15 Things Apple Should Change in Mac OS X

Two of our top operating systems editors sound off

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1. Dynamic Finder Refresh. One of the best features about the Mac is that most changes you make take effect immediately and dynamically update all open windows. In many places in the operating system, you don't have to click "Save" or "OK" or reboot the computer for changes to take effect. The one place we've found that not to uniformly be the case is in the Finder, where changes you make (such as file renames) don't always dynamically update already open Windows. If at all possible, Apple should make the Finder dynamically update 100% of the time. But if the Mac's maker can't do that, it should bite the bullet and -- anathema though it may be -- add a Refresh option to the Finder.

Do you have your own list of Mac pet peeves, or do you want to take issue with ours? Share your thoughts on Computerworld's Sound Off forum: Mac OS X pet peeves.

Reader Peeves

Some readers have already sounded off about their Macintosh pet peeves, and here are some of things they picked at:

1. Over-protective Shutdown Error Trapping? When I shut down, I want to shut down. If I actively go through the process of choosing Shut Down or Restart, whether it be by selecting the option from the Apple menu or depressing a key combination, I want the system to shut down or reboot, not ask me if I'm sure. --Thom Reid

Editor's Note: Technically, the Mac will shut down or reboot without user input, but it waits two minutes to give users time to cancel in case they chose that action by mistake. Perhaps Apple could let users reduce the interval until shutdown -- 10 seconds seems a more useful wait time than two minutes for power users.

(For quick ways around this problem, see How to Make Mac OS X Better: Readers Show the Way.)

2. Renaming Isn't Easy. The process of renaming files is highly mouse-centric on the Mac. There's no F2 option (as there is on Windows) that lets you select the file and press F2 to expose the filename-editing mode. The mouse process requires very precisely timed mouse clicks. Anyone who has ever been forced to rename a long list of files under both Windows and Mac operating systems will likely agree that the Windows way is easier. --Michael Cullison

(Many readers wrote to say this is a nonissue. We agree. See How to Make Mac OS X Better: Readers Show the Way.)

3. Secondary Mouse Button. My number one pet peeve is that Macintosh notebook computers only have one mouse button. Yes, I know that the Mighty Mouse has two invisible buttons and that the most recent releases of OS X Tiger have enabled an optional two-finger tap on the trackpad as a secondary click. But for those of us used to a real second button on our mobile computers, this can be really annoying. --Joe McClellan

This article is an excerpt from Scot's Newsletter, published by permission. Scot Finnie is Computerworld's online editorial director, and Ken Mingis is Computerworld's online news and Mac editor.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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