Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

theorist9

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 28, 2015
3,759
2,893
Apple's UI guidelines (https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/platforms/designing-for-macos/) clearly state that Macs typically have large displays, and that app designers should leverage this by allowing people to see all content in a window at once (see "Display" and "Best Practices", below).

However, Apple often doesn't do this itself. Consider, for instance, System Preferences, which is one of MacOS's most important apps. Here's a screeshot from Monterey (Edit: According to the posts below, this has been fixed in Ventura). You can't resize it to make it any bigger, which means you can't see all the categories on the left at once, and (more importantly) you can't see all the apps that have access in the displayed category (in this case, Files and Folders) at once.

Instead, you have to (annoyingly and, given my available screen size, ridiculously) move the cursor up and down because Apple limits you to that tiny window.

Any idea why Apple chooses to do this, particuarly given its own admonishments to app designers not to take this approach? Surely Apple has the coding ability to make this windows (and others like it) resizable.



1679421991296.png




1679421545654.png

1679421537753.png
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Romain_H and Nermal

DeltaMac

macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
13,606
4,496
Delaware
I understand your point, and I agree.
However, you are inaccurate about System Settings in Ventura. You can actually drag the bottom edge of the Settings window to make that window longer.
 

brookter1

macrumors regular
Aug 5, 2015
142
116
Exhibit One:

Screenshot 2023-03-21 at 19.53.48.png


Exhibit two:

Screenshot 2023-03-21 at 19.51.39.png


As there isn't a Security & Privacy pane anymore, I imagine Howard was writing about a beta release and things were improved either on full release or subsequently. Whatever the irritation of System Settings, the window is now resizable vertically.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: theorist9

blazerunner

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2020
1,051
3,887
That entire System Settings UI is horrible; one long list of disorganized titles with no logical order is really STUPID. Apple dropped the ball on this one. It wasn't broken, but they went ahead and 'fixed it'.

Hopefully they go back to what it was.
 

theorist9

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 28, 2015
3,759
2,893
Exhibit One:

View attachment 2176870

Exhibit two:

View attachment 2176871

As there isn't a Security & Privacy pane anymore, I imagine Howard was writing about a beta release and things were improved either on full release or subsequently. Whatever the irritation of System Settings, the window is now resizable vertically.
What about other fixed-size windows on Monterey? Have those been changed on Ventura? For instance, WiFi, Displays, and Display Color Profiles (though there is another way to list color profiles that does use the whole screen):


1679429879151.png


1679429989112.png


1679429926790.png
 

brookter1

macrumors regular
Aug 5, 2015
142
116
The Wifi menu hasn't changed much. The overview dialogue in your second picture doesn't exist anymore – they're all in the main setting dialogue.

I don't have enough monitors to find out what happens when there are more than two displays side by side – I presume it scrollshorizontally, as it did in Monterey. Displays preferences itself is extensible vertically, though I don't think the custom profiles dialogue is:

Screenshot 2023-03-21 at 20.59.17.png




HTH.
 
  • Like
Reactions: theorist9

AppleComputer

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2012
119
62
Cupertino, CA
That entire System Settings UI is horrible; one long list of disorganized titles with no logical order is really STUPID. Apple dropped the ball on this one. It wasn't broken, but they went ahead and 'fixed it'.

Hopefully they go back to what it was.
I couldn't agree more, system preferences has been reworked a bit over the years in different versions but this has to be the worst so far.
 

Nigel Goodman

macrumors regular
Jun 29, 2017
171
84
UK
I’ve found the best way to use System Preferences in Ventura is to keep it in the Dock then do a right-click (option-click) on the Dock icon and you’ll see all the contents in a list. Alphabetical order.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chown33

Lounge vibes 05

macrumors 68040
May 30, 2016
3,686
10,675
Apple has NEVER followed its HIG 100%, ever.
They've always broken or not followed the guidelines with all requirements filled.
For example, in 2003 it was brushed metal windows.
Apple's HIG said:
"Windows have two distinct looks in Mac OS X. There is the standard default look of windows, as shown in the examples so far. There is also a brushed metal look available, shown in Figure 8–11. You can use a brushed metal window if your application:
  • Provides an interface for a digital peripheral, such as a camera, or an interface for managing data shared with digital peripherals — iPhoto or iSync, for example
  • Strives to re-create a familiar physical device — Calculator or DVD Player, for example
  • Provides a source list to navigate information — for example, iTunes or the Finder
Don’t use the brushed metal look indiscriminately. Although it works well for some types of applications, some applications appear too heavy when using this look. For example, it works well for the iSync application window, but it does not work very well for the TextEdit document window."
So where did Apple choose to use this window stile?
From DaringFireball:
"The big problem, obviously, is that Apple has simply ignored the HIG. The HIG states, “Don’t use the brushed metal look indiscriminately”, but indiscriminate is precisely the word to describe Apple’s use of it.
Another problem, however, is that the HIG itself contributes to the conflation of the two arguments — visual appeal vs. consistency. The HIG should be emphasizing the need for consistency, but with its discussion of certain apps appearing “too heavy when using this look”, it validates the notion that developers should just pick the theme that they think looks better.
The release of Safari was a watershed; it’s an app which fits none of the HIG’s criteria for when brushed metal is appropriate. You could perhaps put forth a contorted argument that the “source list” in Safari’s bookmarks view qualifies it, but that’s a real stretch. It’s quite obvious that the one and only reason Safari uses brushed metal is that someone at Apple thinks it looks better that way. (Who the “someone” is doesn’t really matter to me, but most people think it’s Steve Jobs.)
What’s interesting about the above figure from the HIG is that the hypothetical brushed metal TextEdit document window — which is presented as an example of when not to use brushed metal — is pretty much exactly what Safari windows look like.
I dredge this up for two reasons:
  1. The HIG ought to be revised to accurately describe Apple’s de facto policy on the use of the brushed metal theme: that there are suggestions for when to use it, but that it’s ultimately capricious and subject to the whims of the developer. Ideally, the brushed metal theme either wouldn’t exist or would only be used by Apple when certain well-defined criteria — such as those in the current HIG — are met. But that’s not so, and is unlikely to change.
    The HIG is only credible if it accurately reflects Apple’s actual policy. If the policy isn’t going to change, then the HIG should.
  2. To those of you who think this state of affairs is just fine, that there’s no problem with Mac OS X providing two disparate themes for developers to choose between based on whim, I ask this: If two themes are OK, why not three or four?"


Or a couple years later with Mac OS X Lion:
Here's to the crazy ones
This "Apple isn't following their own darn guidelines" conversation comes up pretty much every time macOS or iOS has a major interface change.
They never have fully followed it, they continue to not fully follow it.
Sidenote: I've always found it interesting that while the brushed metal windows dominated (from 2002-2006 or so) all of Apple's biggest computers like the iBook and iMac were made out of shiny white plastic...
Then in 07/08 they switched the iMac and MacBook and pretty much everything else to aluminum and glass... at the same time the brushed metal windows were thrown out.
Kinda interesting how things work out.
 
Last edited:
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.