Why Macs are Shit

I’ve been using computers since I was about six years old. My first was an Amiga 500+. I had a lot of fun on that machine, dying on Wing Commander than having to insert a new floppy disk in order to witness my own casket being blasted out into space as part of a futuristic funerary rite.

When PCs came along, they were great. I actually had to type stuff for anything to happen. On Windows 3.1, I remember using a combination of Windows Resource Toolkit and LView Pro to change all the backs of the Solitaire cards to images of Pamela Anderson’s vagina.

When Windows 95 came along, this was the turning point whereby anyone with an IQ lower than 110 could suddenly use computers. That was a bad idea, since making things easier for people necessarily lowers intelligence in the long run (just look at socialism as a prime example). The good news was that CD writers still cost about £300 each so, as the only middle-class kid at my school, and therefore the only person whose family could afford both a CD writer and a 56K modem, I was the only one who could download and distribute hardcore pornography — for a price.

In a short space of time, I became a PC “power user” — more time was spent on the keyboard than the mouse, as Windows has intuitive shortcut keys for practically every action imaginable. Using a PC was more akin to playing an instrument than operating a computer. Symphonies could be written and art practically built itself.

When I seriously asked “those in the know” (derision implied) why Macs were better, I tended to receive the following kinds of answers:

  • “Macs are more stable”
  • “Macs don’t crash”
  • “Macs can’t get viruses”
  • “Macs are better for design”

Knowing the first three were utter shite (no computer is particularly stable or resilient to viruses), I was nevertheless still intrigued by this idea that Macs were somehow better for design — yet nobody could tell me specifically why. I had been designing both graphics and websites very well on PCs up to that date and could not really see how some other computer, a Mac, could do a better job than the one I was already doing.

About two months ago I got a job as a web and graphic designer at a company where I have to use a Mac.

It is now two months in and, if things were going to get better, they already would have. I am a fast learner and one thing I can do above all else is create systems of efficiency in the use of devices. The fact that things have barely got better at all — and, in real terms, that my work rate has suffered significantly — suggests to me that Macs may have some real fundamental problems.

The first thing is the file system. You navigate around a Mac using an interface called “Finder”. Finder is bizarre. There are so many basic problems with Finder that I would have to sit here for an hour using it in order to begin documenting them, but I’d rather blow my own brains out. So here instead is a short list off the top of my head:

  • When a file is selected, hitting the Enter key does not open it — it renames it. Yes, you read that right. It renames it. To open the file, you have to hit Command+O. Remember, I am a power user. I expect things to work intuitively. Everything about a Mac seems to be my idea of intuitiveness, inverted.
  • You can copy a folder (Command+C) then paste it elsewhere (Command+V). Howevere, there is no “cut”, so you have to go back and delete the original once the copy is complete.
  • If you have a window open in List view and are a few folders deep, then copy a file by hitting Command+C, Command+V, it will copy the new file to the top of the tree — i.e. not the folder you are currently working in. Example: Let’s say you are in List view and you have the following file selected: “Hard drive > lemonparty.org > old man 1 pics > enhanced genital view > erection-experimental-pixel-enhance1.jpg” and you hit Command+C, Command+V to duplicate it. Instead of duplicating in the folder the source file is in, it would put the new copy at the top of the tree (e.g. Hard drive). To get around this, you would have to right-click the source file and select Duplicate — which has no fucking shortcut key.

There are just some of the basic fuck-ups of Finder. I can quite honestly say that 90% of my most simple expectations when it comes to functionality in Finder are not implemented. Not only are they not implemented, but something bizarre will tend to happen instead.

Now, on to some other points about the Mac interface:

  • The screen is huge but gets cluttered easily. On Windows 7+, you can dock a window by dragging it to the far side of the monitor, where it will resize and stick. It’s a beautiful feature. On a Mac, you have to carefully put stuff where you think you might not end up shoving something on top of it later — which you almost certainly will. The result of using a Mac is that the screen could be the size of a football field but you’d still find a way to turn it into a Mongolian clusterfuck within a few minutes.
  • The windows system sucks. Let’s say I have a Chrome window open with 7 tabs, and another Chrome window open with 3 tabs. On a PC, you just Alt+Tab to the correct Chrome icon and find the window you want. On Mac, there is just one Chrome icon in the list. You land on that, then have to hit Command+~ to cycle through the Chrome windows. Everything on this operating system is geared for waste. If something takes 2 hot keys on Windows, it takes between 4 and 8 on a Mac. That’s the God’s honest truth. If you aren’t aware of this waste, you’re not a power user. And you probably think Macs are good, because you don’t have what it takes to be fast and efficient with your device.
  • Files get inexplicably locked. Want to delete something? “File X is still open” (even though it’s not). Sometimes only a reboot will fix that. At least on later versions of Windows the program using that file would be reported to you so you could deal with it.

