Turn Off Annoying Special Effects – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 97Turn Off Annoying Special Effects

Call me a cynic, but it feels like OS X is a little showy with its visual effects. Dialog boxes and some program windows pop onto the screen from nowhere. This design mirrors the iPod and iPad user experience. On a larger screen, however, the effect can be unsettling.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they just appeared on-screen with no fuss, like they did in the good old days?

Here’s how you can turn off the majority of OS X’s visual effects.

Pop-Up Windows and Dialogs

To turn off dialog boxes and windows that spring out from the middle of the screen, open a Terminal window (open Finder, select the Applications list, and then in the list of applications double-click Terminal within the Utilities folder), and type the following:

 
defaults write -g NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool FALSE

Then log out and back in again for the changes to take effect.

To restore the effect, open a Terminal window, and type the following, logging out and back in again afterward to make the changes take effect:

 
defaults delete -g NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled

Quick Look

Quick Look windows appear when you select a file and hit Space. They show a preview of the file’s contents. You can stop Quick Look windows from springing up from the file in question by typing the following into a Terminal window (this change will also remove the effect of the Quick Look window shrinking back into the file):

 
defaults write com.apple.finder QLPanelAnimationDuration -int 0;killall
 
Finder

The change will take effect immediately. To restore the effect, open a Terminal window, and type the following (again, the change will take effect immediately):

 
defaults delete com.apple.finder QLPanelAnimationDuration;killall Finder

Mission Control

To turn off the Mission Control zoom effects that appear whenever it’s activated and deactivated, open a Terminal window, and type the following:

 
defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -int 0;killall Dock

The changes take effect immediately. Note that this also removes the animated effect of windows zooming out of the way when Show Desktop is activated (usually via the “finger spread” trackpad gesture).

To revert to the default animated Mission Control effects, open a Terminal window, and type the following:

 
defaults delete com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration;killall Dock

File and Print Dialog Boxes

To stop the Save and Print dialog boxes from sliding out and down from the title bar of each application, open a Terminal window, and type the following:

 
defaults write -g NSWindowResizeTime -float 0.01

You’ll need to log out and in again for the changes to take effect. If you want to reintroduce the visual effects later, type the following, logging out and back in again afterward for the changes to take effect:

 
defaults delete -g NSWindowResizeTime

Launchpad

A hidden setting can be tweaked to make Launchpad appear and disappear instantly. To activate it, open a Terminal window (open Finder, select the Applications list, then in the list of applications double-click Terminal within the Utilities folder). Type the following two lines, hitting Return after each:

 
defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-show-duration -int 0
 
defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-hide-duration -int 0;killall Dock

The changes take effect instantly. To revert to the previous animated effect, open a Terminal window again, and type the following two lines:

 
defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-show-duration
 
defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-hide-duration;killall Dock

You can also reduce the amount of time pages of apps within Launchpad take to scroll in and out. Open a Terminal window, and type the following if you want the pages to slide in and out instantly:

 
defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-page-duration -int 0;killall Dock

The changes take effect immediately. To revert to the default, open a Terminal window, and type the following:

 
defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-page-duration;killall Dock

Dock

The Dock can be hidden so that it slides off the screen when not being used. This saves a little screen space. Nudging the cursor against the edge of the screen where the Dock is normally positioned will make it slide back into view again. To turn this feature on or off, right-click the dashed lines between the main Dock icons and the stacks, and select Turn Hiding On or Turn Hiding Off.

To make the Dock instantly leap back into view when it’s needed (which is to say, when your mouse touches the bottom of the screen), rather than slide, open a Terminal window, and type the following two lines:

 
defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-delay -float 0
 
defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -int 0;killall Dock

To revert to the default sliding effect, open a Terminal window, and type the following two lines:

 
defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-delay
 
defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier;killall Dock