Simplify the OS X Finder to Look Like a Retro Mac OS Classic Style
Many years ago before OS X, the Mac OS Finder was much more simple. There was no toolbar, no sidebar, no drop shadows, and each folder opened in it’s own window showing you only the icons in that Folder. That was basically the default desktop experience from Mac OS 1.0 through Mac OS 9, and you can bring much of that traditional simplified Finder styling to OS X with a few minor adjustments:
- Simplify the Finder – Open a Finder window and right-click on the toolbar, select “Hide Toolbar”, while at the same Finder window, hit Command+/ to show the status bar
- Ditch Drop Shadows – Use a free third party tool like ShadowKiller to remove shadows from OS X windows and menus
- Use Graphite Appearance – In System Preferences’s Appearance panel, choose the Graphite theme to remove the color stoplights and dull down the OS appearance
- Use Gray Wallpaper – Select the classic “Solid Gray Medium” desktop background color from System Preferences’s Desktop panel
- Hide the Dock – From the OS X desktop, hit Command+Option+D to enable automatic Dock hiding, move the cursor near the bottom of the screen to reveal the Dock
Suddenly OS X Finder looks more akin to retro versions of Mac OS from long ago, and each folder will open in a new window too, behaving like Mac OS System 9 and prior.
Mac OS 7 and OS X Lion are now not so far apart.
So going retro is fun and all, but is there a practical reason to simplify the OS X appearance? In some cases, yes. Disabling window shadows and using a plain color background uses less system resources and can actually help to speed up older Macs, though they’d be best combined with some other tips to breathe new life into an old OS X machine.