One of the best features introduced with Mac OS X Leopard in 2007 was Spaces, which joined ExposÃ© to make window management on the Mac an absolute dream. You could arrange all of your windows in separate spaces to keep different activities located on different desktops, and use ExposÃ© to view all open windows at the tap of a button.
In Lion, these two features have been merged together under one program: Mission Control. Yes, the name’s somewhat gimmicky, but we don’t have the space shuttle anymore so we need something to nerd out about, right?
Mission Control allows you to easily move windows between spaces, manage full screen applications and add new spaces on the fly whenever you need them. This is one thing that you could never do in Leopard or Snow Leopard without hitting System Preferences, and it makes a pretty big difference.
You can enter Mission Control by swiping up on your trackpad with four fingers, hitting the ExposÃ© key on your Mac keyboard, or keeping the icon handy on your dock for quick access. When it opens, you will still be able to see all of the windows currently in your space in detail. However, you will not be able to move windows from other spaces to your space without first zooming in on the space you wish to move them from, meaning you’d need one extra click compared to what you’d need in Snow Leopard.
If you’re a Spaces power user, then you’ll hate the default space ordering feature, which automatically re-arranges your desktops for you when you click on an app. Say, for example, you’re in desktop 1, and you click an app on the dock which is in desktop 4. That application from the fourth desktop will re-arrange itself and place next to the first one.
I personally hate this “feature”, but you can change it fairly easily by going in to System Preferences > Mission Control and unchecking the “Automatically rearrange spaces” option.
The best feature in Mission Control, for me, has got to be on-the-fly adding and removing of spaces. It makes life so much easier when managing windows, and you can even drag an app in to the new space zone at the right side of the screen in Mission Control to have it pop up in a desktop of its own. Overall, the program is a nice change from the previous look of Spaces, and it adds some pretty great functionality too.