Apple’s OS X operating system has been ever-evolving since it’s initial release over 12 years ago. With each new rendition, a slew of new features aim to make access your most used files and folders quicker and make the user experience better. Some may argue that while Apple has made efforts to improve OS X, there are some features that are missing. The Mac App Store has played an integral part in introducing those missing features to the Mac, and Popup Window is a new tool that adds a great new function to your Mac experience.
Popup Window ($9.99 in the App Store) is a simple, lightweight (and low-resource) app for Mac 10.6.8 or later. Based on the same idea as your Dock, Popup Window enables you to add folders quick access tabs around the frame of your workspace.
In OS X 10.5, Apple introduced the Stack to the Dock of your Mac. With a simple drag-and-drop, users could add folders or files to the right end of their Dock to quickly access the contents of those “stacks.” The developers behind Popup Window took that idea, and moved it out of the dock and into any location on your screen.
Grabbing any folder from your hard drive, you can drag it to the edge of the screen. You’ll see a small box around the folder, which indicates that you are about to add it as a tab. Releasing your mouse will then add the folder as a Popup Window tab on your desktop.
Once you have your tabs set, a simple click on the tab will expand it to reveal the contents of the folder, giving you quick access to the files within. Unlike Stacks in OS X, Popup Window users can have multiple folders expanded, allowing for quick drag-and-drop transfers of files from folder to folder (Dropbox users will love this). Once you’re done using the folder, a simple click on the desktop (or anywhere away from the Popup Window) closes the folder back to it’s tabbed state.
Another great feature of Popup Window is the ability to pull a folder out and keep it open while you work. Simply clicking the tab heading (the folder name) from either the open or closed state and pulling toward the center of your screen will release it from the edge and pull the window to the desktop. By default, this was a bit annoying because the window would float above anything running applications, but a simple adjustment in the apps preferences allowed it to be backgrounded.
Verdict: [rating: 4.5]
Having quick access to folders is a huge bonus for heavy Mac users, and Popup Window does a great job of letting you add/remove your most accessed folders to your screen, without cluttering your Dock. For me, keeping my desktop neat and orderly is a must, as I rarely have more than one or 2 icons on my desktop (excluding my hard drive/connected drives). Being able to tuck folders away and still have immediate access to them on my desktop is amazing. The added ability to quickly drag-and-drop files into those folders makes Popup Window a must for me. Unfortunately it’s hard to bring yourself to spend the $10 in an App ecosystem that’s completely flooded with apps under $1.99.
- Ingenious, Apple-esque concept
- Gorgeous animation for opening/closing/detatching
- Simultaneous window support (unlike Stacks)
- Price tag is a little steep
Popup Window may not be for the casual Mac user, but if you’re a neat-freak about your desktop like I am, it’s definitely worth checking out in the Mac App Store ($9.99). If you want to try Popup Window before buying you can download the latest beta version here.