Electron framework, which is buggy.
Download: Magnet ($7.99)
BetterSnapTool is a customizable window manager for Mac and probably the best alternative to Magnet. The app lets you instantly change the position and size of your windows by dragging them to the top, left, or right edges as well as the four corners of your desktop.
Just open the app menu and choose Change Window Position/Size. Alternatively, assign a shortcut to snap windows to your desired position. The options listed in the snap locations are customizable, so you can disable ones you’ll never use.
BetterSnapTool’s Top Features
- BetterSnapTool offers limitless resizing and snap area options. Just define a specific window size and a snap area.
- You can use Desktop Spaces and BetterSnapTool together. Just set the proper window edge delay between them to make it work. Otherwise, trying to snap the windows can result in switching to the next Space.
- Set resizing options for the window control buttons when you right-click or middle-click with a mouse. Go to BetterSnapTool > Preferences > Extras to configure it as you like.
- Move and resize inactive windows with a modifier key. Head to BetterSnapTool > Preferences > Extras to set the special key. Here’s a guide to remap your Mac’s function keys.
Download: BetterSnapTool ($2.99)
Having lots of open windows can be distracting, especially when you’re trying to focus on a particular task. HazeOver is a useful aid that highlights the active window and masks the ones in the background to reduce distractions. It puts you in control of configuring the hazing intensity and speed to your liking.
To begin, go to HazeOver > Preferences > General and rotate the wheel to tweak the dimming percentage. Alternatively, set up a hotkey and trackpad gesture to adjust the intensity in 20-percent increments.
HazeOver’s Top Features
- Configure the effect intensity from a soft, light dim to powerful black that will definitely reduce distractions.
- Choose whether you wish to highlight only one or all the open windows of an app. You can even tweak the dimness animation through the Advanced tab.
- Tweak the hazing intensity across multiple displays. You can highlight only the front windows or dim all the windows on any screen.
- Control the state and setting with the Shortcuts app for Mac. With a shortcut, you can enable HazeOver dimming and Do Not Disturb mode at once.
Download: HazeOver ($4.99, free trial available)
As you probably know, your windows can overlap with each other. But a window manager app can arrange and organize an app’s windows on your Mac into non-overlapping tiles. It does this by putting your apps side-by-side, in rows, or by arranging them using similar means.
Amethyst is a tiling window manager that automatically positions your windows according to one of its predefined layouts (see Amethyst’s GitHub page). You can move, focus, or cycle through app windows with the press of a hotkey.
For example, to enter the Tall layout, press Option + Shift + A. In this arrangement, the main window is on the left side while auxiliary windows stack vertically on the right.
Amethyst’s Top Features
- Amethyst supports a wide number of layouts: Tall, Wide, 3Column-Middle, Column, Full Screen with the help of shortcuts.
- Each layout lets you modify the window size (Option + Shift + L), cycle through the windows (Option + Shift + J), change window position, and more.
- With so many shortcuts, you can set up custom modifier keys to help you ease the learning curve.
- You can enable or disable layouts to control whether they appear in the cycle sequence.
Download: Amethyst (Free)
In day-to-day tasks, you might prefer having a specific window arrangement. But when you use too many apps, maintaining a consistent group of windows on the desktop becomes difficult. That’s where the Mosaic window manager can help.
It not only positions your windows, but also helps categorize them so you always have them within reach. To begin, grab your app window and drag it across the top, over any one of the sizing options. You can also define a hotkey to present a layout picker for any active app, if you prefer.
The Layouts tab provides you with complete control over all the possible layouts. Just use the configurable grid to define areas of the screen and set up a shortcut. You can even organize your layouts to suit the way you work through the Groups tab.
Mosaic’s Top Feature
- Create any number of layouts with a configurable grid and gutter. You can designate apps to their own Desktop Space without needing to swipe to it.
- Make a three-section configurable custom layout of apps. With layout groups, organize them further to suit specific workflows.
- On Macs with a Touch Bar, all layouts are available at your fingertips. You don’t have to remember any shortcuts or define a modifier key.
- The handy Mosaic Remote app makes all your layouts available on iOS. With a tap, you can switch between the layouts on your Mac.
Download: Mosaic ($30, free trial available)
Moom is a customizable macOS window manager to move and resize your application windows. To get started, hover the mouse over any green full-screen button and choose your desired size (be it half, one-third, or quarter) with a popup palette. You can also drag a window to an edge or corner of the screen.
After a few seconds, it will show a preview displaying the size and location of the dragged window. The app also lets you configure a hotkey to trigger the Moom logo.
Moom’s Top Features
- Press the Option key while hovering over the green icon and choose a preset to position and zoom your windows.
- Create and define custom controls through the Customs tab. Set up actions that will resize, move, and snap windows across multiple displays. This is great for anyone who wants to manage windows with a pre-defined template.
- Save a window layout as a Snapshot. Later on, you can easily activate that layout again and restore the windows to their original position.
- Chain custom controls together to perform complex window management operations with the press of a hotkey. For example, you can move a window onto another display, then expand it to full-screen.
Download: Moom ($10, free trial available)
Which Mac Window Manager Should You Choose?
Magnet and BetterSnapTool are excellent Mac window management apps with some overlapping attributes. However, BetterSnapTool offers many unique features, like custom snap areas, multiple ways to snap windows, and better integration with Desktop Spaces.
If you’re particular about having windows with a specific layout on a Desktop Space, we recommend you to use Moom. On an ultrawide monitor, you can save time on arranging and resizing windows.
And if you’re wondering why there’s a limit on a list of preset layouts, then choose Mosaic. With the help of layout creation tools, you can create your own layouts by painting an area on the grid.
Use Multiple Desktops With Mission Control
When you leave multiple windows as on-screen clutter, they affect your productivity and you’ll eventually waste time organizing them. The apps discussed above will help you regain control of unmanageable windows to save time.
With multiple desktop, you can assign windows to a particular space. Mac users should learn how to use Desktop Spaces and Mission Control to make full use of all the multitasking tools built into macOS.