Now let’s talk about Mac programs:

  • Received 8 file attachments in one email on Mac Outlook 10? Just select them all then drag them into a Finder window to save them, right? Wrong. Despite all files being selected in Outlook, mouse-dragging them will only actually drag the first file the mouse cursor is placed on. This is just one of those things that makes you think, Nothing works on Mac. Nothing works. You have to drag them all individually or do a Save All. If you do a Save All, finding your way through your computer’s directory structure is a massive nightmare — something I should have covered in the Finder section of this rant. On a PC, you can click onto the target window, copy the path from the address bar, then paste that into the save screen of the program whose files you are saving. You can’t do this with Mac. You have to manually click through shit to find your target save location. Nothing works.
  • Adobe Creative Suite seems to have been developed on a PC. If you look at each tool in the various programs, they have hotkeys written next to them. For example, in Photoshop, to get the canvas back to 100% size, you just have to press Ctrl+0. On the Mac, the advertised shortcut key for the same feature is just the “n” key. No. That doesn’t work. Instead you have to double-click the zoom tool. Then you are on the zoom tool and need to click back to the tool you actually wanted to use. Three steps instead of one. Nothing works. This is highly typical of Macs.
  • To take a screenshot on a PC, guess what the key is? You won’t believe it. 🙂 Man, it’s complex. Are you ready for this? Oh god, here it is: PrintScreen.
    Do you know what the same function is on a Mac? Oh, it’s a piece of a cake. You barely need to remember it at all. It’s just: Command + Ctrl + Shift + 3. That’s all there is to it! What were you worried about? Macs are so simple to use, didn’t you know!

This is just a handful, the first tranche of bullshit I could think of off the top of my head, which makes using Macs some sort of slow Sisyphean task.

Now let’s talk Mac OSX updates:

  • They release these quite frequently and you just click a button to install them. The latest one I believe is called El Capitan or something else “wacky”. The previous was called Yosemite. My colleague, a graphic designer, upgraded to El Capitan (since it hounds you to do so). It fucked up InDesign completely. The operating system itself absolutely destroyed a previously stable program. IT had to come down and reformat his machine and put it back to Yosemite. Thanks Mac, you’re so stable and robust! What would we do without you?

Let’s talk hardware:

  • Some paedophile provided myself and the other designers with the ultracondensed “elite” Mac keyboards. These things are about 8 inches wide and 4 inches high. They are also wireless, meaning they connect to other people’s machines unintentionally from time to time, because Mac’s philosophy is that “if it’s new, it’s better, even it’s a step back into the Dark Ages”. The batteries on these things last a couple of weeks and we have wall racks of chargers priming up new batteries for these colossal wastes of time. That’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is that these ultra-compact keyboard things that look like Michael J. Fox should be skating on them in Back to the Future 2 only have about 3 buttons on them apiece. There’s no Page Up or Page Down. There isn’t even a Delete key. To press Delete, you have to hold down the function button (“Fn”) while pressing Backspace. Archetypal new technology: One step forward (it looks cool, if you’re impressed by things getting smaller and more difficult to hold); two steps back (you literally have to press two keys in order to commit the same function of just one key on the previous model). These things remind me of iPhone keypads: you try and text, and no matter how carefully you press the buttons you still end up writing “siiiiihmsd” then relying on autocorrect to change it to “I want to rape you”.

I am now two months in to using a Mac on this job and, if things were going to have improved, they would have by now. Instead, progress has been minimal. For your average humanoid, this would not be surprising. They’d be loving their “cool, new Mac! Look how sleek it is!” However, this is coming from someone who can play the Sonata Pathétique (1st movement) from memory. Learning, efficiency, efficacy and flair are my calling cards. My conclusion is that Macs are shit — and that anyone who claims otherwise is simply not very good at using computers anyway. After all, this is humanity, and the bar is low.

To round it off, here is a video expressing some of my views on Macs:

And I will reiterate the key message of this post:

If someone thinks Macs are better than PCs, it’s because they aren’t very good at computers anyway.

