Apple Design and Hard Drive Icons

With all the work Apple has done on the design of the Yosemite interface, you’d think they could do something a bit more original with hard drive icons. If I look at the top level of my Mac, I see the following:


There are three types of disks connected to my Mac. The first is an SSD, it’s named Yosemite. Yet it shows as a hard drive, not an SSD, and that hard drive icon is just plain ugly. I also would have expected Apple to some sort of witty text on the label; instead, it’s this:


The second type of disk is drives connected via Thunderbolt; they have a lightning bolt on them (because thunder = lightning?). However, the two drives named Boot Backup and TM Backup are also partitions on Thunderbolt drives, yet they don’t show the correct icon.

The third type is USB drives. With Mavericks, they showed a USB symbol on the drives; in Yosemite, they don’t. Music Backup is a USB drive.

Finally, the TM Backup drive is a Thunderbolt drive, and it’s a Time Machine disk. So it should show a green icon, as it does in the Time Machine preferences; This disk showed the correct icon under Mavericks.


Notwithstanding the fact that several of these disks display incorrect icons – it can be useful to know which disks are connected by Thunderbolt and which by USB – they’re just not attractive. And there’s an incoherence between the Thunderbolt icons, with their white plastic fronts, and the USB discs, which have metallic fronts. And, that bare hard disk icon is just ugly, and doesn’t suggest that it’s an SSD. (And, by default, when you set up a Mac, the boot disk is still named “Macintosh HD.” It hasn’t been a “Macintosh” for years, and if you have an SSD or Fusion drive, it’s not an “HD.”)

It’s not a big deal; I don’t look at my hard drives often. I don’t display disks on the Desktop, and I navigate though the Finder sidebar, or using LaunchBar. It just seems odd that, with all the refinements in design, that Apple has ignored this part of OS X: they’re some of the last bastions of multi-dimensionality in Yosemite.