Remember the Dashboard? It was the marquee feature of Mac OS X Tiger back in 2005, but these days basically no one uses it. Yet it’s still part of macOS Mojave.
We published an article explaining how to disable the Dashboard back in 2013—if my calculations are correct, that’s five years ago. Apple has since turned Dashboard off by default, but it’s still there: you can enable it in System Preferences > System Preferences, which is pretty strange but also kind of wonderful.
Even weirder, Dashboard is more-or-less frozen in time, looking exactly the same now as it did back when Apple was still obsessed with skeuomorphs, which is software designed to look like real-world objects). Remember when the macOS and iPhone calendar app looked like a paper calendar? That’s a skeuomporh, and Dashboard still looks that way, which is really out of place in the modern macOS aesthetic.
Uluroo, a blogging kangaroo, recently compiled a collection of macOS artifacts still in the operating system. The article is wonderful, and you should read it, but here’s his thoughts on the Dashboard (found via Pixel Envy):
Dashboard is still skeuomorphic. This surprises Uluroo a lot, given that iOS 7 killed skeuomorphism completely on the iPhone five years ago.
Many of Dashboard’s built-in widgets have a refreshingly retro, though inconsistent, aesthetic: Stocks, Dictionary, Weather, Calculator, Calendar, and more all look like they’ve gone untouched since the days of Scott Forstall. The World Clock widget’s second hand moves in the same way as a real clock, rather than moving in a smooth, uninterrupted motion like in iOS and watchOS. Apple still has a built-in “Tile Game” widget. Uluroo wonders if Dashboard will ever be updated to behave more like the Mac’s version of Control Center, or if Apple just doesn’t care much about it anymore.
Apple has access to analytics, so they know if people are still using a given feature or not. My guess is enough people still use Dashboard to justify keeping it around, but not enough to justify actually updating it.
Uluroo points out some other oddities, like how macOS still offers a DVD player, even though Macs haven’t offered DVD drives for a while now. Mac users should really check out the complete list—you’ll learn a few things, some of which are really useful.
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