While Windows dominates the desktop PC world, those who love MacOS really love MacOS. Apple’s enduring operating system has a lot to recommend it and is filled with hundreds of little intuitive touches that make work and play more pleasant.
That doesn’t mean Windows hasn’t been taking notice. While it may already be on top, the folks over at Microsoft are not above taking a good idea from their competitor and doing something similar in Windows 10. Heck, sometimes it’s just convergent evolution, where two features happen to be similar because both provide a good solution to the same problem.
While no one could argue that Windows and MacOS provide the same experience, the following Windows features bring some of the most popular aspects of MacOS to the PC OS king.
Ah dark mode. It’s a feature people seem to want in every single app and device on the market these days. Basically, it turns all the light UI elements into dark ones.
People have varying reasons why they want dark mode functionality in the first place. Some believe it will make their batteries last longer and others don’t like the eye-searing brightness of “light mode”. It seems especially popular among those who like to sit in darkness and work on their computer. We’re not judging, but maybe turn on a light every now and then?
Regardless of why you want dark mode, with the release of MacOS Mojave, Apple users got a system-wide dark mode that included all native apps. This made plenty of people very happy and it wasn’t long until Windows 10 got its own dark theme. Which is very nearly the same thing. Now you don’t need to invest in a new set of shades when switching from a Mac to a Windows PC.
“Your Phone” Is Like iMessage For Android
Apple has done a marvelous job of integrating their various hardware devices with each other. iMessage on Mac is a great example of this. You can seamlessly transition from your iPhone to your Mac and carry on with conversations, without skipping a beat.
Windows 10 now has an app called “Your Phone”, which does this and more. If you have an Android phone with version 7.0 of the mobile OS or later, you can connect the two devices and basically get your phone’s function ported through to your Windows machine.
That includes being able to reply to text messages from your Windows computer, getting phone notifications on your computer and having access to your photos from the desktop.
It’s an incredibly useful application and if it’s not already on your Windows 10 computer, you can pick it up for free from the Windows Store.
“Nearby Sharing” Is Like AirDrop
AirDrop is one of the most useful features of Apple devices. It makes it an absolute doddle to share files between Macs and iOS devices quickly over local networks.
People have wanted an AirDrop-like function in Windows for ages and “Nearby Sharing” is pretty close. At the time of writing Android and iOS are on the roadmap, but for the time being it only works between Windows PCs.
Once mobile OS support is added, there will be almost perfect parity between macOS and Windows when it comes to AirDrop-like functionality.
The Xbox App Can Replace Quicktime Screen Recorder
Depending on the type of work you do, you may need a screen recorder quite often. Whether trying to show a problem to someone, creating training material or simply creating shareable content, screen recorders are an essential tool for modern digital living.
In MacOS, we have Quicktime Screen Recorder, a simple utility that lets you make a video file from whatever is happening on your screen. Well, it turns out that you can use the Windows 10 Xbox app to do pretty much the same thing.
It has a built-in screen recorder which can be activated using a keyboard shortcut. You first need to activate the Xbox app’s Game Bar by pressing Win+G and giving it permission. From then on, you can start or stop screen recordings simply by pressing Win+Alt+R.
The Windows Taskbar Is Really a Dock Now
For years Windows users were pretty envious of the dock in MacOS. There was a large proliferation of third-party dock apps for earlier versions of Windows, such as RocketDock.
You won’t find any such Windows applications released recently however. That’s because the taskbar in Windows 10 does much of what made the dock so popular to begin with. You can pin all your most frequently used apps to it. Multiple windows stack into single icons and you can preview them just by hovering your cursor.
These days it’s pretty normal to have app launchers such as Steam or Adobe Creative Cloud, so most people only ever need a dozen or so pinned icons on their taskbars.
Cortana Is Like Siri
Is Siri a popular feature of MacOS? We’ll never know how many people actually use Siri as a proportion of MacOS users, but we can say that Siri works incredibly well.
Apple pioneered this conversational interface with the iPhone 4S and it now lives across all Apple devices. Siri is intuitive, accurate and fast. Making many common tasks easier to do.
On Windows 10, we have Cortana as the voice assistant and smart search app. Cortana isn’t quite as polished as Siri, but Microsoft has been steadily improving the service over time. In fact, when it comes to pure brains, Cortana might actually be better overall.
In the early days, users tended to disable Cortana thanks to its clunkiness, but if you haven’t tried using it in a while, it’s definitely worth booting her up again. You may be surprised.
The Best of Both Worlds
Competition is a good thing. A world where only one operating system dominates is one without innovation. When Apple does something laudable with macOS, Windows users benefit and vice versa.
While there will never be an equivalent user experience between the two, people who use both, or just those who show a little envy looking across the fence, can get the best of both worlds with equivalent features, both present and to come.