I recently "upgraded" to macOS Sierra (10.12). I understand that many people have opinions on efficient and aesthetic UIs, but I personally hate (and that is the correct word) a flat UI. If you like it, great... but is there a way for those of us who don't like it turn it off?

I'm guessing the answer is no - and I've gone through every preference and option I can think might have any bearing. My Google search didn't turn up anything, either... but there's always a chance that I'm missing something.

If it helps an answer, feel free to get technical: I've been using Apple since the mid-80s, and computers before that; I've been working as a Software Engineer for decades (I'd prefer not to admit how long), and the command line doesn't bother me. (Yes, yes, I understand that I've asked for a non-flat UI and use the command line. It's not really hypocrisy... technically.)

Tl; DR Is there an option/method to turn off the flat UI in MacOS Sierra (10.12)?

  • 1
    Short Answer - I don't think you can turn off the flat UI.
    – Jash Jacob
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 5:46
  • Install Gentoo. Commented May 8, 2017 at 11:46
  • Which version of Mac OS X did you have before? TheUI has been flat since Yosemite.
    – lhf
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 11:56
  • @lhf I "may" have skipped a few versions... At work, so I can't verify, but pretty sure I was the one right before Yosemite.
    – Ghotir
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


No, you can't revert back to the UI of previous versions of OS X with Apple's tools.

You can, however, make the UI elements stand out more.

macOS Sierra: Increase the UI's contrast

  1. Open System Preferences > Accessibility > Display
  2. Tick the checkbox "Increase contrast"

Increase Contrast image


Increase contrast

Increase the contrast of items on the screen (such as borders around buttons or boxes) without changing the contrast of the screen itself.

Source: Apple.com

  • I'm at work at the moment, but I'll check tonight: this definitely sounds like it should fix (or at least help) my complaint. If so, I'll mark this as the accepted answer. Fingers crossed...
    – Ghotir
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:02
  • 2
    It's still a flat UI... but it's got contrast, and that's lightyears better than it was. Thanks!
    – Ghotir
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 0:01

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