How to use Stage Manager on macOS Ventura

When Apple previewed macOS Ventura at WWDC in June, one of the most significant new features was a desktop organization tool called Stage Manager. It’s a feature that’s also available in iPad OS 16, thus bringing the Mac and iPad user experiences closer together. It’s also designed to make using the Mac more productive and allow you to have different set-ups for work, leisure, study, and anything else you do on your Mac. Let’s take a deeper look at what Stage Manager does and how to use it.

What is Stage Manager in macOS Ventura

Previously, if you wanted to keep multiple windows open at the same time on your Mac, you had a few options:

  • Keep all the windows on one screen, and either have the screen cluttered or use a third-party tool to organize them (if you only have two windows open, you can also use split screen mode).
  • Minimize the windows you’re not working in to the Dock and recall them when you need them.
  • Use Mission Control to put different windows on separate screens, hiding them from view completely until you invoke Mission Control.

None of these options allows you to keep thumbnails of open windows visible on screen while you work in a way that helps you focus on one while making the others easily accessible. That’s where Stage Manager comes into play.

macOS Ventura Stage Manager:

  • Keeps one window ‘center stage’ on screen, allowing you to work in it and focus on it.
  • Parks the other windows at the side of the screen at a ‘thumbnail’ size but makes them easy to identify.
  • Updates parked windows in the background.
  • Groups parked windows from the same application together.
  • Allows you to create separate workspaces of windows for different tasks.
  • Replaces the currently active window with a parked window when you click on it.

How does Stage Manager work?

Stage Manager is turned on and off from the Control Center. You can also use System Settings to put it right in the menu bar to make it easier to access.

How to use Stage Manager

Turning Stage Manager on and off

  1. Click on the Control Center icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click Stage Manager — it should turn blue when it’s activated.
  3. Choose whether to show or hide recent apps at the side of the screen.

Put Stage Manager in the menu bar

  1. Click the Apple menu and choose System Settings.
  2. Choose Control Center, then Stage Manager.
  3. Set it to Always Show in the Menu Bar.

How to fix problems with Stage Manager

If you’re having problems getting Stage Manager to work properly on your Mac, there could be a number of reasons, making it difficult to know where to start trying to fix it. One solution is to use an application that specializes in running maintenance routines and fixing problems.

We recommend CleanMyMac X. It has a Maintenance module that will free up RAM, repair permissions, reindex Spotlight, and run macOS maintenance scripts. All of these can help fix a range of problems on your Mac, including those that may affect Stage Manager.

To use the app:

1. Open CleanMyMac X (find a free version here).
 Navigate to the Maintenance module.
 Choose the tasks you want to perform and hit Run.

Free up Mac RAM with CleanMyMacX

    Start using Stage Manager

    Now that you’ve enabled Stage Manager, you’ll notice a few things.

    Firstly, if you choose to show recent apps in Stage Manager upon enabling it, your recently used apps will be displayed on the left of the screen.

    Secondly, if you normally have disks or servers displayed on your desktop, these will disappear when Stage Manager is active. However, if you click on the desktop, you will be able to see them again.

    Thirdly, Stage Manager is limited to showing six apps or ‘spaces’ at the side of the screen. However, you can have multiple windows for each app, and they will occupy the same space (although there’s no visual clue to this).

    Finally, if you use an app in full-screen mode (by clicking the green button in the top left corner of a window), Stage Manager will be inaccessible. However, if you drag a window to fill the screen, even if it hides the app icons, moving the pointer to the left of the screen will reveal them.

    To use Stage Manager, open an app and start working with it. If you open another app, you’ll see it move to the left of the screen. Keep opening apps until all six ‘slots’ are filled. To move between apps, just click on one at the side of the screen, and its window will replace the currently active app. If there are multiple windows open for an app, click on its icon again to switch to a different window.

    How to use Spaces

    Spaces is the name Apple gives to groups of apps in Stage Manager.

    1. With one of the apps you want in the space currently active, drag another one from the side of the screen and drop it onto the desktop.
    2. If you want to add another app, repeat step 1.
    3. Use the apps as normal, and to move to a different space or app not in the current space, click on it at the side of the screen.

    Keeping lots of apps and windows open and having them update in the background may be quite demanding on your Mac. So, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how it’s coping. One easy way to do that is to use the Menu bar item in CleanMyMac X (enable it from CleanMyMac X’s preferences). 

    Clicking on the Menu bar item displays info about your Mac’s CPU, memory, battery, and boot disk. Clicking on any one of those elements will give you a detailed view of exactly how your Mac is performing while you use Stage Manager.


    Stage Manager is a great new feature in macOS Ventura. Follow the steps above to set it up and start using it and see how much more productive it makes you.

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