I'm looking to write a paper on how the OS X user interface has evolved from OS X Leopard all the way through to OS X Yosemite and am seeking guidance on where to find older versions of the OS X Human Interface Guidelines documentation.

The following data should aid in the search in the circumstance that navigating the WayBack Machine in the event that that is the only viable option.

  • OS X 10.5 Leopard Release Date: October 26, 2007
  • OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Release Date: August 28, 2009
  • OS X 10.7 Lion Release Date: July 20, 2011
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Release Date: July 25, 2012
  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks Release Date: October 22, 2013
  • OS X 10.10 Yosemite Release Date: October 16, 2014

Any help in finding these documents would be greatly appreciated.

If there's not a complete link to them, perhaps several answers could point to each or one answer be maintained to point to them all.

  • Have you tried contacting Apple directly? – user24601 May 29 '15 at 18:35
  • How does the release date of the OS relate to if and when Apple revises the OS X HIG? Do you have a developer account (as these are developer resources and that would be my first stop to accumulate them)? – bmike May 29 '15 at 22:19
  • @bmike you're right, the two aren't necessarily related. As for the developer resources, all I seem to be able to access are the Docs pertaining to Yosemite. – bjenks22446 May 30 '15 at 2:54

It wasn't easy, but I think I got all of them.













  • 3
    It's disappointing that the widely respected pre-Yosemite guidelines are not in Apple's Retired Document Library. Additionally: the guidelines for Yosemite were, to the best of my knowledge, not made available to AppleSeed testers of pre-release Yosemite until after testing ended; so I was doubly disappointed. – Graham Perrin Jul 16 '16 at 1:23
  • 4
    Thank you @GrahamPerrin for the generous bounty and bjenks22446 for doing amazing digital archivist /librarian duty – bmike Jan 12 '19 at 14:17
  • See my addendum below. – john c. j. Nov 6 '19 at 11:51

Introduction (HTML):

Saved 49 times between August 5, 2011 and June 14, 2016.

– and at the time of writing, the earliest capture presents a page with a suggestion of 1,613 captures over a more extensive period, beginning 2010-09-09.

The PDF versions linked from the accepted answer provide a more useful way of comparing versions of the Guidelines at points in time.

Side note: from http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1979059/ it seems that for a while, captures such as http://web.archive.org/web/20140815012123/https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/userexperience/conceptual/applehiguidelines/Windows/Windows.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/20000961-SW13 (OS X Human Interface Guidelines: UI Element Guidelines: Windows) were not available from the Wayback Machine.


The current OS X HIG is delivered through iBooks for free to the general public. Get it at https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/os-x-human-interface-guidelines/id930571558?mt=11#

If you're not a Mac developer, you might consider joining if that's your best avenue - if not, you might see if a local university or library has a technical research department and can assist you. Your idea to search archive.org might also reveal some gems, since Apple did release significant portions of their developer documentation to the general web and not behind the NDA portal that requires an account.

  • 2
    The only HIG provided by iBooks pertains to Yosemite. I was hoping to come across anything before the radical redesign. Also, as I am a part of the developer program, I looked there for the old documentation as well, to no avail. – bjenks22446 May 30 '15 at 2:52
  • 1
    @brianjenkins94 If you're a developer, you can ask developer support if they could dig up links to previous versions. It's there in the portal for the asking as well as a phone number to call if your first request gets ignored or brushed off ... – bmike May 30 '15 at 15:02
  • I sent in a request. We'll see how it goes. – bjenks22446 May 30 '15 at 21:26

Here are some other versions not in the other answers:

2000-09-08: http://interface.free.fr/Archives/AdoptingAquaInterface.pdf [archive link]

2001-10-01: https://archive.org/details/AquaHumanInterfaceGuidelines-Preliminary

2002-06-11: http://mirror.informatimago.com/next/developer.apple.com/documentation/LegacyTechnologies/Conceptual/AquaHIGuidelines/AquaHIGuidelines.pdf [archive link] [alternate link]

2005-09-08: http://www.multimedialab.be/doc/tech/doc_osx_hi_guidelines.pdf [archive link]

2006-10-03: http://mirror.informatimago.com/next/developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/OSXHIGuidelines/OSXHIGuidelines.pdf [archive link]

I know this question is asking specifically about OS X guidelines, but I came across it in a search, and it's one of the top links for "old versions of apple human interface guidelines." Here are some pre-OSX versions I've found:




Text PDF: https://vintageapple.org/inside_r/pdf/Human_Interface_Guidelines_1992.pdf [archive link]

Scanned PDF: https://vintageapple.org/macprogramming/pdf/Macintosh_Human_Interface_Guidelines_1992.pdf [archive link]

1995: https://apps.hci.rwth-aachen.de/borchers-old/cs377a/handouts/HIGuidelines.pdf [archive link] (and a technical Q&A from that year [archive link])

1997: http://interface.free.fr/Archives/Apple_HIGOS8_Guidelines.pdf [archive link]

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .