8 Mac OS X Annoyances (Yes, They Exist!) Resolved

Jackson Chung 03-12-2012

Mac computers are the very model of simplicity and usability. When you plug one in and try to do something, it just works.


There’s no need to mess around with anything. Everything is in it’s right place and works just as you would expect it to. Except when it doesn’t just work. Yes, you read that right. OS X come with those little quirks, those small annoyances, just like every other operating systems.

Whether the features introduced in Mac OS X Lion have you on edge, or you recently switched from Windows, sometimes you won’t find a setting where you’d expect it — or worse, you may not find it at all. Below are some of these issues, completely resolved!

1. Finding Downloaded Files

If you’re unable to find your downloaded files, open Finder and select the Go menu from your menu bar. Right away, you’ll see a shortcut to the Downloads folder. However, we can also put a shortcut in the sidebar of Finder for easier access. Select Go -> Home, and drag the Downloads folder onto the favorites section of your Finder sidebar.

mac os x annoyances

You may want your Downloads to be accessible through your Documents or Desktop folder. Rather than changing the default download location in every single web browser and download client, just create an alias (like a Windows shortcut) to your Downloads folder in these locations. Hold the Option and Command keys while dragging the Downloads folder to another location to create an alias.


2. Disable Autoloading Applications

Are you annoyed by an application starting unprompted during launch? Open System Preferences and go to the Users & Groups preferences pane. Select your account from the left hand side column, and go to Login Items. Listed here are all the applications that are set to start after logging into your computer.

os x annoyances

There are two ways to deal with annoying applications in this list. Check the box next to the application to automatically hide it from view. This allows the application to launch but won’t be displayed as a window after you log in. Alternatively, delete an application from this list to prevent it from starting.

3. Files Opening With the Wrong Application

Are your files not opening in your application of choice by default? There are two ways to fix that. First, right-click the file and select Open With -> Other. A Finder dialog will pop up, allowing you to select an application to open the file with. At the bottom of the dialog, tick off the checkbox “always open with” to use the selected application as the default choice for the file type.


os x annoyances

Alternatively, right-click the file and select Get Info, or press the Command + I to launch the info panel shown in the screenshot above. Here, you can select the application to open this type of file. Press the Change All button below to apply the change system-wide.

4. Not Enough Screen Real-Estate

Not enough room for all your applications? Your workflow feeling a bit cramped? Mac OS X comes with built-in support for multiple desktops, but it’s a feature that can be a bit hard to find on your own. You can view the open spaces in Mission Control, which can be opened by using three fingers to slide upward using the multi-touch interface, or by pressing Option and the upwards arrow.

os x annoyances


You can add a new single-application space by clicking the arrows icon in the top right corner of a supporting application. This opens the application full-screen in a space separate from your desktop.

To create more than one desktop (as in the screenshot above), open Mission Control and hover your mouse over the top right corner of the screen. Click the faded desktop icon that appears to create a new desktop space. Drag windows across different spaces by dragging them against screen borders, or using drag-and-drop in mission control.

5. Tap-To-Click & Reversed Scrolling

The biggest annoyance of any Windows user that tries to use my laptop is either the missing tap-to-click interface, or the reversed scrolling. Luckily, both can be adjusted in the preferences.

To enable tap-to-click, open System Preferences and go to the Trackpad preferences pane. In the first tab, Point & Click, toggle the first checkbox to enable or disable clicking by tapping the trackpad with one finger, as it works in more recent Windows versions.


Dragging with two fingers over your trackpad either scrolls by dragging the page with you – also called natural scrolling – or by dragging the scroll bar with you. You can toggle natural (reversed) scrolling in the second tab, Scroll & Zoom.

6. Auto Brightness Adjustments

Mac OS X uses your webcam to sample the lighting of the room you’re in and automatically adjust the brightness of your screen. Although this is one of my favorite features, I can imagine it being annoying if you’ve got inconsistent lighting.

os x annoying

To turn off the automatic screen brightness adjustments, open System Preferences and go to the Displays preferences pane. Select your computer screen and, under the Display tab, toggle the box below the brightness slider.

7. Applications Resuming After Restart

Some apps are able to resume their application state after being quit and reopened. This can be quite annoying if you want quit the application every once in a while to wipe the slate clean.

os x annoying

You can circumvent the process by quitting the application a different way. Open the application’s drop-down menu, and hold the Option key. The lowermost option will change from a standard Quit to “Quit and Close All Windows”.

8. System Resuming After Restart

Recent iterations of Mac OS X come with the ability to restore the state of your system after restarting your computer (or after a crash). This includes opening the same files and applications. Similar to the above, this can be annoying if you restarted your computer to clean up your overly populated desktop and free some memory.

mac os x annoyances

Using the Apple drop-down menu, select Restart. You can uncheck the box next to “Reopen windows when logging back in” if you want a clean restart. Just don’t forget to re-enable it if you want to take advantage of the resuming capabilities of Mac OS X under normal circumstances.

What are your main Mac OS X annoyances, and what did you do to solve it? Let us know in the comments section below the article!

