Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
One of the more undercover iOS-inspired features added to Mac OS X Lion is Automatic Termination, which kills any app you haven’t used for a while.It only happens if you don’t have any windows open in a given app, but it can be inconvenient if you’re used to (Apple+Tab)’ing your way between apps you’re running.
TidBits noticed the new feature, which wasn’t publicized (unlike other iOS-inspired features like Auto-Save).
According to Apple, Automatic Termination only occurs if “applications that are not in use [need] to reclaim needed resources such as memory.”
But today, computers have far greater amounts of resources than iPhones or iPads, and we can manage our own open apps, thank you very much.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that having 10 apps and eight browser tabs open will slow down your computer, and there’s no way to disable Automatic Termination. It sounds like a good idea in theory; the bigger bother is that there’s no choice to turn it off.
Fortunately, in order to prevent Automatic Termination from occuring, keep a window open in an app you’re not using like TextEdit or Preview. There aren’t any third party apps taking advantage of the new “feature” just yet.
Haven’t experienced termination before? Try it out via these instructions from TidBits:
Try this experiment in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Start up TextEdit. Close any open document windows. You’ll notice, from the name of the application appearing next to the Apple menu, that TextEdit is still running (it isn’t one of those applications, like System Preferences, that quits automatically when its last window closes). Now switch away from TextEdit and do something else for a while. Then use the Command-Tab application switcher to switch back to TextEdit. You can’t. It’s gone. You weren’t actively doing anything with TextEdit — it had no open windows and it wasn’t the frontmost application — so the system quietly told TextEdit to quit. Worse, if TextEdit appears in your Dock only when it’s running and this happens, its Dock icon mystifyingly disappears.