OS X Lion apps re-opening documents?
August 8, 2011 11:01 AM   Subscribe

OS X Lion: the fact that Numbers, Pages, and Preview open up documents I had open is really making me want to stab myself. I've even installed Excel to avoid it. How can I turn off this horrible feature?

I unchecked 'Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps' but it does nothing. The stupid applications will even re-open documents I never saved and didn't want, and it's just an awful clutter. Please help.
posted by xmutex to Technology (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How to de-IOSify Lion. You want to scroll (backwards) down to "disable application restore."
posted by adamrice at 11:14 AM on August 8, 2011

adamrice: That's odd- I've unchecked the box it mentions for the apps, but they still restore to an obnoxious state. The checkbox seems to have no effect.
posted by xmutex at 11:20 AM on August 8, 2011

This is a duplicate of this question from last week and the answer is still the same, I have check that that terminal command works on my system since then, so I am not sure why it did not seem to work for 4ster
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 11:21 AM on August 8, 2011

Odd. I guess closing all documents you might have had open before unchecking the system preferences item and THEN closing out the apps seems to maybe do the trick.

Good lord, OSX Lion is an awfully ominous step in the direction of the operating system.. terrible.
posted by xmutex at 11:27 AM on August 8, 2011

I unchecked and it didn't work until I restarted. Such an obvious thing to do if you use Windows, but it didn't occur to me for three maddening days.
posted by Brockles at 11:35 AM on August 8, 2011

You can also hold down option when you close it (so option+command+q), and it will forget all of the open documents.
posted by kethonna at 12:25 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I unchecked and it didn't work until I restarted. Such an obvious thing to do if you use Windows, but it didn't occur to me for three maddening days.

Because it is an OS switch, not an App switch. This is one of a long list of settings that get loaded on boot. Sad that Lion is making the changes for us that we would normally have the option to choose for ourselves...like the dumb-assed reverse scrolling.
posted by Gungho at 12:29 PM on August 8, 2011

horrible feature; stab myself; stupid applications; awful clutter; obnoxious state; ominous step; ... terrible

Woah there, pardner. As your specific question has been addressed, but you've repeatedly brought up some underlying concerns, let me take a min to hopefully help address them, and maybe give you a different way to look at it that, I think, makes it all make perfect sense. You may just need to look at them a different way and give them a chance to "click" in your head before condemning all to hell, Heston-style, for not acting the way you've been trained to expect.

Really, all the new behavior means is that now you open what and when you want to open, you close what and when you want to close, and whether or not you quit and reboot in between are irrelevant. We've all gotten used to thinking of close as close and quit as ALSO meaning close, but this just separates those two commands into being what they say they are. Nothing more, nothing less.

Personally, I think it's great that things are where I left them unless I decide otherwise, and are open if I told them to be open and closed if I told them to be closed. The computer is much more hands off now, and no longer dictates those decisions to me. It's a nice example of Apple putting the decision as to how your computer should work solidly in the hands of the users and the users alone.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:30 PM on August 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

(I do want to add that somewhere in my editing I lost a key point: That while I think it's a nice bit of empowerment to the user, at the end of the day you and you alone decide if that extra bit of control is something you thing adds to or detracts from your experience, and I don't mean to imply otherwise.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:40 PM on August 8, 2011

John Kenneth Fisher - the problem is that sometimes (like this morning) a file causes an app to crash. I had an error with a Word plugin and a specific file. Word crashed. On launch, it automatically reopened the file. And immediately crashed. Again and again and again. I had to physically delete the file (moving it didn't help) before I could get Word to open again without triggering the crash.

There are other issues too - I like my browser to start up with a home page, and now it starts up with wherever I left off, which is not desired for me. Even though I have told it to always start with a home page. There is no possibility of a per-app setting, which is really what I want. As it is, I need to now remember to close all windows before I quit any app. It's kind of frustrating.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:14 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

And opening documents I never saved and had open only temporarily to look at something. STUPID. DO NOT WANT.
posted by xmutex at 2:27 PM on August 8, 2011

I think it's a hoot that you didn't think to restart the OS. Hell, I can't get through the morning without a re-boot most days. (WinXP). My better half goes months without a reboot on her Macs.

If Apple had a special department for screwing up their OS, they could never catch up with the acknowledged leader in this race, Microsoft.

