Blue Magnet Icon and logotype, text "Magnet, Organize your Workspace"

And how to close and uninstall Rectangle, because there weren’t any useful search results when I looked.

I had an issue for the last week or so that whenever I used a web browser, the dock and the menu bar were completely missing. It was so frustrating to have to reach over to my Mac and use the gesture controls or to type in a complex keyboard shortcut multiple times a minute just to switch apps. Which I’m doing a lot these days since I’ve enrolled in a programming class at Flatiron School. Development, like systems administration, can occasionally involve some precision copy and pasting. Often a lot of copy and pasting, and referencing, and tweaking the method you just found so that it fits your solution *just so*.

After a while, I figured out that this behavior was only happening to windows that I had resized with Rectangle, a window-snapping utility that has a free tier.

Screenshot from https://rectangleapp.com September 2022

This was truly annoying, since window management is one of those things that I’d like the operating system to take care of for me and I’d already resented that my easy access to a Unix command line had required me to install a window snapping utility in the first place. But then, I couldn’t uninstall Rectangle because it was already running.

It says “All Processes” but the * is clearly implied

So I open up Activity Monitor, assuming that like Task Manager I can simply find the running program and end it that way. I honestly should have just used top, because I spent way too long searching and scrolling through the process IDs in the “CPU” tab of Activity Monitor when it was right there in the “Memory” tab. Learning why a process can appear in one tab but not another is going on my to-do list.

Once Rectangle is no longer running, you have to switch a window from an app that Rectangle has interacted with to fullscreen and back in order to get the menu bar and dock to return.

To recap as a checklist:

  • Remove Rectangle from running processes from “Memory” tab of Activity Monitor
  • Drag Rectangle from Applications to the Trash
  • Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > “Privacy” tab > Accessibility and uncheck the box next to Rectangle, then click the [-] to remove Rectangle from the list of apps allowed to control your computer. Keep the window up.
  • Go to the App Store and install Magnet, using the window you kept up to set permissions appropriately.

After this, I switched to Magnet, because unlike Rectangle it doesn’t hide the dock and menu bar just because it interacted with a window.

Magnet: For folks who want windows snapped, & their greebles too.

The joys of learning a new system, everybody! And that small grief you have within yourself, when you find reaching for a commercial option solves your problem when you’d rather use open source.

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