Jun 6, 2014 — by: E. Werner Reschke
Categories: OS X, WWDC


Not much has been said about the Dock in OS X Yosemite. Tim and Craig briefly touched on the flatter interface and how the windows are more translucent — adapting to the “temperature” of the surrounding environment (via the desktop background picture). But there are other refinements within the Dock that didn’t make it in OS X Mavericks that will be part of OS X Yosemite:

1. Dock Returns to Its Roots — no longer 3D

OS X Tiger Dock

The Dock has lost its 3D shelf look and now is back to the same 2D look found in earlier versions of OS X. A minor adjustment, but icons no longer appear hovering over the thick steel plate.


2. Glow Indicators Replaced by tiny black dots

To see which apps are currently running there are little tiny black dots under each app instead of the white glowing orb. I wasn’t a huge fan of the glow-lights before, but don’t know if the dots will be more or less visible or helpful. At this point, it is a sideways move, more than an improvement. One would think a more distinct solution would be to have the apps not running shift into a semi-transparent state, making it easier to distinguish between app states: running or not running. 

3. Finder Icon: Is Yosemite Happier than Mavericks?

OS X Finder icons: Mavericks vs Yosemite

The Finder icon on the right (Yosemite) looks happier than the one in OS X Mavericks dock, while receiving a color shift. The long horizontal line that made the nose and separated the two faces — extending above the head and below the chin — is contained within the icon in Yosemite’s version. The icon no longer has square edges but slightly rounded corners, giving it a friendlier less 1980's computer look. This is also true with the thinner black lines and rounded edges of these strokes. The original Aqua themed glossy/reflective look is no longer present  within the Dock icons, delivering a more iOS look, if not a more refined feel.

Maybe it is all these changes combined that make OS X Yosemite seem "happier" — or maybe it is because the refinements put in play by Jony Ive are finally coming to light on the desktop. One thing is clear, the skewmorphic, 3D look and feel found in earlier OS X versions is gone, in favor of a cleaner, if not simplified, design.

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  1. mhikl ~ Jun. 6, 2014 @ 11:04 am

    Good points all round. Especially like your idea of semi-transparent in point 2. Hope you send the idea off to Timboy. #
  2. Brian M ~ Jun. 6, 2014 @ 11:58 am

    For many years I have used a hidden dock option that used translucent dock icons to indicate hidden apps (running, but the Hide command had been used) it still works in Mavericks (does require a terminal command - defaults write. do a google search, I found several pages with the instructions) #
  3. Wade ~ Jun. 6, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

    Personally I hate the 2D look of the Dock. Oh well. #
  4. Sascha M ~ Jun. 10, 2014 @ 12:51 am

    The 2D dock is the most ugliest design move Apple could do... #
  5. marine6870 ~ Jun. 14, 2014 @ 10:47 pm

    the dock looks awful and the icons look like a 6th grader designed them. look like cartoons. YECK! why don't they give us options to change?? Linux you can change everything icons themes etc and make your desktop an extension of you. imho #
  6. Mike M ~ Jun. 29, 2014 @ 9:59 pm

    The 2D dock just looks terrible compared to the current 3D version. The icons I think look good but not in 2D. They need to be 3D. Disappointed in the feel of these #
  7. Steve ~ Jul. 4, 2014 @ 6:28 am

    The seems to be a move to a UI that is: "CLEANER" but it's also more childlike. I wish Apple would utilise the power of there computers to allow the user more choice offer the look and feel of the UI. Add a small setting "3D or 2D"? The hardware is capable of the less "Clean" 3D look so give me the choice. #
  8. Robert ~ Jul. 10, 2014 @ 6:18 am

    I tried out the DP1 of Yosemite and the first thing I noticed was the dock, IT LOOKS LIKE A CARTOON!!! I have been using Macs since Snow Leopard and have always liked the 3d look of the dock. I didn't really need any dots to remind me which apps were open because I usually have only one thing open, my browser. With the new look of Yosemite, I think I will wait until somebody makes a 3rd party app to change the dock back to S.L./Lion/ M.L. /Mavericks look. As the Grinch told Sam I Am "I do not like them in a box.I do not like them with a fox.I do not like them in a house.I do not like them with a mouse.I do not like them here or there.I do not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham.I do not like them, Sam I am." #
  9. ibuick ~ Jul. 15, 2014 @ 9:54 am

    Apple's design is pretty complicated these days... If Scott Forstall had not been fired, OS X Yosemite will be more beautiful than what it is now #
  10. Taj Armstrong ~ Jul. 16, 2014 @ 6:44 pm

