Continuously opining, intermittently publishing.

OS X Lion Show Desktop

Posted by oshane | Leave a comment at the end of this post.

Here I am at the New Orleans Apple Store reminding myself why I downgraded from OS X Lion (10.7.1) to Snow Leopard (10.6.8). The upgrade to Lion changed the way that gestures work on trackpads. The worst change is that there is no longer an effective way to show the desktop.

In Snow Leopard, one could simply use four fingers and swipe upward to show the desktop. In Lion, the swipe requires a pinch and outward movement with three fingers and a thumb. Besides the fact that the swipe is hard to do, it doesn’t seem to work correctly every time. I end up trying to do the gesture over and over again until my hand hurts.

This makes for a bad notebook user experience, and I do not plan to upgrade to Lion until there is an effective workaround (F11—the key that will show desktop still works, but again, it’s not as convenient as using the 4-finger Snow Leopard gesture). This is crippling for notebook workflow, since the screen space is small enough that clearing the screen to see the desktop is almost a requirement for such workflow. It may not be as necessary on iMacs or Mac Pros, or if a notebook is hooked up to a larger screen, since one can more easily show part of the desktop (as a temporary space for playing Tower of Hanoi with files).

I think there may be some third-party software to handle the problem, but I don’t want to have to install a third-party application to make the Mac desktop UI worth using on a Mac where I have a trackpad instead of a mouse. The new gesture is positively terrible. I implore Apple to allow for a setting for Lion users to use all of Snow Leopard’s gestures.

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