Basic Apple Guy’s Prescient Reimagining of System Preferences on MacOS

Back in February, Basic Apple Guy wrote this terrific post, proposing that System Preferences on MacOS ought to be renamed Settings, to match iOS/iPadOS/WatchOS/tvOS, and redesigned from the ground up to follow iOS’s scrolling-list layout. And then he went further and designed a few detailed mockups to show what he was thinking.

I was going to link to it back then, with a comment along the lines of “This sounds like a fine idea in theory, and his mockups do look great, but I think in practice it’d be a bad idea.” But then I thought maybe I should go into detail about why I think it would be a bad idea. And, well, I never got around to turning my notes from that into an actual article — I wound up not even linking to Basic Apple Guy’s piece until now.

Anyway, Basic Apple Guy’s suggestion/prediction turned out to be spot-on. In MacOS 13 Ventura, System Preferences has been replaced by Settings, and it’s not merely a name change, it’s a complete redesign with an iOS-style layout. Joe Rossignol at MacRumors and William Gallagher at AppleInsider have good pieces illustrating the new design.

From what I’ve seen in Ventura developer beta 1, I wish I’d just written that short “sounds like a fine idea in theory but a bad idea in practice” post back in February. But, after bringing this up during The Talk Show Live From WWDC 2022 on Tuesday, hearing Craig Federighi’s take has me more open-minded.