Zero to Shipped

- Master Fullstack Development and finally ship a product

4 years ago

A better way to manage multiple monitors on macOS


The way that macOS handles a multi-monitor setup can make a grown man cry. But at least Apple included a Memoji that will match the correct color of your tears. Seriously. Using multiple monitors can be super glitchy and it never works the way you expect it to work.


Currently, I have 3 monitors plugged into a Mac Mini along with one capture card:




Some issues I'm facing every day:

  • Monitor not waking up
  • Monitors that are off are still displayed as active
  • Wrong resolution after wake up
  • Wrong position after wake up
  • HDR randomly turning on
  • Cannot assign a main display
  • Cannot enable/disable displays from the preferences panel?!?! WHAT?

Also, can the goddamn dock stay in one place, or be present on all monitors? No? After all these years? Alright.


Windows 10 does it better

Yup. Oh, how the turntables. Windows 10 handles multiple monitors way better, and everything works as expected out of the box. As much as I bash (heh) Windows for its shortcomings, some things are way better than macOS.


But hey. At least Apple is focusing on the really important things, like making sure that they support every set of earrings, piercings, and hair colors for their Memoji. Oh, you want a piercing inside of your left eye and you happen to have half-turquoise half-magenta hair color? Apple has your back! Jokes aside... They added face masks in the latest release! FINALLY!!! Who cares about improving the core features of an operating system that millions of people rely on for their professional work?


smh my head


But as always, there is a third-party solution for customizing and improving every single thing on macOS. It's like different companies created their desktop and mobile OS. iOS is completely closed and you cannot even move an icon wherever you want, while you can do customize the shit out of macOS. I really don't get it.


The solution

I've tried a bunch of apps for managing monitors and most of them were buggy. The one I ended up with is called SwitchResX and it works great (so far). It's $15 after the free trial, but it's totally worth it. You get a menubar app that is completely customizable, and it allows you to quickly switch resolution, color profile, display orientation, enable/disable displays etc.




It gets even better

The best feature of SwitchResX is the creation of Display Sets.



A Display Set is like a saved preset for multiple monitors. You choose which monitors are enabled, along with their resolution, position, etc. Then you can easily switch to the Display Set from the menu bar, you can assign a hotkey to it, or you can automatically switch to it based on which app is opened. This is super powerful!




This feature is so crucial to me because I'm switching my active monitors multiple times a day, based on the activity that I'm doing:


When I'm doing web development, I don't use the widescreen monitor. Also, I don't want the capture card to be active, because when you reach the edge of the screen the mouse goes to this "ghost" monitor and it's super infuriating.




When I'm streaming web development, I want everything to be active except for the widescreen monitor.




When I'm making music or editing videos I'm using only the widescreen monitor, and I don't need anything else to be active.




I was struggling with all of this before because I had to manually turn off monitors and doing this multiple times a day drove me bananas. The Display Sets feature of SwitchResX makes this super easy.


I love third-party macOS apps, but If you listen closely you can literally hear my impatience for Apple's bullshit shrinking by the day. I haven't tried macOS Big Sur yet but I honestly don't have hopes that these basic OS features are improved.


Until they are, I'll just keep using the quadruple facepalm Memoji every time they release a macOS update.


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