Quantifying how much different Apple features get used

I think you make a very good point. I usually hold off updating for quite a while. By the time I get around to it, nobody is posting about “new features” anymore. I likely forget about many so I never end up checking them out.

I do try to bookmark articles on new features that sound attractive to me so I’ll remember to try them out. I’m sure I’m in the minority there though.

My problem with these new features is how the tech media deals with them. Everyone wants to be “early” on the reporting, so when WWDC rolls around everyone is writing about the new stuff and I get excited. But like others have said, I tend to be cautious about actually upgrading devices as I need to use them for work so it might be 6 months before I’m running an OS that can do the stuff. By then the media coverage has moved on and I forget all about the feature I was dying to try!

Perfect case in point is Sidecar, the ability to use your iPad as a 2nd screen for your Mac. When I first heard of that I thought it sounded awesome – but I didn’t have the new OS or a compatible iPad. Over a year later, I have both… but forgot all about the feature until recently I saw a mention of it and remembered.

I still haven’t even tried it. Now the feature seems old and not so hip and exciting and I’m not in a rush for it.


On the Mac I find this Shortcut makes it even more useful: it gives you the screenshot selection cursor, you select some text in an image on your screen, and it puts the text in your clipboard. So anything that appears on your screen, whether it is selectable text or not, can be copied as text.

I have it set to appear in the Services menu and assigned it the keyboard shortcut of cmd-shift-6 (to follow on from the standard system screenshot shortcuts). It works so well that I forgot it isn’t built in to the system when asking someone recently why they didn’t use cmd-shift-6 to capture some text on their screen :joy:

Capture Text from Screen shortcut

Luckily I left myself a comment in the shortcut so I could find out where I got the idea/original shortcut from:


Not me, ever.

I won’t assert that you’re in the minority, but you’re certainly more organized than I.

I just started doing this. At home, my MBA is connected to a big screen. On the road, I just had the internal screen. Then I remembered Sidecar, looked it up on TidBITS, and tried it. On the road, I wouldn’t be without it (and I have a relatively small iPad, but it makes a big difference). At home, FWIW, I expect never to use it.

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You just saved me a lot of clicks @jzw Took your lead and now I too use cmd-shift-6.

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Adam, I may be alone in this…. You mentioned Stage Manager. I don’t even know what it is/does. It could be because I am still using High Sierra and the App is for newer OSes. I am giving a suggestion: whatever App you want to poll, state what it is/does. I may actually be using it, but not know the official name. Again, this might not be necessary for others, but just me.

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OK, now you can go vote in the actual survey for this question!

I would suggest another category might be in order, splitting the “No” votes into two subcategories.

-seriously tried it and rejected it.
-Not tried or superficially tried and rejected it.

My reading around suggests a lot of the No votes will be in the second category.

I have not voted yet, because I am have not seriously tried it on my Mac, but have just started using it as a result of this thread. I absolutely love it on my 12.9 iPad with MK, and feel seriously hampered without it. I am not sure I am going to feel the same on my 13” MBA.

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You make a good point, and I’m pondering. The question is if there’s some sort of a requirement that you have tried a feature seriously before it’s legitimate to say that you don’t use it. I’m not sure there is. With Launchpad, for instance, I’ve used it only a handful of times because it doesn’t solve any problems I have—there was no need to use it to know that. Same for Stage Manager, though I’ll admit I tried it for a day on my Mac before starting the poll and found that I didn’t like it. And it didn’t solve any problems for me.

So I think I’m coming down on the side of not needing any more information about why someone voted No. In some cases, they may simply not have heard of the feature, and it’s up to them to decide if they want to try it before voting. Or they can change their vote—Discourse is happy to allow that.

As you saw with the Launchpad survey, I did expand the answers beyond the binary Yes/No because in that case (and I imagine many others) it’s a matter of extent. I chose not to do that with Stage Manager because it’s such a toggle—it’s either on or off.

I’m not sure I follow, or perhaps I’m sure that I don’t follow. If I know I have a problem, I might need to use it to know whether it solves the problem. If I don’t know I have a problem, then I probably need to use it to learn that it solves the problem I didn’t know I had. Am I taking your statement too much out of context?

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Thank you for posting this Shortcut.
I installed it and I find it easy to use and easy to remember :smiley:.

When I used to copy text from a .pdf with cmd-c, it was often a bit garbled, words run together, etc. This Shortcut uses the Apple capability and makes it into plain text - just what I need.

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I’m talking about the third option. Your two are “I know I have a problem” and “I don’t know I have a problem,” whereas my scenario is “I know I don’t have a problem.” :slight_smile: When that’s the case, I don’t bother to examine additional solutions.

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Got it; I had missed that nuance. Thanks.

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I like that you don’t even need to take a screenshot: just point the camera and tap on the phone/address!

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These are three of my top favorites too!!

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I wish there were a way to find out which features of macOS I do not use. There must be thousands. On the one hand there are features such as Stage Manager that I have tried and found no value in. On the other there are features such as Shortcuts which I haven’t tried and haven’t found a reason to try.

For example, there are 16 apps in the macOS Utilities menu. I have used 6 of them, some frequently such as Terminal, some rarely such as Keychain. So there are 10 whole apps, let alone individual features of other apps, which presumably Apple thinks are worthwhile but which I have never found a use for.

Every user has different needs so there are a couple of lessons here. First, I am grateful to Apple for supporting a multiplicity of techniques and approaches to select from. Second, it would be really useful if there were a way for us to share, as some have done in this exchange, how we use particular features to solve problems or save time.

8 posts were split to a new topic: Useful Finder file manipulation features

These are lovely features to be reminded of, thanks!

They are a little conceptually different from the other things I’ve been talking about, though. With features like Stage Manager and Launchpad, Apple is making a big deal of them and pushing us to use them. The features you’ve called out are the little hidden features that Apple never mentions anywhere but which can make a huge difference in everyday productivity (I use them all too).

I’ll have to think about how to incorporate these into the survey questions—perhaps there should be a “I didn’t know about this feature but I plan to use it now that I do” answer. Or people could be encouraged to try the feature and then come back to vote later. Or both—Discourse lets you change your vote.

Fair enough….my concern is that the results will be misinterpreted. A feature that is not used by 90% users (like Stage Manager on iPad) will be interpreted by a casual reader meaning it is a useless or poorly designed feature, and not worth investigating……which is a pity. Many people resist change and will be happy to have their attitude confirmed!

A post was merged into an existing topic: Do You Use It? Launchpad on the Mac