Blog Post

Your Favorite Snow Leopard UI Changes

Now that many of us have upgraded to Snow Leopard, I would like to start a forum where you can share your favorite UI changes. Use Command + Shift + 3, Command + Shift + 4, a third party screenshot capture tool, or links to your favorite photo sharing site. I’ll start it off with my favorites.


Below is a screenshot of a new Expose feature in Snow Leopard. I opened six Safari windows and simply clicked on the Safari dock icon for a second. The dock icon lights up while the rest of the dock darkens. Very fast. Very slick.



Next is the new Airport menu. We finally have signal strength next to the network name. Before, a third-party tool was required for this.



Honestly, I have never used the Services feature in the Finder. It’s cluttered and confusing. Now, it’s smart enough to know what I want to do and provide the correct options. A more thorough write up of the new Services feature is coming to TheAppleBlog shortly.


Leave a comment with links to screenshots of your favorite UI changes in Snow Leopard!

35 Responses to “Your Favorite Snow Leopard UI Changes”

  1. Catmanrog

    Drag Macintosh HD on desktop next to trash can on the Dock to produce stacks of everything. In options, I prefer to use List rather than Fan, Grid, or Automatic. Snow Leopard does this much snappier than before. Just an old guy way to use this great MBP…. :-)

  2. With multiple monitors, expose now displays windows in their respective monitors – instead of bringing them all into the main monitor (as in 10.5).

    Expose also shows you minimised windows, which is nice.

    • perhaps you’re right – but I could swear this wasn’t the case… I’ll know tomorrow when my time machine has reverted me back to 10.5.8 (!) Despite great success upgrading, 1 out 5 macs here – my music production machine – just isn’t ready for 10.6.

      I got carried away doing the upgrade – thank god for backups.

    • Martin – perhaps you’re right – but I could swear this wasn’t the case… I’ll know tomorrow when my time machine has reverted me back to 10.5.8 (!) Despite great success upgrading, 1 out 5 macs here – my music production machine – just isn’t ready for 10.6.

      I got carried away doing the upgrade – thank god for backups.

  3. @Rob Oakes – it could be that your display was still calibrated at 1.8 gamma (the default setting up for macs till leopard, unless i’m mistaken). this was changed to 2.2 with snow leopard as that’s the prevailing setting for the web and in windows. so in that case, the increased vibrance you observe would be consistent. i have had my display recalibrated at 2.2 for quite some time now.

    @roz – i agree – the rectangular selection tool in preview now shows you pixel dimensions at last. not sure if these were there before, but you can also constrain the selection tool to a square by holding down the shift key, and resize the selection symmetrically with the option key.

  4. I HATE the buttons within the stack grids where you can walk though the different folders like on an iPhone screen. for god’s sake has everything look like the iPhone UI on the desktop? these buttons don’t fit at all.

  5. But I still cannot change the color of my folders like OS9!! :( and in fact the Leopard folders are still butt ugly … but I have to say the Snowy cat is snappier across the board!!!

  6. It boggles my mind that no one is talking about the new interface for scanning.

    If you have a scanning printer open the printer monitor app and see a new button on the far right for scanning. There you can control your scanner and bypass the junky software that came with the scanner. The same interface is in Preview “import from scanner” and Image Capture. It’s brilliant and much nicer to use than the crap that HP bundled. Seems like this is an API that any app can use.

    I was really impressed when using a scanner with document feeding. You get a nice multipage PDF, previewed in coverflow – it’s pretty sweet.

    The other area that I think is huge is the development of Preview. I’m not a graphic artist but I often need to make comments on a UI or document. I used to use something like Fireworks for this but I could now do it all in Preview using annotation. It’s actually a quite amazing document handling app if you think about it. You can combine PDF, scans, screen grabs and package them all into a document with drag and drop. I use it a lot and its great that Apple keeps expanding the usefulness of this app.

  7. @debug : Really? I’ve experienced just the opposite. Since the upgrade, everything seems to be more vibrant. It’s actually rather nice, since I’ve long considered Mac OS X to have a washed out appearance. I much prefer the vibrant feeling desktop.

  8. though it’s more of a cosmetic issue than anything else, i’ve not heard anyone mention that toolbar gradients (including especially the x/-/+ buttons) are all significantly paler now in snow leopard, lighter than even that in itunes 8, which was itself already noticeably lighter than the leopard gui. (i confirmed this comparing 10.6 and screenshots of 10.5.8 using the digitalcolor meter.)

    overall, despite calibrations being adjusted now to 2.2gamma/65k, everything onscreen, from app icons in the dock to colors of window panes and toolbars, appear just a tad washed out. and i can’t seem to make any adjustments to restore the contrast or color saturation to before the upgrade.

    • I also am experiencing the “washed out look” using Snow Leopard. I’ve always calibrated my monitors to 2.2 gamma / 65k. I’ve noticed that iTunes 9 when installed in Leopard 10.5 also exhibits the washed out GUI, so it seems to me that the GUI have changed? In Snow Leopard the active window toolbar and borders are much lighter, on first glance I can’t tell which window is active compared to non-active windows. I’ve tried re-calibrating using Monaco Optix Pro… nothing I’ve done seems to fix the problem. I cloned back to Leopard 10.5 until there is either a fix or a workaround.

    • I have the same issue and I’ve noticed one thing, Quicktime X has vibrant colors compared to the rest of the OS, just compare Quicktime’s Close/Minimize buttons to the rest of the OS. Or maybe it’s just me then…

  9. Tm Puranen

    I just stumbled on a new feature that no one is talking about!

    and, actually I think it’s awesome.

    If you look at your dock preferences, you have the ability to select “minimize windows into application icon”

    Maybe it’s not that useful if you need that visual of a window in your dock, but I think it deserves a little more attention.

    • Once I figured out where the was located and deleted it, the mostly useless Services menu didn’t bother me as much.

      BTW David, like helmsb, I can still read all your wireless network names.

    • Adam Jackson

      Exactly Services looked like crap in 10.1 and it still looked like crap 9 years later in 10.5.8.

      It’s going to take a long time before I get in the habit of visiting it.