Magnet

The ability to snap windows side-by-side has been one of my most missed features since switching from Microsoft Windows years ago. Fortunately, there have been quite a few apps over the years that have provided window snapping on the Mac.

One such app, HyperDock, has been my go-to app of sorts for managing windows on OS X. Another app, BetterSnapTool, is also popular among Mac users for window management.

But today, Sebastien made me aware of yet another window management tool. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first, because I’ve I didn’t see how anything could be much better than HyperDoc for my needs, but I stand corrected.

Magnet ($1.99) is a really good Mac App Store release that focuses solely on window management, and does a very good job. It has several key features that have made me seriously contemplate switching over to it full time. Watch our video review to see what I mean.

What it does

When you drag a window to the edge of the screen with Magnet installed, the window will auto-resize to fill a specific area of the screen. For example, if you drag an app to the left side of the screen, the app window will fill the entire left side of the display. However, if you drag the window to the upper-left side of the screen (in the corner) the app will only populate the upper-left quadrant of the display.

Focus

The fact that Magnet focuses on window management and nothing more is a big bonus. I know that developer, CrowdCafé, will be pouring its innovation into window management and window snapping, and it shows from this release.

Other apps are either too busy or lose focus on the goal at hand, but that probably won’t be the case with Magnet. Even its name suggests that window snapping will be its permanent bread and butter.

Multiple display support

This has always been an area of opportunity for other window management apps. When you have dual displays and try to drag a window to the corner or edge of a screen where another display exists, some apps refuse to allow you to snap, because they see it as one large display.

Magnet is smarter. Regardless of whether or not you have a secondary screen, Magnet can sense when you are at the edge of the display, and will prompt you to snap accordingly. This means that I can manage windows across a multiple monitor setup with relative ease.

Ignore windows

You can ignore certain windows by selecting them and clicking the Ignore option in Magnet’s menu bar. If there are certain windows that don’t play nice with snapping, or that you don’t wish to snap, using the ignore option is really handy.

Magnet menu bar app

Keyboard shortcuts and menu bar options

You don’t need to drag a window to the edge of the screen to snap it in a preferred location. You can simply highlight the windows and use the menu bar shortcut or keyboard shortcut to instantly snap the window in a specific location on your Mac.

Reasons to keep using HyperDock

As my go-to window management app of choice, it’s going to take a lot to convince me to switch from HyperDock. The ability to easily snap windows on a dual display setup is a huge feather in Magnet’s cap, but there are still a few things that HypeDock does better.

The biggest advantage for HyperDock is that it simply has more snapping options available. For example, with HyperDock, you can snap a window in the left middle quadrant of the display. You can’t do this with Magnet—yet. I say yet, because it’s probably only a matter of time before Magnet is updated with more snapping possibilities.

Conclusion

Magnet is a highly-focused app with plenty of features that provide you with a solid window management experience on OS X. It’s a great option for those of you who run a multiple monitor setup, and it’s very reasonable at only $1.99 on the Mac App Store.

What’s your go-to window management app of choice for OS X? Would you consider using Magnet? Sound off down below with your thoughts on the matter.

  • Byron C Mayes

    This app totally sneaked in under the radar. I bought Magnet last week after seeing it suddenly at the top of the “Paid” list in the Mac App Store. None of the major Mac outlets had even mentioned it, but there it was.

    It’s the epitome of intuitive. Worth every penny plus tax.

  • Joostiphone

    Now this is the kinda sh!t I like! Super useful and I was always wondering why OS X didn’t had a feature like this. Thanks for the demo!

  • James G

    BetterTouchTool > HyperDock > Magnet

    • jaysoncopes

      Amen preach it brother.

      Not sure why I would pay for anything that BatterTouchTool does 10x better anyways.

      • James G

        I appreciate what the Dev of Magnet is doing, but BTT does that and an incredibly larger amount more.

        BTT is like Activator for the Mac. Complete gesture control for Magic Mouse, Trackpad, keyboard shortcuts/commands and even Force Touch support. It’s an incredible tool for the crazy price of free.

    • Joostiphone

      Lol, thanks. Thats even better (and free).

  • M.

    I’m sticking with BetterTouchTool

    • philip Mills

      I have Cinch Thats not bad thats kind of the same

  • BloodDiamond

    Any advantage of this over BTT?

  • I’ll check it out.

  • cory church

    Bettersnaptool does all of that and more. Just saying.

    • jaysoncopes

      You mean BetterTouchTool?

      • cory church

        No. I have bettersnaptool. It’s awesome.

      • IKeepsit100

        i use bettersnap and it seems to respond slowly when trying to snap windows

  • Abdul

    Sorry people but was just wondering what does parallels do and is it similar to this.also which app would you recommend since I’m new to this windows side by side stuff. Thank you

  • Eikast

    I never knew that there was anything other than BetterSnapTool. I think that I’m okay for now. Thanks for the article Jeff.

  • brian.

    I use Hyperdock. It gives the added functionality of previewing windows in the dock and closing windows from the dock. It’s basically Aero for Mac. I don’t see this app having the functionality so I’ll stick to Hyperdock. Plus with Hyperdock, it is possible to snap windows with a bit of a work around. I use a main 1080p monitor with my MacBook Pro’s screen on. In Display settings they’re naturally offset. If you snap it to the corner where there isn’t that overlap, it will make the windows move side-by-side. Works well for me.

  • Martynet

    Hi Jeff, thanks for the review… I tried many windows managers and file managers and I ended up with Pathfinder. I love to have all the windows in one window and classic 2-view, side by side as we originally know from Norton Commander (if anyone remembers 🙂

  • Chris Cannon

    Thanks Jeff! I heard about this on the podcast and immediately set a reminder to download it when I got home. This is EXACTLY the app I’ve been waiting for! Like you, this was my most (I might even say only) missed feature from Windows!

  • With a name like Magnet, I expect this to make windows magnetic so they can be snapped together to form a group of windows that can be moved in sync… If that were the case I’d buy this in a heartbeat.