Yosemite brings lots of new goodies to the table for Mac users, but Apple has chosen to seriously flatten the color schemes and greatly reduce the contrast of all the user interface colors.
Fortunately, there are a few settings that may make you happier with the new OS’s look and usability.
New Dark Menu bar and Dock
This was weird to me for the first 5 minutes, now I can’t ever go back. Turns both the dock and menu bars black/grey with white text. Simply go into System Preferences and under the “General” settings, check the “Use dark menu bar and dock” checkbox and voila a much subtler presence up there at the top of your screen.
Contrast is a huge problem in Yosemite. Look at the image below. Thats three windows overlapping each other. The color choices are so low contrast and similar that it can sometimes be very difficult to tell where one object ends and another begins. This is a sad trend Apple has allowed to creep in over the last few years; design over function. For 25 years usability and the HUI was the most important thing, but lately aesthetics have harmed the usability ethic. Just look at iOS 7 and 8.
Fortunately, there is a partial fix, though it’s a little ugly. Under the Accessibility settings (inside System Preferences) there is a setting for “Increase Contrast.” Here’s what the above looks like with it turned on.
So far I’m managing to be pretty happy with these options in Yosemite but this is definitely a time when one could wish Apple gave a little bit more customizability. Anyone remember how easy it was to change everything in the UI in OS9?
If you’ve found any other good Yosemite appearance hacks, please share in the comments.