My System Settings layout is (very) wrong

Hi everyone,

Hadn’t been in System Settings for awhile, was halfway through trying to set up my ScanSnap ix500 (that’s going sort of ok) and went to system settings.

It’s a column w/ sub-info like going through page thumbnails and content now!

Is this some feature I missed?

I’ve poked around the computer and Googled the heck out of it; but I’m not finding anything.

I’m not sure what I’ve done (unless this was a silent “upgrade” during an update and this is “normal”).

Is there a “view” setting I’m missing and this is just some hidden preference? (I’ll feel silly for crying wolf; but better, if it’s an easy fix!).

I moved to the ‘hinterlands’ … Closest Apple Store is at least an hour away and it’s not a pleasant drive (was spoiled in Houston, had two-to-three stores within an easy drive plus lots to do near them and along the way).

Adding a screen shot of it (nothing secret in the shot, I think … y’all know my name :wink: )…

Haven’t re-settled into a back-up routine since I moved (about a year ago!) and I don’t even have a second machine at home to build a boot-USB and reinstall the OS (all is working and I could do a data back-up pretty easily). We have some old macs at work that are a little bit locked down and can’t handle the new OS; so those are out (I think) as far as helping me set up a “re-do USB.”

Some stats:

2019 MBP
Was mostly tricked out at the time (64GB, etc.) as I was beefing up “the last Intel model.”
Running Ventura (13.1), I think it’s all up-to-date
Happen to have CleanMyMacX and ran the malware check (nothing found).

Not sure what happened…

Any ideas?



Welcome to Ventura!

System Preferences has morphed into System Settings. This is the new “not-wrong”.


not sure this helps to fix the problem you are facing. I agreed that the setting app is a mess. I think the best way to navigate for now is to use the search bar at the top of the setting screen


The new “navigation” through Ventura’s system settings is the search field. I have given up on doing it differently.

Jason Snell called it a “mess” back in August 2022 and I think this was quite a good summary for this new “normal” during the Beta:

He closed with:

Shipping a broken Settings app is embarrassing. But acting as if it’s not broken would be unconscionable.

… and it shipped exactly like that when Ventura came out of Beta. I have no idea what Apple was thinking when they decided to replace system preferences with this new … app.

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Kind of had forgotten that the Ventura Preferences layout is absolutely absurd. Oh well.

I’m curious why people object to it so much. It looks a lot like other Apple interfaces – categories on the left sidebar, details on the right.

I know we’re all familiar with the old … panel? Modular arrangement? But I can’t say it made a lot of sense either: you have to wait for the whole panel to redraw to switch panes.

I don’t doubt that it’s frustrating, just curious why


I had heard a number of complaints about the new layout from people who were using the beta. I know Jason Snell and John Siracusa were two of them; there were probably others, but Snell and Siracusa have a track record on matters like this that I respect. So I was bracing myself for the worst.

Then I installed Ventura and waited for the moment I would start hating System Settings. It hasn’t happened yet. I’m not saying I think this is the best way Apple could have designed its new settings app. I’m just saying it hasn’t bothered me at all, at least not yet.

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I really do not understand those people complaining about the new layout of the system preferences!
It has a similar layout now to the one of the iOS/iPadOS system preferences, everybody (within the apple World) is using for years without major concerns.
And from my site, I really appreciate the new layout, as it is much easier to find a special function, you are looking for because I could scroll through the different tabs on the left side, and get an immediate information about the content, without the need to switch Forward and backward thru the different settings within the old preferences to search for a special function.

Some things are in weird spots and the General section is overloaded. Otherwise, it’s fine.

Any change brings out people that hate anything that changes.

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Haven’t we fallen into this pattern before? A few thought leaders, with early access to something new, hate it. We anticipate hating it, too. Then it comes out, and it is different, so we hate it. But we have to use it, so we use it. And we find that even though it is not perfect, it is useable. After a while, some even start to say that it was okay and they never knew what the big deal was. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I think the new design is the right approach in the long term, especially if we want more preferences exposed visually in macOS, but it’s not been a smooth transition. Fix the bugs/design imperfections, make search more legible and let us have tabs within the settings sections instead of forcing all subsections all into one long view.

These things are evident just from being a regular user of System Settings, too. No thought leading required.


Huh. I really like it. I found the pre-Ventura version maddening.

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I think some believing I was hating “the new thing”/“hating change” missed the part where I thought I had done something to break my system.

Googled a lot and didn’t find any articles about the change.

Was in a bit of a panic as I don’t have access to all the resources I once had. Am in a Windows-heavy work environment for the first time in quite a while and the macs there are old enough that they can’t take the new OS. I’ve been carrying my mac back and forth w/o using it (sigh).

I’ll get used to it.

Thank you to those who read my message and helped ease my fears!!

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