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Mac OS X Lion and Full Screen Mode

Martin D shares these thoughts on the Mac OS X Lion full screen mode:

I think the following can be safely stated as facts:

If an app supports full screen mode AND it lacks any sort of multi-window/multi-document interface, then it works in Lion's full screen mode okay. Examples include:
- iTunes
- iPhoto
- iPassword
- Contacts
- iCal
- iMovie

(I actually use both iTunes and 1Password in full screen mode quite happily, but that's it.)

If an app supports full screen mode BUT it has a multi-window/multi-document interface, then it is virtually UNUSABLE in Lion's full screen mode. Moreover, these apps are UNUSABLE in multiple spaces, even when not in full-screen mode. Examples include:
- Mail
- Terminal
- Safari (or ANY web browser)
- Preview
- Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign/Dreamweaver/etc.
- Xcode (the IDE works in full screen mode, but everything goes to hell if you're actually running code, which, of course, you are)

(I would argue it was a over-optimistic error on Apple's part to implement full screen mode on any of these apps.)

If an app has its own de facto full screen mode and no multi-window/multi-document interface, then it is usually usable in its own Space (virtual desktop). Examples:
- Lightroom

(only example I've found so far)

Whether an app is full screen or on a separate Space, a complicating factor is whether you're working with one or more other apps, such as copying/pasting between them. If all such apps are not on the same Space, all hell breaks loose.

I would also argue that even if CMD+` did cross Spaces to switch between different windows of an app, the result would still be unacceptable. It's too kinetic/distracting and inefficient to have entire desktops constantly flying around the screen.

MPG: I mostly agree here, except the part about window switching: full screen mode with applications like Safari could be eminently useful if cmd-~ would cycle between browser windows, which is what I do constantly without full screen mode today; I size the windows to fit the screen and it’s thus already very similar to how full-screen mode could work within a multi-window application. But that’s just not how it works with Spaces in OS X Lion, so it’s broken completely.

Not noted in Martin’s comments but very important for multi-screen users is that full screen mode is totally broken with a multiple display setup, so full screen mode is all but useless to me, no matter what the application.

Only a symptom

Full-screen mode and Spaces in OS X Lion are just two of the multitude of ill-conceived features that show Apple’s increasingly iPhone/iPad-centric view of the world: thou shalt run with one screen and one drive and one iPhone and one iPad (and thou shalt forget about files and file systems), taking your chances on chaos and confusion if you venture beyond vanilla.

Apple seemingly has lost all concern for professional users (why bother, with untold millions of iPhones and iPads being sold?). The Final Cut X fiasco showed the disregard for the huge investment in workflow of professional video users.

OS X Lion is a signal that a simplified mass market approach will get all the focus from here on out. One might legitimately wonder whether a new Mac Pro will appear at all— it’s no longer relevant from a business perspective.


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