Like politics, I believe you need to have reached a certain level of skill, maturity, understanding, and cognitive capacity before you are even allowed an opinion on whether X is better than Y. Until then, you can talk, but it’s best for everyone if you understand on some level that you’re talking crap.

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21 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    Apple are masters at marketing. It really is extraordinary, how customers are prepared to pay so much for such over hyped equipment. Several years ago, the new iPhone had a design fault. Holding the phone in the normal fashion, prevented the phone picking up a signal. Apple quickly came up with a fix, which they charged for!!!!! For most home use I’d rather use a Chromebook. Likewise I’ve always stuck with PC’s.

  2. Vick says:

    It’s almost like Apple are trolling.
    Releasing shitty overpriced products while claiming they are luxurious and top of the line, and then sitting and watching people rave about how superior their macs and iphones are.

    I tried using an iphone a few times and always got annoyed by the interface, it just feels wrong.

  3. Bliss says:

    I agree with the general sentiment of over hype of apple products. You can do pretty much everything on a PC that you can do on a Mac and PCs are more customisable (which has it’s downfalls too). The four marketing points (that I believe we’re even advertised by Apple at one point) are misleading:

    – Macs are more stable. THIS IS ONLY THE CASE FOR NOVICES OR THE INTELLICTUALLY CHALLENGED BECAUSE THE OPERATING SYSTEM MAKES IT DOFFICULT FOR YOU TO FUCK WOTH ITS CORE OPERATIONAL STRUCTURE. THIS IS A NIGHTMARE FOR PROGRAMMERS OR SOME TYPES OF POWER USERS THOUGH.

    – Macs don’t crash. THEY DO, BUT DUE TO THE POINT ABOVE ITS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT FOR A N00B TO MAKE THEM CRASH COMPARED TO A WINDOWS MACHINE THAT THEY HAVE PROBABLY INSTALLED TONS OF MALWARE, SPYWARE AND CRACKED SOFTWARE ON IT.

    – Macs don’t get viruses. WELL WE SHOULD ALL KNOW HOW MUCH BS THIS IS. MACS HAVE VIRUSES BUT ITS JUST WAY FEWER ARE DEVELOPED DUE TO THEIR MUCH SMALLER MARKETSHARE. I EXPECT THIS TO CHANGE AS SMART PHONES OPERATING SYSTEMS GET CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THEIR BIG BROTHERS.

    – Mac is better for design. I CAN ONLY COMMENT ON MUSICAL APPLICATIONS, BUT MANY PROGRAMS, PLUG-INS AND INTERFACES ARE ONLY ABAILABLE ON MAC (CANT THINK OF ANY WINDOWS ONLY) AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF STUDIOS ARE ALL ON MAC. AS I OFTEN MOVE BETWEEN MANY STUDIOS FOR PROJECTS AND LIKE TO HAVE ACCESS TO EVERY TYPE OF GEAR IT IS DEFINITELY EASIER TO BE ON MAC.

    But a lot of the rest of this is factually incorrect or biased. It’s definitely annoying to not have things where you expect them and I agree with the fact that pressing two or three shortcut keys instead of one can be annoying. However, I do think that your 20 plus years of using Windows skews your views on how intuitive something is. For instance the list of problems you have with finder are all incorrect you can cut, duplicate and there are several other types of screenshot that are better than a single hotkey.

    To cut simply copy with command + c as usual but then hold alt + command + v when pasting and it “moves the folder” rather than copying.

    Duplicate is command + d last time
    I checked

    And instead of print screen (shift + command + 3) there are other time saving print screens like shift + command + 4 which takes a screenshot of a selection of the screen.

    There are also a lot of hot keys for navigating Windows too. Command and tab is like alt tab then there are other ways to cycle through windows of a particular application, which I can’t remember off of the top of my head.

    After spending a little time getting used to the customs and standards of macs you will find that the hot keys are often intuitive without looking them up, which is a learning curve you probably went through with Windows back in the day. In fact when I go back to my Windows laptop rather than my Mac computers I find them more difficult to operate now (even though I grew up using Windows all the time).

    • Illuminatus says:

      Command+D reformats the hard drive and pressing spacebar engages the cloaking device so it can never be found.

      You’ve made a powerful enemy today.

  4. Blink says:

    Why is being able to memorize Beethoven special?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Well it’s thousands of notes memorized and played in rapid succession using ten fingers. I guess it depends on your threshold for “special”.

