I got these ugly controls in Mountain Lion when I bought my MacBook Pro with Retina display. After upgrading to Mavericks the problems still persist.

Collection of UI problems

  1. Blurry drop-down list and other old-fashioned low-definition controls are everywhere (even in Apple apps such as iTunes);
  2. In Microsoft Office 2011, the controls used are different from what I see in screenshots on the web (with stripes in background, most noticeably), and I don't get the full-screen toggle button on the top right corner;
  3. In Firefox and Opera the controls are even broken, apart from being old. When I scroll the page the scrollbar gets partially stuck (see the picture).
  4. In Adobe Acrobat XI the tools on the right do not expand. If I make them expand by clicking the arrow and restarting Acrobat, the tools cannot be applied onto the content and soon the app loses response.

I am sure that these apps run in Retina resolution. But why (and how) do they get the old controls? Can I make them use the modern controls? I don't remember installing anything to change the look-and-feel of the system, but what might have I installed to produce such a situation?

1 Answer 1


All the problem (except the 4th one -- Adobe Acrobat) disappeared recently without me doing anything specific. At first all buttons except the colored default button are replaced with new button styles, and then the default buttons are fixed some hours later. Note that an upgrade to Mavericks does NOT solve the issues, nor any restarts or permission repairs do.

I installed updates for iTunes, iBooks, Mail and Xcode just before the problem disappeared. I also installed a Java VM for running Java applets in my browser, though I don't think all these programs are Java-based. This information might give hints on what actually fixes the ugly UI.

P.S. I just noticed some other changes in the overall UI. Maybe Apple is changing the UI in the background, without showing anything in the App Store?

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