Mac os x and windows differences
The majority of Macs these days feature displays with high resolutions and the interface takes advantage of that with little touches that wouldn't look as good on a lower-resolution display, such as elegant, thin typefaces and transparency effects. Some interface elements are semi-opaque, allowing a blurred-out version of whatever is behind the window to show through.
Other features include a Dark Mode that was introduced in Mojave shown above. Previously macOS only allowed you to darken the menu bar at the top of the screen as well as the drop down menus that appear from that, and the Dock. But as of Mojave you can overhaul the whole interface to use a darker, more muted colour scheme systemwide. Dark Mode makes the Mac interface a little more comfortable to use at night or in a dark editing studio, for example. There are also various design touches that make the most of a small display. For example, you can hide the Dock, or move it to the side, or hide the menus at the top of the screen.
In Yosemite Apple moved the traffic light buttons for close, minimise and full screen mode onto the same level so that the height of the window title bar could be cut. Several interface elements were flattened back in Yosemite.
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For example, previously the Dock had a 3D look, but now it's flat with transparency, and as a result looks simpler and more modern. In terms of design Windows 10 initially lacked the clean modern look of macOS, but since it was launched in it's had a design refresh - known as the Fluent Design System - bringing more animations, translucency and blurring elements known as Acrylic that are supposed to make it feel like the design elements of Windows seem like they are behaving like objects in the real-world would. The changes have brought new 3D elements, as well as more light, depth, motion, and the UI elements scale to remain usable across different devices.
Changes are being rolled out gradually, with changes coming with each twice-yearly update to the OS.
With one such change was minimise, maximise and close buttons are now incorporated into the window itself, perhaps in an effort to reduce the space taken up by these interface elements, as in the case of MacOS. A dark mode - or rather dark theme - arrived with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update back in The May update added to this with a new Light theme that brings a bit of sunshine to areas like the Start menu, taskbar, and notifications.
It means that users can now easily change their themes to suit their moods. Of course design isn't only about how the operating system looks, it's also the way you interface with the product. So we'll look at the differences between the user interfaces of MacOS and Windows 10 next. In some ways the interface you prefer is probably the one you are most familiar with. If you have been using a Mac for years you may feel lost on a PC, and vice versa.
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Back when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak invented the Macintosh they had a philosophy that the interface should be really intuitive. As a result the Mac interface has always been really simple to use, as well as being elegantly designed - like the Mac that runs it. You interface with your Mac mostly via the Dock, which can house shortcuts to your favourite apps and frequently accessed folders; the menu bar at the top of the screen; the Finder file browser; and Spotlight search.
There are other interface elements that you can use, such as Mission Control, for viewing everything you have open at a glance, and LaunchPad, which shows you all your apps. Say you want to open an app, you can either click on the icon in the Dock, search for it using Spotlight, open it via LaunchPad, or ask Siri, Apple's voice activated assistant to launch it.
Looking for a document you have been working on? Wondering if it's the file you were looking for. You don't need to open it, you can get a Quick Look by clicking on it and pressing the Space bar. One of our favourite features that arrived in Sierra was the ability to share your Desktop and Documents folders across multiple Macs. So if you were working on something and saved it on your Desktop on one Mac it would be accessible from the Desktop on another Mac you were signed in on. This is really useful if you work on more than one Mac - say one in the office and one at home.
Catalina adds even more compatibility by introducing shared folders to the Notes app. A new feature that arrived with Mojave is Desktop Stacks. With Desktop Stacks turned on things are grouped on your desktop according to type or date if you prefer. So if you take a screenshot it will automatically appear in a Stack that contains other screenshots.
If you tend to put everything on your Desktop this can significantly reduce the clutter while keeping the things you need to get to accessible. If you save everything to the desktop this in-built sorting and syncing is helpful, but you can also allow the app you are using to save it into a folder associated with that app. So if you open the Pages app Apple's word processor on any of your Apple devices you can easily access a document you have created in that app.
If you're really particular about your filing this might sound like it's not organised enough, but it is so easy to find things that you really don't need complicated filing systems to make it work. That said, if you really like to keep things in order you could assign a particular Tag when you save something to make filing and finding things really easy.
You can then create Smart Folders which include everything assigned with that Tag - and since files can have more than one Tag it can appear in more than one folder without being duplicated. Other differences in the way you interact with the Mac compared to the PC include the keyboard - with the Command key on the Mac essentially replicating the Control key on the PC. People will say that Macs have one button mice, but that's not strictly true - you can right click on a Mac mouse or trackpad.
