Microsoft fanboy for a decade

It all started when the first real Windows Phone came out in 2010. I was instantly thrilled. A nice minimalist interface. Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 and then Windows 10 — Finally one operating system for all under one roof! Nobody else could offer it that way. Sure, there is still Apple with its closed ecosystem, but running seperate sytems on all their devices is bad.

Microsoft Windows 10 Device Overview

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and 1

The Microsoft Surface is unique! I still have the first surface pro at home. When it comes to challenging current hardware it takes up loosely with current hardware and is highly appreciated as tablet and desktop.

The Surface Pro 1 we used a lot on the sofa, for surfing or even for quick notes and short drawing sessions. Then the Surface Pro 3 became my daily companion at work for years, I never needed a desktop. Everything happens with this small “tablet”. As you know I work with a lot of design tool and for all of that I use this small tablet. No problems here!

 

Microsoft Band 2

The Microsoft Volume 2 I worn from morning to night. I used it to track my jogging route, monitor the gadgets, track the tours and, of course, as a normal Smartwatch. The band was my steady supporter. Also the first Microsoft band I had. My mother is now using it for her sporting activities.

But as you know…they stopped producing Microsoft Bands and of course my bands came from the UK because it was never officially released in Germany.

 

Microsoft Lumia 650

I can say from my own experience that no manufacturer beat such good cameras in mobile phones as Microsoft and before Nokia with the Lumias. The Lumia 1020 was my first high-end smartphone. 41 Megapixels! Remember, it’s not an upcoming devices. I also had a Lumia 950 XL with 20 Megapixel for which I still have to find a worthy alternative.

Tech-YouTuber today still challenge smartphone cameras against the 950 cam. WTF? I replaced the Lumia 950 XL by a lumia 650 and with the remaining money I bought the GoPro. The phone costs around 130 €. On our outdoor-blog a lot of pictures were taken with the Lumia. The quality is stunning.

But as you know…Microsoft killed Windows Phone!

 

Microsoft XBOX ONE

After I had a lot of fun with premium games, I basically used it as a media center. Showing friends some photos? No problem!

 

Windows 10

Windows 10 runs on all devices. Stable and reliable. Small notifications let me know when my devices are charged or messages just flip. For my daily work routine I used mostly Microsoft programs like oneNote, oneDrive, the Fotos App and Office 365. Everything worked fine over all devices.

Cortana by the way is the greatest Virtual Assistent of all in my opinion.

The Switch

Long story but as you can see I always trusted in Microsoft. I Love the minimalistic look of Windows 10, I enjoyed using all these beautiful devices but…um…something went wrong over time. Again and again! All the futile trust and unfulfilled expectations makes me sad.

Short example: The Lumias had LivePhotos a long time before Apple released it on iOS. Did you know that? NO! The reason is a completely fail marketing in my opinion. Microsoft has the power and the money to change the world and is not in a position to praise a killer-feature like this? Apple makes a whole commercial for this little feature. OMG!

Second example: Why the hell iOS and Android get’s updates of Microsoft Apps faster than Windows Phone? Microsoft why you annoying your very strong fanbase that often?

From marketing fail to marketing fail and the lost of devices over time I didn’t feel comfortable anymore. Where was my ecosystem?

A realy complex research over month encouraged me. On the other side was Google and Apple. With Google would I need to use a Windows PC and rest Android stuff because ChromeBooks aren’t an option for a desktop replacement for now. Not what I wanted. So the only choice was Apple.

An other positive but incomprehensible thing is the „no loss of value“ on Apple products. You can sell your old Mac for not much less than you paid. Strange but cool for me.

Apple — Enter a religion

I always looked at Apple as a company making overpriced stuff for people needing status symbols. My experience was that a Windows device for the same price has more than twice of the power and was king in multitasking. I checkt „the dark side“ over and over again and always came back to Windows Jedi. But everything changed last year.

 

Windows vs MacOS

Over the time I often had contact but wasn’t that enthusiastic when using MacOS at work in my agency times. Ok…let’s check it out again. After a lot of tests in stores I finally bought a MacBook Pro 15″. What should I say? They got me with Sierra. I love this system and it feels like my ultimate working experience.

Overall I think you need one Month to feel completely at home on MacOS. This is not based on OS fails but rather, it is located on habits you had on Windows. In my opinion: Take it easy and leave the habits behind. See the switch as a new milestone in your tech-live. Think different and stay hungry.

Windows 10 Photoshop open
Desktop Apple MacBook Pro

Windows-Taskbar vs Menubar & Dock

The main difference is programs in MacOS do not have their own menu bar. Instead, MacOS has a fixed menu bar at the top, which always adapts to the active window. There are all known entries (file, edit, view, extras, etc.). In this bar you will find at the right side also the fixed info elements (battery charge, date, network status, etc.), which are known as Windows-Users from the taskbar.

MacOS does not have a classic Start menu. Instead you place the frequently used programs in the dock. The programs itself minimize to the program-icon in the dock or to a separate area in the dock, based on the option you choose. This dock can be placed at all sides of your display. In Factory setting it is set at the lower edge of your display.