      I was in a rather facetious mood when writing this article anyway; I wouldn’t pay too much attention to it. 🙂

  5. O'Brien says:

    It’s quite special.

  6. Johannes Bols says:

    For ONCE I can remain silent! What needed to be said has been said and that’s that. A friend has the same experience as you, he’s forced to work on a Mac and says the exact same thing. I’m not an actuary, but I’ve not heard one good word from Mac users for years. So, what this tells me is that Mac, once the shining star of hope, has cracked, is fading, & will turn cold. Exactly when the Blessed Event happens, your guess is as good as mine. But like a child who looks forward to Christmas morning all the year, I await Mac’s entry into Chapter 11 w⁄the same sweet fervour.

  7. MacSucksgoatBalls says:

    “If someone thinks Macs are better than PCs, it’s because they aren’t very good at computers anyway.”

    This deserves a slow clapp .gif!

  8. Don says:

    Every year or two, I go back and try an IOS/Mac device for a week or two… I think to myself… it will be like Linux, except with better software support… (I’ve been off of Windows for a few years now as I am a PHP developer) …While I still wish I had official versions of MS Office/Skype for Business on my Linux computers, that is one of the very few advantages. I really hate it’s UI/UX. Here is my list of whats better on a Mac vs Linux.
    1. MS Office App support
    2. Touchpad Getures
    3. Admittedly the iMessage/Facetime integrations with an iPhone are pretty nice.
    4. DRM content all plays nice in a browser (PS Vue, etc).
    5. iTunes (If you’re in that ecosystem)

    What’s worse? Well… EVERYTHING else. Mac’s are not good. I’d much rather use a Linux, Windows, or Chromebook machine.

  9. Mike Stroven says:

    Clueless sacks. I’ve been a PC hardware developer, BIOS developer, OS Kernel driver developer, and video hardware driver developer. I have used Unix, OS 2, Novell, and every flavor of windows. I prefer the Android OS to iOS, but there is simply no comparison between windows and Mac OS X. The fact that it is BSD Unix under the hood makes it all the more desireable for a stability stand-point. Get a clue fanboys.

  10. Martok says:

    Yeahhhh. Was forced into a touch-bar Mac Book Pro for work. I’m coming from a Linux background, mostly Ubuntu. Virtually, all the same issues you note, but a few more.

    * I rely on the terminal and weird keyboard commands to use tools like ‘screen’ and ‘vim’. The Mac keyboard suffers from a similar problem of Lenovo laptop keyboards where ‘fn’, and ‘control’ are reversed. In the Lenovo, you can enter the BIOS and fix this easily. On the Mac, Ha!
    * ‘Command-C’, ‘Command-V’ is super physically awkward for my hands to type. I have to lift my hands off the keyboard, away from home run to accomplish this. ‘Ctrl-C’, ‘Ctrl-V’ (when ctrl is in the proper far left position), I barely move my hand from home-row. Conclusion: Mac’s are geared towards ‘hunt-and-peck’ typists.
    * The Mac Book Pro is a nice hefty laptop with a nice screen, but the keyboard is utter garbage. I’ve had this laptop for 3 weeks and the ‘u’ key no longer responds properly, requiring twice the force of other keys and leading to mis-types. I expect that level of quality from a sub $200 acer, not a plus $2000 ultimate piece of computing hardware.
    * I’ve been force-fed crappy Windows laptops and asked to perform real-work in the past. Solution: dual-boot or HDD swap and drop on a real dev environment, aka Linux. Touch bar Mac is not Linux compatible.
    * Furthermore, the HDD is literally soldered onto the motherboard. Forced obsolesence at it’s best here.
    * USB-C only means DONGLES DONGLES everywhere.

    My solution: I went on ebay, bought a $400 2 year old Dell Latitude 14″ that has the same processor specs, same amount of RAM, superior keyboard, and ever so slightly larger screen. It fits into a $20 docking station where I can run 3 screens, keys are in the right locations, I can run whatever OS I want, and it even works with all my peripherals with no dongles!

    Amazing.