Just a relevant observation... always have a known starting point when debugging a problem. This applies to anything with a processor in it. Know how to get back to factory default settings. Don't lose those instructions. The permutations to a dysfunctional system are infinite, and may be transient. Before assuming it's the OS, you have to eliminate all the other crap you have piled on top of it. It's one core strategy that makes it possible for me to fix nearly anything I encounter, and has for more than 3 decades.

Personally, I can't wait to try the new OS myself.
posted by FauxScot at 3:23 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

CLF points to an edge case that makes sense - I can see how that can be a bit annoying in Safari, for instance. Still, I think it's one of those things that over all can be so much more empowering to the user that it's worth the stray edge case like a browser. You may not know this, but if you command-OPTION-q, it will not save the windows in any apps. (Alternately, go to file, and hold down option, and note how "quit" changes to "quit and discard windows.")

Ok, now as for the crash on resume, yeah, that's problematic. I could have sworn you could hold down option or command or something on open and it wouldn't resume, but my googling just finds this fix for that kind of problem, which is surely not user friendly, but hopefully I'm right about the keydown, or that'll just be refined going forward.

As for xmutex's reply... I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. If you open a document temporarily, don't you close it when you're done? I mean, just... hit close. Close the window and it will stay closed. Don't close the window and it doesn't close. If your point is that you instead hit 'Quit' when what you really want is 'Close', that right there seems to be the problem. Just hit 'Close'. Command-W is literally about a centimeter over from command-Q, and you don't even have to quit apps that are Lion friendly anyway. If you want to? Command-option-Q then. But I'm REALLY stretching here.

If you think it's that much of a scourge, surely you can just, you know, tilt your index finger one key to the right?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:25 PM on August 8, 2011

JKF, if you're suggesting that I leave applications running that I do not want to be running, well, my friend, I say no thank you.
posted by xmutex at 3:56 PM on August 8, 2011

I suggested that as one option, since Lion will quit it for you when needed. Or just hit command-option-q. Or just close the windows you want to close and leave open the windows you want to leave open, before you quit the program. I mean, really, your options aren't exactly limited here.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:00 PM on August 8, 2011

We've gone way off topic here, and I'll bow out with this comment, though it's your post, you're certainly welcome to the last word if you wish.

I think there's an argument to be made as for the pluses and minuses for this change. I like to think my initial post argued well in favor of the pluses. I like the control more in my hands and less in Apple's, and I like the computer not making decisions about what is and isn't open for me. I think CLF made some excellent points as to potential downsides and gotchas: when it goes wrong it can go very wrong, and on some programs it can do more to disrupt expectation than complement it.

You can make your own decision, and I guess you have. Reasonable people can disagree based on reasonable positions. I'm just a bit boggled by your apparent stance of user control of your own windows being objectively "horrible", and having the computer want you to close windows you want closed instead of having to read your mind and risk guessing wrong being objectively "stupid."
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:33 PM on August 8, 2011

Since the Borg has such a heavy presence here, I thought you might appreciate a reality check.

The trouble with desktop UI having evolved to a point where it pretty much Just Works is that it gives UI designers nothing to do but fuck with it. So they do, and then they convince Marketing that they've just made a Feature, and before you know it some extra piece of bullshit has been imposed on the user base, typically without warning or consent.

Getting the original Mac as right as they did taught a generation of designers a lot of important lessons about discoverability in UI design. It seems to me that those lessons have simply never been learned by the current crop, who are all about the sleek new look and tucking all the controls out of the way where only those in the Seekrit Handshake Club can possibly find them. I'm thinking here of stuff like the pinch-and-unpinch-to-shrink-and-zoom or press-and-hold-to-select-for-deletion built into today's smart phones: there is no visible control to do what you want; you just have to have been initiated into knowing the appropriate gesture.

Anyway. You're not alone in finding some of today's UI decisions completely obnoxious. A certain amount of Grar GOML aside, there really is no good reason why every new OS release should mess badly with your expectations of how stuff should work; to my mind, that the exact opposite of putting you in control. New is by no means always and automatically better, and it really ought to be easier than it is to flip one switch somewhere to make the New Hotness behave exactly like the Old Perfectly Adequate wherever genuinely new capabilities are not involved.
posted by flabdablet at 5:26 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I simply went back to Snow Leopard. I will check back in with Lion a few dot releases from now.
posted by 4ster at 6:39 PM on August 8, 2011


“defaults write com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false”
“defaults write com.apple.TextEdit NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false”
“defaults write com.apple.Preview NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false”

posted by lundman at 6:59 PM on August 8, 2011

This looks like it could be helpful.
posted by 4ster at 11:12 AM on August 9, 2011

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