I’ve had a burning question since Apple announced Stage Manager for macOS Ventura: does it work for those of us with the Dock on the side of the screen? The answer is that it does a lot.
Stage Manager is the biggest visual change that arrived with Ventura. It’s designed to keep the desktop tidy by placing thumbnails of open apps on the side of the screen. Once you change focus to a new application window, other applications move to the Stage Manager, reducing desktop clutter.
By default, the Stage Manager is on the left side of the screen – exactly where I keep my Dock. With my Mac set up, I have a MacBook Pro laptop sitting right below my main screen, so it doesn’t make sense to have the Dock at the bottom of the main screen, getting in the way.
So what happens when your Dock is already where the Stage Manager wants it to be?
Dock and Stage Manager on both sides
When I upgraded to macOS Ventura, Stage Manager was disabled by default and my Dock remained on the left side of the screen.
When I enabled Stage Manager in the newly revamped System Settings menu (replacing System Preferences), I was given the option to place it on the right side. So now I have the Dock on the left and the Stage Manager on the right.
This certainly condenses the amount of screen workspace I have available, with the Dock and Stage Manager taking up the strips of screen down each side. That said, the Stage Manager floats out of view if I move a window into its territory, and the whole point of the Stage Manager is to let you work in a single window, not have windows scattered all over the desktop.
However, there are snags. First, when a file is saved to the desktop, the icon is placed below the Stage Manager, which can make it look like the file has just disappeared. You can click on the desktop to hide the Stage Manager, but this is not ideal.
Stage Manager also interferes with other Mac utilities I use, namely Yoink (which lets you drag and drop files into a desktop ‘drawer’) and Magnet (which helps snap windows to the side of the screen) , although there are solutions for both.
Does Stage Manager work?
I’m torn on the Stage Manager idea. I like the idea of less desktop clutter, but the constant back and forth between windows is grating. I’ll work on it for a week before deciding whether to kill it or not.
I’ve already disabled it on my iPad Pro, though. My iPad’s 11-inch screen is too small to accommodate Stage Manager, and it’s not difficult to move between open apps in the first place.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Stage Manager is going to become one of those features that is quietly removed from the back and photographed in later versions of macOS anyway…