Turning inner space into outer space

August 22, 2021

Bring back the Mac grabby hand

Poolsuite with the grabby pointer and grab bar

If you want to move a window on your Mac, you position your mouse cursor so you can click and hold on the top part of the window. But it's not always that easy.

There's a lot of stuff up there. If you're using a web browser, it might be full of tabs. If you're using Word, it might be full on functions. Finding the right place to click might mean resorting to trial and error. What looks like a free spot might actually be yet another thing you can do with the app.

Back in the day, there were two big hints to let you know where you could grab. First, the cursor would transform from a pointer to a gloved hand with outstretched fingers. The fingers would close when you clicked. Second, the part of the window you could grab had five or six horizontal lines on it — a sort of grab pad.

There is still one app that has this feature, although it's not quite the same as what we had in the classic Mac interface. I'm referring to a collection of music with a retro look called Poolsuite. Not only does the cursor turn into a grab hand, but it can also turn into a hand with a pointing finger when you hover over buttons in the top left.

Maybe the thinking among app designers now is that people are so used to working with apps that they don't need these cues any more. But I see it as a sort of courtesy. Poolsuite's developers want us to feel comfortable when using their app. Making the grab space obvious is a nice touch. Much appreciated.