    However, at the end of Sam I Am, the narrator (your Grinch) says "I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am." Hmm... #
  11. John Pass ~ Jul. 29, 2014 @ 7:10 am

    I love the new design, I draw a lot of horses myself, and can really see the lines of the rear legs of the horse all throughout the operating system. I believe this signifies not only power, but the shift in power (from front to back) that has occurred at Apple. I also draw pictures of Daniel Craig, but that is for my own pleasure. #
  12. Miguel Esteves ~ Aug. 9, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

    Please, get back to 3D docks.... please! Ohhh Steve, I miss you so much!!! #
  13. Steve ~ Aug. 19, 2014 @ 11:57 am

    Clean OK and GOOD but I don't think it has to look so toy like. Toy Like NOT OK and NOT GOOD The computer can do both 2D and 3D shaded and un-shaded. Some people like 2D, some people like 3D, some people like shaded and some un-shaded. Why not give a choice a simple switch that could change the interface across the board? #
  14. Robert ~ Sep. 16, 2014 @ 7:03 am

    I've always loved the 3D dock icons. No one else had them. As Steve wrote: Some people like 2D, some people like 3D, some people like shaded and some un-shaded. Why not give a choice a simple switch that could change the interface across the board? #
  15. John Thompson ~ Oct. 16, 2014 @ 11:39 pm

    I have been an Apple user for a long time. I replace my laptop every year just for the pleasure of using their latest and greatest. One thing that I have loved in the OS was the 3D dock with the genie effect. It is sad that they feel they need to eliminate features that people love in their OS just for the sake of "changing". Windows is a much inferior OS but at least it allows you to change the look and feel of the interface. Apple should realise people have different tastes and should not force users to use what Jony Ive likes. He is a wonderful designer for hardware, but that does not mean he is the best designer for the look and feel of the OS. To me going to 2D from 3D is like going from Black & White TV after having Color TV. I will not be upgrading my computer this year if I have to live with the 2D look. I will stick with Mavericks as long as possible. #
  16. Richard Manners ~ Oct. 18, 2014 @ 7:55 am

    3D for the icons is far, far better than the new 2D. #
  17. Tom ~ Oct. 18, 2014 @ 9:04 am

    Can anyone rearrange the dock icons in new Yosemite? #
  18. Richard ~ Oct. 18, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

    OMG! The dock seems like... Windows!!! What's happening on Apple??? #
  19. k1lldash9 ~ Oct. 19, 2014 @ 1:04 am

    The dock is almost as ugly as this font! #
  20. Becky ~ Oct. 19, 2014 @ 5:51 am

    I've just installed Yosemite... and I'm seriously thinking about going back to Mavericks.... As others have commented - it's not looking like a cartoon - a joke... and it's on us! I don't care about bringing iOs and OSX 'together'... they're used for 2 totally different purposes... and you can integrate the services without ruining the look and feel of the system! At least I've still got linux with real docks... and there's always windows 8.1... which is more than 'snappy' nowdays.... Back to 10.9 next weekend! (Until they fix the simple things that make a Mac a pleasure to use!) #
  21. Bytebuster ~ Oct. 19, 2014 @ 11:01 am

    I think Apple is has lost its depth in design and idea after Steve Jobs. I'm in IT business for many years, but the traffic design of Yosemite looks like a sketch drawing of an OS UI while they are beginning to design it. It looks as if Apple would like to go back in time and design and retro OS. #
  22. Justin ~ Oct. 19, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

    Steve Jobs is probably spinning in his grave. Tim Cook = John Sculley all over again. #
  23. Toni Laird ~ Oct. 19, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

    At first I didn't like the dock but it has grown on me. Now I really like it! #
  24. F Ben Kautz ~ Oct. 20, 2014 @ 5:56 pm

    Apple, you have lost your way. The skeuomorpism was what made Apple stand out. The 3d reinforced the idea that Apple was real quality. Now the icons are a silly cartoonish outline. We visuals and artists were drawn to Apple by the esthetics as well as the function. Mavericks really screwed up my Mac. I took a chance and went on to Yosemite. The hash marks on the screen are gone along with the blinking, but now I have to look at cartoons. How about icons with Yosemite Sam as long as you are being trite. Steve Jobs would kick your collective behinds if he were alive. Leave it to corporate to screw up the true designer. You are looking more and more like Microsoft with each release ugh! #
  25. Greg Felis ~ Oct. 25, 2014 @ 1:57 am

