The Comprehensive Guide To Mac Stage Manager

Stage Manager is perhaps the most notable new feature in macOS Ventura. Learn how to use it and all of the tips and tricks. While essentially just another way to multitask, it does have some nice advantages over just using multiple Desktop spaces or windows alone.



Update: Apple added the ability to create a keyboard shortcut to turn on and off Stage Manager. Go to System Settings, Keyboard, Keyboard Shortcuts (button), and look under Mission Control.

Comments: 23 Responses to “The Comprehensive Guide To Mac Stage Manager”

    Ken Taylor
    1 year ago

    Thanks for this Gary, it was really helpful to know what I should be seeing. Everything works as you show - apart from Safari. I am using Safari 16.1. With Stage Manager active Safari refuses to move to the side bar. It stays fixed whatever app I use - even in the finder. Can you think of a preference file I might delete (or other action) to put this right? Safari Technology works as expected.

    1 year ago

    Ken: Safari works just like any other app. Maybe you are looking at Safari in Full Screen mode? I'm not sure from your description what you are seeing. Maybe try a restart?

    Will
    1 year ago

    Thanks. Great video.

    Russ
    1 year ago

    In Settings > Desktop & Dock, Stage Manager is greyed out, Message says,"Stage Manager requires "Displays have separate Spaces", to be enabled. How do I enable it? Thanks!

    1 year ago

    Russ: It is just below in the same Desktop & Dock section, under Mission Control.

    Eric
    1 year ago

    I didn't see anything about the user being able to -- or not being able to -- save a stage manager configuration once they went through all the trouble to set it up. Or being able to preserve a stage manager configuration: for example, if an app is grouped with other apps into an app set within stage manager, if one of those apps is quit for whatever reason, stage manager "forgets" you had it grouped with the others. I'm guessing logout or shutdown wipes out all stage manager configurations.

    1 year ago

    Eric: There's really no "configuration." It is dynamic. It shows whatever apps are running and windows you have open. Logout and shutdown (why shut down??? why log out for that matter???) won't affect it unless you have your Mac set to quit all apps when you log out. But if you are asking about this, then I assume you don't have that option turned on anyway.

    Darren
    1 year ago

    @Ken Taylor I had this same problem with several apps. Turns out that Stage Manager is very particular about how it interacts with Spaces. Not just in the “Displays have separate spaces” setting, but also in that apps you’ve assigned to appear in All Desktops will not show up in the sidebar no matter what you do. You have to assign them to “None.” Tough to tell whether this is intended behavior or a bug, since Stage Manager is so confusingly implemented.

    Darren
    1 year ago

    @Ken Taylor I had this same problem with several apps. Turns out that Stage Manager is very particular about how it interacts with Spaces. Not just in the “Displays have separate spaces” setting, but also in that apps you’ve assigned to appear in All Spaces will not show up in the sidebar no matter what you do. You have to assign them to “None.”

    1 year ago

    Darren: I suppose that it makes sense that you can't use All Spaces with Stage Manager. Haven't played around with it though.

    Chris
    1 year ago

    'Windows Switcher Works Differently' chapter (7:09):

    When I use ⌘+`, the Stage Manager switches (most of the time) between various apps as you point out, but then once I cycle through to all apps in an App Set, I'm unable to continue switching as shown at 7:44. Wondering if anyone else has had this come up. Trying a restart in the meantime to see if this will resolve the issue.

    Paul Nielan
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary and Chris,

    Great video. I see the kind-of behavior Chris is talking about. Don't really understand Command-Backtick, but it's not behaving as Gary suggests i.

    1 year ago

    Paul: What are your Stage Manager "customize" settings in System Settings, Desktop & Dock? What windows do you have in the App Set you are trying the Command+` with?

    Paul Nielan
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary, I will take more careful notes and then document what you request in this thread. Thanks for your video. I learned quite a bit.

    Paul Nielan
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary. The simplest example is an "appSet" or "windowSet" with two Finder windows. Command-Backtick more than twice goes to limbo/statemate/no change. I have One at a Time set in Stage Manager. I think the Desktop might be considered as a Finder Destination for Command-Backtick and maybe it's getting "stuck" there. But the behaviour isn't continually cyclic as I would expect.

    1 year ago

    Paul: Finder is a special case. Yes, the Desktop is a "window" for it. So you get that in the sequence.

    Paul Nielan
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary: Agree Finder looks like a special case. And Finder is very special, there really is no sequence. You get stuck in limbo with Command-Backtick.

    Paul Nielan
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary: Another experiment. Only app is Safari. No other windows are open. Open 3-4 windows in Safari. They are all in the same "app/window set". Command-Backtick a few times. Eventually it locks up. You are in limbo. Further Command-Backticks do nother.

    Peter Fulton Foss
    1 year ago

    I am convinced that Apple has a special division whose sole function it is to confuse Mac users. They get something perfect, then along comes an "upgrade", and it drives us CRAZY.

    Stage Manager is absolutely worthless to me. I use F3 to see open windows. Ditto Free Form. By your own admission, it's not as good as some other apps (I tossed my notes so cannot give you specifics) I've had Macs for 20 years(!), and it gets more and more difficult with each upgrade.

    Doug Lee
    10 months ago

    I really enjoyed watching your video on Stage Manager (for the second time). Is there any way of saving "asset groups" so that you don't have to reconfigure the screen each time you turn the Mac on?

    Keep up the great work.

    10 months ago

    Doug: You can't save app sets. But if you need to reboot for some reason, things should return to as they were before. In System Settings, Desktop & Dock, do you maybe have Close Windows When Quitting An Application turned on? Also, when you do a restart or shut down for whatever reason, there is a checkbox for Reopen Windows When Logging Back in. Have that turned on or obviously you are restarting without any app windows open so you wouldn't see anything in Stage Manager. Also, note that restarting or shutting down your Mac usually isn't necessary. See https://macmost.com/a-beginners-guide-to-whether-to-shut-down-or-sleep-your-mac.html

    Rob Ritchie
    9 months ago

    Gary, I have tried Stage Manager previously but gave up. I am giving it another try having reviewed your 2 Ventura videos. I want to drag a file from Desktop into Finder. Impossible! Unless I am doing something wrong. I can achieve this only by switching off Stage Manager. I find on a Mac, the constant swapping of windows is so distracting and I will probably abandon SM again. I have tried on iPad and I think it works there for me. Have you thought about an iPad version of your SM video?

    9 months ago

    Rob: Sounds like Stage Manager is not for you. Dragging a file from your Desktop to a Finder window is just: drag it to the left side and let the Stage Manager App Sets appear. Continue to drag it over the App Set with the Finder window and wait for it to activate. Then complete the drag by moving it into the Finder window.

Comments Closed.