However, some elements of the Windows Start menu, such as the shutdown options, are found in the permanent Apple menu, which is by default in the upper left corner.

Lastly, the MacOS close minimize and maximize buttons of every window are located at the top left, not the top right. The Close option also really closes the window. If you want to quit a program, select it explicitly in the menu bar or the dock.

 

Finder

Is mostly like your Explorer but has tab-support. Use different Finder-tabs in one window. And against the misconception: There is a way to cut out files within the Finder, too. Use CMD+C to copy the file and use CMD+ALT+V to cut it out and paste to this place.

 

Taskswitcher

The Taskswitcher on Mac only shows the programs while on Windows the window is shown itself. Interesting is that the Taskswitcher on Windows directly switch programs back into the foreground, also if they are minimized while they are hiding on Mac. You can only see in the Dock which application is active on MacOS.

Anyhow not necessary for my workflow. I always switch between apps via gestures.

Windows 10 Startmenu
Launchpad on MacBook

Startmenu vs Launchpad

On Windows everything is in the startmenu. Because of dock and Menubar on Mac, there is also an other solution for all the other programs. When the Dock is for your most used and open programs, the Launchpad contains everything else. To organize it you can create folders like on iOS.

Windows 10 Notification Center
Notification Center MacBook Pro

Notification Center

You can find the Notification Center on both systems. In my opinion the windows one is more useful in the stock version. It feels a little bit more like the center. Because some of the functions from the windows version you can find in the menubar, the MacOS Notification Center isn’t a burner.

But when it comes to third-party-tools it shines. Many Apps have their own widgets you can pin to the Notification Center. Also a small selection of stand-alone widgets is out there.

MacBook Pro Keyboard with Touch Bar

Keyboard Layout

Most of the known CTRL-commants now run over the CMD-key and the @-mark is reached via ALT-L, not ALT-Q. Some special characters are also different but nothing dramatic. Same here: Use it for one month and you will no longer notice it.

Touch Bar
This is MacBook Pro special for now but I must talk about it. I followed tons of reviews and all I heard was „Isn’t that helpful and not a pro feature.“ Really? What is the real benefit of function keys? In my opinion a Touch Bar with switching interface based on application is 1000 times more pro than useless function keys.

Windows Face ID vs TouchID
TouchID on MacOS is badly used and also rather sporadically. You can’t use it for your first login when reboot and, for example, I must once confirm the keychain with the TouchID and then again enter a password. On the other side Windows Face ID simply takes everything without password request after.

 

Gesture control

No matter whether switching between several desktops, the aside sweep of disturbing windows or even simple scrolling: Everything feels much smoother and more accurate than with Windows devices with gesture control. Go to a local store and check it out. You will feel the difference.

Especially with the big ForceTouch Trackpad on the MacBook Pro 2016+ it feels indescribable. I use it for all my work. No mouse or graphic tablet is needed for my workflow anymore.

You can have a similar experience on Windows with a Precission Touchpad.

2 fingers

  • scroll horizontally
  • swipe from the right edge of your trackpad: notification central

3 fingers

  • horizontal swipe between desktops/applications
  • swipe upwards: Mission Control
  • swipe downwards: App-Exposé

Tipp: Activate App-Exposé when you have problems with finding different windows of the same application.

4 fingers

  • thumb and three fingers shrink: Launchpad
  • thumb and three fingers enlarge: Desktop

You can also change these commands.

MacOS Spotlight

Spotlight

Use Spotlight to search things like apps, documents, pictures, and other files. You can open programs directly from the search, get web suggestions, use the calculator and much more. Press CMD+Spacebar and enter your search.

Spotlight is so useful that Microsoft will include a similar feature in Windows in the future. My work has fundamentally changed and, above all, accelerated.

 

Snapshots

I love the snapshot tool on MacOS. By pushing CMD+SHIFT+4 your screenshot will land on desktop. The combination CMD+CTL+SHIFT+4 let it appear to your clipboard for easy copy & paste. I love it!

If you plan to screenshot a video beware of the timeline on MacOS. When you start screenshooting on Windows the screen freezes at the starting-point of the process. 1 point for Microsoft. Also, the snipping tool on Windows is great for beginners since it offers an interface directly with settings.

 

Installing-Process

Something more acclimatization requires the way you install programs on MacOS. There are rarely classic installation routines. Instead, the programs usually come as .dmg files (disk image). As the name suggests, these are basically small virtual drives. By double-clicking them you open the drive and simply drag the program into the program folder. Uninstalling is done in a similar simple way by dragging the program onto the recycle bin.

 

Data-System

By default, Windows uses the NTFS file system (exFat on MacOS). Hard disks that are formatted with this file system can easily be connected and read, but not described under MacOS. So the only real problem could be for those who work a lot with external hard drives. With MacOS High Sierra Apple introduced the Apple File System (APFS) to every Mac with all‑flash internal storage, with an advanced architecture that brings a new level of security and responsiveness. In my case I had no problems because my workflow is 95% cloud-based.