    I want my old Doc back, hurry developers. It looked so much better than the new stand out, always there, in your face, child like look it has now. How old were the developers for this, bring back the old dock Please #
  26. Cry Babies ~ Oct. 27, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

    To all the people crying about something that changed: don't upgrade. Cool? Also the font used in these comments is 5,000 times uglier than any of the iterations of the dock mentioned here - fake script? Really? #
  27. Joberele ~ Oct. 29, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

    Clearly, the new dock look and 2D Icons in Yosemite, were all drawn by children, how else could such an unprofessional, toy-like look be explained? I will not 'downgrade' from Mavericks until I again have the option to install the 3D icons with magnification, genie effect, lighting and reflection. It was this salient feature, with all its attention to detail, that was the hallmark of Apple's OS design superiority. #
  28. RDub ~ Nov. 21, 2014 @ 7:26 am

    If the look of the desktop icons makes a difference in how you use this amazing tool and OS, then you're just not using it right. I happen to like the change of pace, knowing as a 25+ year Apple user that the aesthetics will continually change. There were people that complained about the transition from OS5 to OS6 also. No big whup. #
  29. Wade ~ Nov. 24, 2014 @ 10:48 am

    cDock. Get it. Use it. It isn't a miracle, but it's close. #
  30. david ~ Dec. 5, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

    Steve! Please come back in ghost form! We need you! Spook some sense into the people running your company PLEASE!!!! #
  31. Rick ~ Dec. 5, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

    We can only hope Apple will get their act together and stop downgrading OS X to a crappy operating system.. Until then, we have cDock and totalfinder to make our lives somewhat better. :) #
  32. Michael ~ Dec. 6, 2014 @ 4:08 am

    Interesting comments. I'm relatively new to MacOS with a shiny new MBP..and... I always thought the 3D icons looked too bubbly (especially in iOS). Using my iPad side by side with windows phone made the iPad feel old until Apple flattened out the UI. I like the change - feels more modern/sleek. #
  33. Suzanne ~ Dec. 29, 2014 @ 7:54 am

    For those design professionals who have used Apple through the years, we can see the difference in this latest "improvement"...and it's definitely a step backwards. Unfortunately, as Apple has been going after a greater share of the "home" market and the Windows folks, they are catering to people like Michael who said, "I'm relatively new to MacOS with a shiny new MBP..and... I always thought the 3D icons looked too bubbly". As much as 'less is more' when it comes to visually communicating, the latest designs take a step backwards by using flat graphics and microscopic icons (tiny dots and thinner lines) to portray the symbols used for functions. Since when is it a better communication tool to make things more difficult to see? Apple is forsaking the creative professionals who supported them through their 20% market-share years by dumbing down their graphic look and feel for the cartoonish Windows-like approach. It's a sad thing that the aesthetics of the computer OS interface are compromised to look more like our tablets and phones. They are not the same thing, as much as we are being led to believe they are. Wish I had been able to skip this 'upgrade' and wait for Jony Ive's baby creatives to realize that people with aging eyes also use computers. #
  34. Brian Taylor ~ Jan. 2, 2015 @ 7:41 am

    I tried Yosemite when it came out. Bad decision! I gave up cartoons years ago. Had a rough time and ended up formating my drive to go back to Mavericks. Not a happy camper! #
  35. Abraham Girt ~ Jan. 18, 2015 @ 5:04 pm

    Did Apple's dock get better? Answer: "NO WAY GET THE OLD ONE BACK, AND THE OLD INTERFACE!" #
  36. neycwby09 ~ Jan. 26, 2015 @ 4:51 am

    ibuick????????????QiYuanjun #
  37. Steve Griffiths ~ Feb. 6, 2015 @ 1:10 pm

    I hate the new look dock. It's bland, grey, intrusive, and gets in your way. The icons are crude and simplistic. If this is the way Apple are going with the OS X UI then I'm either going to stick with Mavericks or bail. Of course all you graphic designers will be loving this - but it really is a case of 'emporers new clothes'. We seem to be hurtling backwards to the 1980's Atari UI. #
  38. Nicky Scarola ~ Mar. 24, 2015 @ 3:13 am

    I don´t like it at all. All the effort from previews OS to look 3d, and now back to tiger like? and comics like interface. So stupid. and now, viruses, never happened in the past. Mountain Lion was the best OS, and what they did? ruined. #
  39. Alexandru ~ Jan. 8, 2016 @ 5:49 am

    Sign this petition http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-old-mac-os-x-design #

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