But there are further differences to that method of interaction. For example, the TrackPad on a Mac laptop allows you to use various gestures to interact with the Mac. Sweeping fingers across, or using pinch to zoom, in a way reminiscent of the way you use an iPhone. In fact a few generations ago Apple switched the way that a mouse scrolls on its head, just to bring the Mac in to line with the iPhone interface.
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So now you push up with your mouse to move down the page. Once you get use to this it's logical, but it can really confuse you at first. Windows 10 has various trackpad gesture controls, but they pale in comparison to those on macOS. One cool new addition that is set to appear with Catalina is Screen Time, which is already a feature on iOS.
This monitors the time you spend on your Mac, producing reports that give you a deeper insight to your behaviour. It also gives you the ability to set limits on certain apps or sites if you think you're wasting too much time on them. Disclaimer: We don't use Windows everyday and therefore aren't as familiar with the interface as we are with MacOS. We will do our best to compare the way the Windows interface works with the way that the macOS interface works here with a little help from our colleagues on Tech Advisor.
This allows you to browse and open all the files you have stored on your PC. Quick Access is a useful feature that automatically populates with your frequently accessed folders and recent files, you can also automatically pin things to it to make it easy to find things. To get a similar effect in the Finder on the Mac you could add a file to the Favourites bar, but it isn't self populating in the same way as on Windows.
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As with the Finder on the Mac there is a Preview feature that lets you see an image or view a video without having to open it. The implementation of this isn't as neat as on the Mac though. It's a particular view that you have to choose in the File Explorer: Preview Pane. The Taskbar in Windows is the strip at the bottom of the screen that includes shortcuts to your favourite apps, the Start Menu, and Search. It's a little bit like the Dock on a Mac, and a little bit like the Mac menu bar. It takes up a lot less space than both, but we like having everything a click away.
It strikes us that everything is pretty much buried in this set up, but regular Windows users can use shortcuts to find and open apps or documents with ease. Windows 10 also uses Tiles. These are a little like shortcuts to elements of different apps. There is a Full Screen mode in Windows 10, just as there is in macOS, but Windows also adds the option to "Snap" up to four apps per screen, with each occupying a quarter.
When you've snapped an app you can also see a tab view of some of the remaining open apps so you can fill your entire screen. Windows 10 users can press Alt-Tab or Windows-Tab to see a thumbnail view of the apps that are running, or they can select the full-screen Task View from the taskbar which brings up an overview of the open apps, at which point they can use the mouse to select the app they want. Along with this Windows 10 users can use Task View to add desktops so that they can separate certain apps into, well, Spaces, like on the Mac.
These features of Task View sound very similar to Spaces and Expose, which have been on the Mac for years - Spaces was introduced in for example, and means that apps can be assigned to different desktops. A feature that arrived on Windows 10 in the autumn update was My People - where you can pin up to three contacts to your taskbar so you can stay in constant touch with them.
If you click on them you'll see two ways of contacting them - Skype and Mail. It reminds us a bit of the Friends feature on the Apple Watch which appeared in the first generation and is now long gone because nobody used it. Action Centre is Microsoft's answer to Notifications Centre. You can choose which apps can send notifications, and you can reply to things like text messages here just as on macOS. With this feature turned on you can stop all the visual and audio notifications that might distract you. Microsoft's Clipboard works across the cloud so that when you copy something it will be available on any of your Windows devices.
It's the same on macOS since that feature - Universal Clipboard - was introduced in Sierra back in We want this Apple!
Apple also made changes to screenshooting when it introduced Mojave in October With Mojave you can screenshot and then edit it, crop, rotate, or notate without opening any other app. Another feature that you'll find in both macOS and Windows 10 is the ability of the operating system to help you reclaim storage space. Similarly, Windows 10 has Storage Sense, which can delete junk and temporary files, and archive old files in the cloud. One change that arrived with the Fall Creators Update could be seen as Microsoft's answer to the way a Mac user's files are stored in iCloud and can be accessed and edited on all of our devices.
For example, prior to the autumn update, a synced copy of every file stored on One Drive would also exist on your computer - which could take up a lot of space. With Files on Demand, you can see a shortcut to your OneDrive-stored files alongside the files on your computer - those files no longer need to be stored on your PC.
You still have to download a file before you can edit it though. Nearby Sharing works in a similar way and arrived on Windows until May We're not sure what took Microsoft so long to be honest. One File Explorer feature in Windows 10 is a Quick Access area where you can see all the folders you browse most often, the files you have recently accessed, and folders you have 'pinned' there for ease of access. In the May update the search capabilities in Windows 10 increased so that now when you enter a term it will look across the entirety of your files rather than just the main sections.
Another way to access files and other collateral, is via Timeline, a new feature that arrived in the Spring Windows 10 update.