 

Programs

In contrast to many other user-feedback that I found, I switched to MacOS because of programs. The time of missing programs in MacOS is over, when you ask me. Most of the stuff I use works on both systems. On the other hand I always find a better solution or especially in the design area you will find more and exclusive stuff for Mac.

Office 365
I read a lot of annoying news about Office 2011 for Mac. The horror is over! Office 365 works as good as on Windows and Microsoft bit by bit brings both — MacOS and Windows — on the same level when it comes to updates and UI. With 2018 Microsoft brought the Office 365 on both systems on the same code base.

Geforce Now Logo

Gaming

This is really a pro for Windows. But: You can find steam on Mac with a lot of supported games, there is the blizzard launcher with support for Mac (excluded Overwatch) and we have the brand new Nvidia GeForce NOW.

Nvidia GeForce NOW is a streaming service, something like a windows PC in the cloud. All you need is a good Internet connection. It’s still in beta but works fine for now.

 

Smartphone Integrations

For both Android and Windows Phone (yes I know it’s dead 😑) there is an App to manage your phone on a Mac. In this case we talk about a complete switch to the Apple ecosystem, so let’s skip this because iOS is also my new friend.

When it comes to iOS it is like the dream that never came true when I think back to Microsoft times. Starting with notifications and ending with calls accepting directly on and with your Mac, iOS is perfectly integrated and works butter smooth. Of course Windows and Windows Phone had some of these features, too. But not nearly as good.

And this is the point. Most of the things Apple implemented long time after the competitors were released later but work much better. “Sophisticated technology” is the magic word here!

 

Crashes

First of all: No system is crash-proof. My MacBook Pro only crashes 2-4 time a month. Apple, however, has a very nice way to deal with such errors and conceal their mistakes really outstanding. The crash you often recognize only on the emerging load bar and that you may log in again. Otherwise the crash remains hidden.

Overall crashes only feels nicer.

Microsoft Windows 10 Fluent Design System

Design

Some people love the Apple design language and some not. But the thing is: On MacOS it feels like one. Windows 10 is a mix out of new and old (or very old) interfaces that will remain like this for the next years. So I am happy in my new „not waiting“ world.

The Fluent Design System will be awesome. Can’t wait to see it completely in 2020.

 

Snap

Snap is one of the most important features on Windows for me. If you slide windows directly to the left or right side edge, the window snaps there using half of the screen width and you can arrange a very efficient multitasking setup. This is simply missing in MacOS. Fortunately that can be imitated with a third-party App like Magnet.

 

The regular close-button

On MacOS it is a little bit like “Russian Roulette”. Sometimes the App is minimised, sometimes it completely closes and sometimes the App stays in the Dock without any function but furthermore it is marked as open.

That doesn’t at all make sense…

 

Real fullscreen

On Windows you can easily maximize you window. On MacOS there is also an option to make it really fullscreen. The main top-bar disappears and the program itself from now on behaves like a virtual desktop when it comes to gestures. Swiping between different Apps with 3 fingers is awesome. For me the perfect way to work focused.

Based on your settings it also hide the Menubar and the Dock if you haven’t already activated it globally.

 

Little helpers

The Mac-AppStore is packed with endless helpful Apps plus you can find other cool programs in the web. One of my absolut favorites is CopyClip. This little App lives in your Menubar and saves different copy&paste steps for you. Copy three times and paste after. That’s epic.

 

Zoom files by pressing spacebar

The power feature. I love a clean and small interface. With the spacebar function I can have a deeper look on things only if needed and the rest of the time my screen is nice and tidy. Press the spacebar when an item is selected to zoom it. Awesome!

 

Use Windows on Mac

You switched to Mac and you still need Windows? Then you have two different option:

1. Bootcamp
Bootcamp is Apple’s official way to run on a second partition a full-fledged Windows system. Easy to install like all other Apple stuff to install. You only need your License Key for Windows. You should use this method if you plan to run heavy Windows programs like video edition tools or games.

2. Parallels
For fast switching between MacOS and Windows Parallels is your choice for smaller programs. Use Mac and Windows applications side-by-side (no restarting required). You can launch and access your Windows applications right from the Dock, and easily drag and drop and copy and paste between them.

Apple Macbook silver

This was the first part of my small report about the switch. Hope you enjoyed it. In the next sections we will talk about:

What is your opinion about it?

Have you had similar experiences?

Push it in the comments!

Device Photos @Apple, Windows Screenshots @Raiken, Windows 10 Overview @Microsoft. Some product links on this page are affiliate links, for which I get a small commission if you buy an article through this link. There are no additional costs for you. This helps me finance this blog.

Special thanks goes out to David who helps me out a lot with the Windows part and Myong for general feedback and help.

David Schulz

David Schulz

Art Direction, UX Design, Design Thinking

Myong-Jin Kwon

Myong-Jin Kwon

UX Design, Design Thinking, UX Strategy

Peonkun

Peonkun

Hey, my name is Chris, UI/UX & Print Designer. Keep in mind, I am a native German speaking guy.

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