Apple has completely revised the System Preferences app in macOS Ventura and the new app, renamed System Settings in passing, will change our habits. Gone is the grid of icons, place in a general interface taken from the iPad, or rather, as Apple describes it so well in its communication, ” a modernized, clean design that’s easier to navigate and looks instantly familiar to people with an iPhone or iPad “.
Under the hood, the app has been rewritten in SwiftUI and the customization possibilities are reduced compared to the old version. You can see it all over the first beta of macOS Ventura, but perhaps the worst part is the panel dedicated to the trackpad. Where that of macOS Monterey displays explainer videos for each option hovered over, the version that comes with the update is a sea of gray of infinite sadness.
Suffice to say that the first testers of macOS Ventura did not particularly appreciate the new app. And especially not the blogger John Gruber, who had the chance to question Craig Federighi on the subject in his last talk show saved publicly from the Developer Center. Besides the name change which is indeed weird – as long as it changes, why not call it “Settings” for short, like on iOS? -, it is especially the design of the app that he criticized and in particular this famous panel dedicated to the control of the trackpad.
Rest assured, this is not the final form of preferences! Slipping that he found it surprising that we judge a function according to a first beta, Craig Federighi indicated that the absence of explanatory videos would be corrected by the release of the final version of macOS Ventura. Well, the concept should stay, but the senior vice president in charge of software in Cupertino promises something even better than what we had under Monterey and before.
Beyond this absence in the first beta, Craig Federighi justified the ergonomic choices of the new app by pointing out that the System Preferences were born at a time when scrolling was not yet common and required many clicks. We had to imagine an interface where everything is displayed in a rectangular block, without the possibility of scrolling the content. Scrolling a view is now a natural gesture and it is a much better option for settings according to the SVP, which thus justifies the direction taken by Apple.
In fact, the primary goal apparently wasn’t even to replicate the iOS Settings app on the Mac. It’s a nice bonus to help new users find their way around, but Craig Federighi maintains that this is the direction that was naturally followed by Apple when the company chose to start on a new basis for this app.