  11. Arthur Askey says:

    I’m with Illuminatus – I’ve had an old G3 and an iMac – both seductive pieces of kit, but I got so frustrated with A) crashes using Cubase with the first one and B) the growing realisation that the whole interface and navigation was shit, that now I will stick with PCs till I rot.
    Little things like cutting a file from one folder (I prefer Ctrl-X but perfectly happy with Right click and down) then going to a folder where you want it – but THEN realising ah, I need a sub-folder here, so what do you do? Right-click and New Folder – in you go with your Ctrl-V – job done.
    Try that on a Mac.
    And I have to use an iPhone for work, but always go for Samsung for my personal phone. Why the arse doesn’t IOS know how to ‘swipe text’?
    And where’s the fucking back-button?
    Set of cunts.
    Print screen? Best thing ever. Open up Fastone Viewer or other open-source photo app ,ctrl-V, return – voila: within three clicks you’ve gone from one screen, to editing it in a different screen.
    Beautiful.
    I work for a magazine and the editorial and design guys need their Macs, which I wouldn’t deny – but for average user-experience – bollocks to Apple:)

    • Illuminatus says:

      I work a design job and when they finally swapped my Mac for a PC (at my request) my productivity LITERALLY doubled.

  12. Toby Stewart says:

    This issue has been changing over the years, as the various competitors innovated their products. I’m an old man who bought his first computer in 1991 (a mac) and who has programmed for the mac, for PC, for Android and various unix based micro controller environments.

    It has been like this:

    In the early days you needed a mac if you couldn’t work from the command line. Apple had the WYSIWYG interface first.

    Then came windows. Suddenly, you could have your WISYWYG and actually use some variety of software at the same time. As windows dominated, the efficiencies of scale in widespread production meant the bang for buck in component performance massively outstripped Apple. Exeunt Steve Jobs stage left, to go work at Pixar and devise the NEXT platform. At this time (when I bought my first mac) you just had to get a PC or you were a fool.

    Then came the virus revolution, where restarting your PC every 12 minutes was normal. Suddenly, Macs were hugely productive simply because they worked. You still needed a PC if you used any software beyond word processing, but macs had a place. With Next and the Unix kernel, they were without doubt a superior design, conception and product. Steve Jobs could make a product, yo.

    Then Steve Jobs died and the company went bad. Current macs are pathetic machines. They don’t work, they crash, they complain, they tell you what to do. From great height. They work for the CIA and LGBT political fringe. Meanwhile, PCs have sorted their issues and you can build amazingly capable machines for very little money. They are great again.

    Soon unix will dominate as software vendors realize that platform is now a genuine choice, and folks like choice.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Can I ask how people are finding this article? Despite being a meditation site this is one of my most trafficked.

      Google Analytics is frustratingly sparse on sources, with something like “not provided” showing for most keywords.

      While we’re on that topic, does anyone know their way around Analytics? I don’t use it very much, and since they changed it all up a few years ago I find it fairly incomprehensible. E.g. how would I go about these two tasks?

      1) Find out how people are finding this article, http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/why-macs-are-shit/

      2) I had a spike in traffic on 1st September. How do I find out why? There used to be something called “Intelligence Events” that would shoot up a load of data about that day but I can’t find that anywhere. What I would really like is a feature that just says, “You got more traffic on this day and here is why”.

      Am I the only one who thinks Google totally screwed up Analytics? I used to find my way around just fine for the most part.

  13. Arthur Askey says:

    Can’t help you with the Analytics question, but I found you by Googling something like: Macs are shit (!) – but to make sure, I just Googled ‘macs are…’ and it auto-complete with ‘crap’, among other things.
    Click on that and there you are.
    Good work Sir.
    (My initial motive was pure frustration at the smug sanctimony of most Mac users; I thought that someone else must feel my pain!)

  14. Kautilya says:

    Just some thoughts:

    * ‘macs are shit’ or something similar – there are only a few using that phrase – simple as that

    * pc vs mac as well

    * comments here contain all sort of technical shit (DRM, PS Vue, WISIWYG, Ubuntu etc.) type that in plus mention a mac …..

    * Maybe the fact that hardly anything else here is on computers makes google show it up to see if perhaps that’s more relevant

    * This could answer the ‘why?’: Apple events are usually in September – I think most people know this and start searching stuff on habitually as soon as September hits

    At this risk of making a ‘powerful enemy’ today I am gonna get the 10th Anniversary iPhone to see if they do pull it off….BUT – if they don’t I’m joining the Samsung crew next year!

  15. wanker says:

    Screenshot a window to clipboard on Mac:

    CMD+CTRL+SHFT+4+” “+click on window

    On Windows:

    ALT+PRNTSCRN

    This is why a Mac desktop gets cluttered with screenshots.

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