macOS Design Themes
Four primary themes differentiate macOS apps from iOS, tvOS, and watchOS apps. Keep these themes in mind as you imagine your app’s identity.
People expect macOS apps to be intuitive, while simultaneously adaptable to their workflow through customization and flexibility. Many apps offer configurable preferences, customizable interfaces, and alternate ways of completing tasks. Windows can often be resized and interface elements hidden or repositioned. Tasks can be initiated from toolbars, menus, controls, keyboard shortcuts, the Touch Bar, accessibility features, and more. A flexible app facilitates learning through discoverability.
Large, high-resolution displays are typical for most Mac users, and people often extend their workspace by connecting additional displays. Apps can leverage this expansiveness and provide value by utilizing a wide range of interface components—like tabs, sidebars, sheets, and panels—and supporting immersive features like full-screen mode.
Macs are extremely capable in terms of hardware and software. Apps can harness this power to offer an extensive range of features and workflows that meet a wide variety of simple, advanced, and niche user needs.
macOS is designed to keep the current task clear and in focus. Visual contrast, translucency, and a large drop shadow make it easy to differentiate the active window from inactive windows. Interfaces defer to content and related controls. Throughout the system, adornments are subtle and appropriate.