Image credit: David Castillo Dominici /

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  1. MarriedAHerdOfYorkies
    May 24, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I find it annoying that the change user drop down menu on the right side of the menu bar doesn't include the log out command, which is at the bottom of the Apple menu on the left side.

  2. Daizy
    December 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I do agree with all points described in above article. I would like to suggest here, every Mac users should keep clean their Mac. Remove all system junks, caches, language files, duplicate files, universal binaries etc.. I prefer Stellar Drive ToolBox - a complete Mac optimization software, every module of this tool helps to keep your Mac healthy.

  3. Macwitty
    December 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Even if there are ways to make it less annoying

  4. Thomas
    December 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    What I missed from Windows is:

    1- Select a couple of files, rename one and the others get rename too with the same name and (number). How can I do that? Any app?

    2- Right click on an image, go to properties and being able to delete all the meta information. Now I have to use Photoshop or Smallimage for editing.

    3- Also it was hard to get use to the desktop icons on the right and the windows X - + on the left.

    • Simon Slangen
      December 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Thomas,

      1- Jeffry Thurana reviewed NameChanger. I think it does what you're looking for.

      2- You can change file permissions, but I'm afraid you'll have to use a third-party application to edit other file properties.

      • Thomas
        December 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm

        Thanks Simon! NameChanger works great! But it still a pain to use apps (this one or smallimage) to make small changes like these onces, hopefully it will be by default in futures OSX.

  5. Prashanth
    December 5, 2012 at 12:45 am

    My biggest Mac annoyance is this:
    I have two monitors, and I still have not seen a way to play a movie fullscreen on one monitor and work on the second monitor. When you make an app fullscreen, the second monitor cannot be used.
    Do you have a solution?

    I know we can maximise the window on the second screen, but it is not a solution, but a workaround. And it is still annoying. I want to watch the movie fullscreen.

    • Simon Slangen
      December 5, 2012 at 10:19 am

      Good point. I had the same issue you do. If you're using VLC, I have a solution for you.

      Go to VLC -> Preferences... -> Show All -> Interface -> Main interfaces -> macosx and UNCHECK the boxes next to
      - "Use the native fullscreen mode on OS X Lion" and
      - "Black screens in fullscreen".

      Hope that helps.

  6. Austen Gause
    December 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    The thing i really hate about mac is no mouse right click how do you game without right click? (unless you go buy a mouse for a non apple product)

    • Simon Slangen
      December 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Mac computers do have right-click functionality! :-)

      Double-tap on the trackpad, or you can just use a standard issue (PC) USB mouse.

  7. Dara
    December 4, 2012 at 2:18 am

    What about the ridiculous organisation of files? I had to trawl the web to find out how to organise them by type *and* name. And even then, it's not always consistent.

    Also, I live in Korea but English is my first language. I can't buy apps on the English language app store, so I have to search through the Korean one.

    On the same note, I haven't upgraded to Mountain Lion yet because the *paid* service of Apple trouble-shooters couldn't tell me whether the updated OS would be in English or Korean. And don't say there's a language option because I've used the Korean OS changed to English, and it's 70% English and 30% Korean at best. You have to continually change the language to English every time you open a new programme. Glitchy.

    It's my first Mac, and it has its pros and cons, but the frustrations are over-effing-whelming.

  8. Adam Campbell
    December 4, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Great article, thanks

  9. Anonymous
    December 4, 2012 at 1:42 am

    1. Remember to "Empty Trash" - there is no "SHIFT DELETE".
    2. Never fill up a disk completely- including /tmp files and "Cache" files. Your Mac will grind to a halt.
    3. Since not everyone on the net runs Mac, it would be not so annoying to have a choice about the kind of network you connect to, like Nautilus on Linux. You can connect to Windows shares, then all the Mac "iChat" and network is just in the way.

    4. MacBook: The charger chip is in the battery, so the capacity just decreases, there is no way to "work the battery back in shape" - it just degrades. Heat and cold can cause temporary degradation that can be reversed - not on a MacBook.

  10. Ahmed Baig
    December 4, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Great article!

  11. Tom Sobieski
    December 3, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    The lack of games
    The attitude of Apple users
    The cost of Apple hardware
    I could go on, and on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam

    • Adam Campbell
      December 4, 2012 at 2:11 am

      1. Just recently Steam and GOG have come to the mac also while your statement may have been true 6 or 7 years ago there has been an upsurge in the number of mac games on the market. Also if you feel so inclined you may install Windows on your mac to play whatever games you want to. But think about it, it's a computer, not a gaming machine...
      2. Your attitude isn't exactly a cup of sunshine
      3. You get what you pay for, Consumer Reports has consistently rated Apple as the best company in terms of repairs (or the lack thereof)
      4. I would love to see your full list...

      • Adam Campbell
        December 4, 2012 at 2:12 am

        Oh, and in case you didn't catch it, I have a mac

        • Alpesh
          December 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

          I love Mac. That is after using other PCs for 9 Years. I really feel Mac is an experience.

    • Austen Gause
      December 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm