Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 4.30.39 PM

In addition to the comprehensive redesign, OS X Yosemite could have made a significant change to how the Mac operating system functioned since it originally shipped just over thirty years ago. The above image from a source shows a March build of OS X Yosemite that featured a Control Center panel. The panel did not end up shipping in the first beta of Yosemite and was not announced on the WWDC stage last week, but Apple definitely considered including it.

In fact, developers have located numerous code strings in the first Yosemite build that confirms Apple’s testing of an OS X variant of Control Center:

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 5.16.25 PM

The Control Center feature was first introduced as a slide up settings menu in iOS 7. While, in iOS, Control Center is simple a handy feature for accessing commonly used toggles quickly, OS X’s variant would have represented a massive shift in the Mac’s fundamentals. According to sources and developers who have located OS X Control Center references in the current beta, the feature was designed to replace the iconic Apple Menu in the Menu Bar. The Apple Menu is currently home to buttons to access About this Mac, System Preferences, logging out, rebooting, and shutting down the Mac.

Instead, OS X Yosemite could have placed all of those options in a slide out Control Center panel. Symmetrical to the new OS X Notification Center, Control Center would have slid out via a gesture on the trackpad or by the click of the Apple logo in the still-existing Menu Bar. Alongside features like Continuity and Handoff, Control Center in Yosemite would have brought increased feature parity with iOS and made it simpler for Apple customers to transition between devices. Control Center on the Mac would even have toggles for Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Do Not Disturb, like on iOS.

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Speaking of Do Not Disturb, it seems that the preferences for that feature indicates that Apple removed Control Center from Yosemite fairly late in development. A switch for activating or deactivating Do Not Disturb does not exist in the current build of OS X Yosemite, so perhaps Apple was relying on Control Center (as shown in the top image) for that function. To activate Do Not Disturb on the current Yosemite build, users have to use the unintuitive “Option + Click Notification Center icon” command. It is uncertain if Apple plans to re-implement Control Center on the Mac, but as iOS and OS X continue to adopt similarities, it is likely that Mac users will see the functionality at some point in the near future.

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55 Responses to “Apple considered ditching iconic Apple Menu for Control Center in OS X Yosemite”

  1. Reblogged this on Taste of Apple and commented:
    This would be a sweet addition to Mac OSX. Definitely would sync up well with iOS 8, while maintaining that Classic Mac feel. Let’s hope it’s included in the release version or in a follow up.

  2. RP says:

    Thank god they did not change it. One of the monumental blunders of Windows 8 was to hide things that needed to be blatantly obvious, easily seen and accessible, not hard to find. That is not good UI design, it is pissing off the end user and writing your own obituary. The MS “ribbon’ interface is another doozy of bad UI design.

    • I like Windows 8. I wish Microsoft had changed the UI before I switch to Mac. The problem with some Windows users is they are relics. They don’t like change. All they need do to display the old UI is to click the desktop tile. That would bring them to the UI they are most familiar with. Instead of ignoring those parts of Windows 8 they didn’t like they convince themselves they didn’t like any of it.

      • RP says:

        I’m glad you like it. You are in the minority. But the fundamental reason for change should be to make things easier. If Windows 8 did that I would be overjoyed. But Windows 8 makes simple things harder. Change can be great, if it makes things better or solves a fundamental problem, but Windows * does none of that. It tries to be they best of both touch and desktop on one OS, but fails at both.

      • Mike Vidal says:

        The biggest problem I find with windows 8 is that as usual, Microsoft moves everything around so much that it makes it that much more difficult to trouble shoot problems when they crop up, and, they never bother to fix all the swiss cheese holes the operating system has so you still get and the malware and viruses.. At least in a Mac environment, there is consistency of where things are from release to release, so the learning curve is no where near as steep, and, because of its unix base, is pretty safe from viruses and malware. Sorry, as a 35+ year Microsoft user, I finally made the switch to Mac now 100% and sandboxed all my windows systems in virtual machines, only for those apps that I cannot get or run on a Mac.

    • irelandjnr says:

      @RP The Apple requires currently require a click on the Apple logo to be viewable. This is the same thing with a different design. This is not a Windows 8 hidden corner to reveal a fundamental input option.

      • With current apple menu you can just click-slide-release. With iOS-like CC it will be click-release-slide-click-release, so two steps more. This is tiny difference but in the past Apple always tried to avoid that.

      • @Alex I think that you are looking at it wrong. Firstly, breaking down a “click” into two steps seems to be stretching it a bit. You are adding one extra click (one step), and that is only for the users who use the method you describe. Many people already use the click-slide-click method anyway. Additionally, this would bring feature parity with iOS. This leads to a more recognizable and familiar UI and creates better usability for users.

  3. I like this, but I don’t think it needs to be a replacement. – Two finger swipe from right to left, starting off the track-pad opens notification centre. I would suggest keeping the apple menu the same, but adding control centre as a new gesture. perhapsin line with the iOS gesture from below the screen upwards? Then the UI of the dock could be shifted upwards to give a detailed view of the open applications, windows as well.

  4. andreww500 says:

    Thank god they didn’t. Control Centre just doesn’t fit on a Mac, particularly if it’s just a dupe of the iOS version which should only be integrated on a touchscreen OS. Not to mention the fact that I like the menu.

  5. Apple Menu is pretty useless right now… Control Center would be a welcome enhancement.

  6. I’m glad they didn’t include it. The first thing that came to mind is the redundant controls for music. They had the music controls in the control center and yet iTunes is just right there to do the same thing or even the keyboard shortcuts.

  7. ttss6 says:

    How about a 2 finger gesture from left to right with the mouse on the left side of the screen to open control center?

  8. What the Control Center in iOS does is provide access to items nested in the Settings. On a Mac, those items are easily control from the keyboard: brightness, volumn, next/previous musical track. The Apple Menu however links to different functions depending on what app is currently forefront.

    • re: “the Apple menu however links to different functions depending on what app is currently forefront.”

      What are you talking about here? I have never seen the Apple menu do any magical transformations like this.

      I have five apps open now and foregrounding (not “forefronting”), each in turn does’t give me anything different on the Apple menu.

  9. Why not leave the Apple menu where it is but let us access it from a contextual menu from anywhere on the screen?

    • cjt3007 says:

      Like with a right (two finger) click, or a three finger click? Those are both in use for the normal context menu, and to get a quick definition of a word. A four fine click would just be ridiculous.

  10. tilalabubakr says:

    Control Center is a welcomed feature, it’s very simple and useful. Imagine reaching iTunes controls, “adding more space to the Menu Bar by taking on non-regularly used items like Bluetooth and some other stuff” and many other things that can fill the empty space in the Control Center.
    But It shouldn’t replace the Apple Menu which still has “Recent Items”, “Force Quit”, “System Pref” and “Dock Settings”
    A simple gesture “2 fingers L to R” would do it.

    • Not to mention “Sleep” (my main use of the Apple menu), which has no button on the keyboard, and no keyboard shortcut. With a laptop you can close the lid, but desktops still need that menu selection.

      • tilalabubakr says:

        I just don’t understand why some would disagree with having CC while he can just simply don’t use it.

      • on iMac i never click the Sleep option from the menu. ALT+CMD+EJECT = sleep

      • “no keyboard shortcut”?

        Well, take a seat and try these:

        (= sleep)

        (= shut down)

      • “and no keyboard shortcut”

        Command-Option-Media Eject (or the power key on Retina/Air) = SLEEP
        Command-Control-Media Eject (or the power key on Retina/Air) = RESTART
        Command-Option-Control-Media Eject (or the power key on Retina/Air) = SHUTDOWN

      • Look at the screenshot again.. “Sleep” button bigger and more obvious than ever.. as are the Log Out, Restart and Shut Down buttons. The only thing missing is Force Quit, Recent Items (which I have never once in 15 years as a Mac owner used) and quick Dock preferences, which are also available by right clicking the trash/folder divider in the dock itself. About this Mac and System Preferences buttons are still there right at the top. This isn’t a step back at all despite the “OS X doomsday” posts above. Its almost the exact same thing just with action buttons instead of a drop down list options.

      • Okay, okay, so I don’t know the keyboard shortcut. I was under the impression that if there was a keyboard shortcut, it would be listed in the menus like all the other keyboard shortcuts are. Sleep has an “unlisted” shortcut then.

  11. Apple, Don’t even think about it! Leave it where it is, unless you have a really good reason (from the user’s viewpoint) to do it.

    • cruikshank says:

      Wait, didn’t they talk about and demonstrate this at the WWDC Keynote? I thought this was definitely a real thing. Was I dreaming that?

  12. My first thought was “this is an abomination, how dare they?” but then I thought it might not be bad if it was implemented correctly.

    What shows in the screenshot though is just horrible.

    The music controls take up almost the entire thing and they are for most end users completely unnecessary. As are Airplane mode (for anyone using a desktop instead of a laptop anyway), the Airplay controls, the volume, and … well literally almost all of it. And even then, it’s mostly white space.

    A great deal of the things that would be on the Control Centre are already on the top bar too. Are they thinking of getting rid of that? Or maybe the junk that collects in the right hand side of it?

    And why would they make a switch like that anyway? Replace a discrete few icons on the top bar (which is always going to be a necessary part of the UI), with a giant ugly panel that slides in from the left? Why?

    Finally, in the end, whether it slides in from the left, or drops down from the top, isn’t it still basally a menu anyway? This is just a bigger, uglier, auto-hiding menu, with a lot of pictures on it and too much white space.

  13. The shortcut to toggle Do Not Disturb in OS X Mavericks is sliding the Notification Center up, you’ll see a hidden switch.
    I don’t know if it made it to OS X Yosemite.

  14. Thank God they took it out. I’m already miffed they messed with the dock.

  15. But the above picture is showing both control center and Apple menu together.

  16. You can Option+Click on the icon of notification center, to turn on do not disturb.

  17. I would find this article a bit more believable if the screenshot was showing yosemite with control centre but that screen grab clearly is not yosemite and like most others I am glad no control centre in yosemite it wouldn’t fit I don’t think

    • cjt3007 says:

      How do you know it’s not Yosemite? If it’s from a build from March, then a lot of UI & Icon changes could have been added closer to WWDC so they wouldn’t leak.

    • cjt3007 says:

      Also, the Back/Forward buttons in the Safari window in the background are clearly the same as the ones in Yosemite.

  18. Crew Miles says:

    Here is an idea, I like the possible control center shown, I understand some may not. So, why not meet in the middle make control center the way it is as being previewed here as the default setting in the new version of the OS and for those of us who want the old Apple Menu the way it is click on settings and click a check mark to revert back to the current Apple Menu as default. This way Apple moves forward in thinking different yet keeps those of us who prefer the Apple menu the way it is, a way to stay that way? Best of both worlds… Just a thought.

  19. The initial public beta of Mac OSX did away with the Apple menu and replaced it with a non-functional Apple logo at the center of the menu bar. Note also, they re-named “Finder” as “Desktop” in this version. The outrage from the Mac faithful heard round the world brought both back to their traditional status in the release version of Mac OSX 10.0.

  20. b9bot says:

    Removing the Apple menu would be a big mistake that I would voice against very strongly. It would be like removing the start menu in Windows and would screw up everyone’s familiarity which we know has caused Microsoft big headaches. I don’t want that to happen with the Mac OS. Let’s keep the basics where they belong. That’s what makes OSX so much better.

  21. I would like to see Apple replace LaunchPad with Control Centre. However, I don’t want them replacing the Apple menu. I personally never use LaunchPad but having a Control Centre that included all of the LP Widgets like Calculator, Weather, Flight Tracker as well as iOS Control Centre features like Do Not Disturb and Music playback would be perfect.

  22. PMZanetti says:

    Nice idea, but reminds of the critical mistakes made with Windows 8.

  23. If Apple removes the Apple menu, I have a middle finger gesture for that.

  24. “OS X’s variant would have represented a massive shift in the Mac’s fundamentals”

    -why so? its just a different way of displaying the same tools (including some new tools). And in my experience the Apple menu isn’t even used all that often.

    “Control Center in Yosemite would have brought increased feature parity with iOS and made it simpler for Apple customers to transition between devices.”

    -not if control center on the mac were to replace things like “shut down”, “restart”, “about this mac”, “software update” and alike. These kind of controls aren’t the kind of things an iOS user would expect to see in control center.

  25. You know I will welcome this if it is optional. Either have the classic menu or the CC.

    I want a place to quickly reach my “Now Playing” songs and to turn on or off airdrop/airplay without entering Finder. But for a advanced/professional iMac/Mac Pro/Mac Mini user this would be pretty much useless. I would find it more useable on a Macbook.

    What Apple can do, is to put out a optional beta version with the public beta of Yosemite this summer and see how the feedback is. Even people who thinks the idea sounds stupid might even enjoy it, who knows.

    I hated Notification Center until Yosemite DP1, I use it everyday to check weather, calculator and to easily write Facebook/Twitter statuses (Even tho that was possible before) I find it more enjoyable now than ever.

    It’s one of those feature some will hate and some will love and some won’t care. I can see how Apple did not show it at WWDC due to the possibility for a lot of negative feedback. For all we know that screenshot is over a year old and Apple has already ditched it a long time ago.

  26. Would have been an interesting change, although perhaps a little too Windows 8.

  27. “In addition to the comprehensive redesign, OS X Yosemite could have made a significant change to how the Mac operating system functioned since it originally shipped just over thirty years ago. ”

    That’s not entirely accurate, since OS X itself radically altered the Apple Menu. In prior versions of Mac OS the menu served the same function that the dock does not: Proving shortcuts to critical apps. Options like Shut Down and Restart were instead located in the “Special” menu, which was only accessible from the Finder.