Apple Wiki
Apple Wiki
Not to be confused with individual control panels.

The Control Panel was a desk accessory which was present in classic Macintosh system software up to versions of System 6 (including System 6.0.8L and 6.1).

The Control Panel was the primary program on early Macs for controlling system settings and preferences. The control panels (note lowercase "p") as customizable panes were introduced in System 4 and became their separate windows in System 7. The main control panel settings were moved to the General Controls control panel.


System 1 to 3[]

Along with System 1 came the very first Control Panel desk accessory (DA). It was only one small screenful filled with tiny buttons and cryptic icons. There were no panes of any kind.

In one cramped window, settings for the following system options could be set:

  • system volume
  • date and time
  • menu blinking
  • insertion point blinking speed
  • keyboard settings
  • mouse acceleration
  • desktop pattern
  • double-click speed

By System 3, the Control Panel was enlarged with more space for controls and descriptive text.[1]

System 4 to 6[]

The Control Panel was redesigned in System 4 with a column of topic-based icons at the leftmost side of the main window so that settings could be set for each major, topic-separated item in a separate pane at the right side of the same window. The Control Panel could be customized with more panes by adding control panel files to the System Folder to be loaded upon startup.[1]

System 7 to Mac OS 9[]

In System 7, the Control Panel desk accessory was retired and all the control panel files were gathered into a new Control Panels folder, which could be accessed from the Apple menu. Each individual control panel could be launched directly to access settings simultaneously in separate open windows. The main control panel settings were moved to the General Controls control panel.[1]

Mac OS X[]

Mac OS X reintroduced the concept of grouping all system settings into one window. System Preferences lets users change system settings by using only the main System Preferences window.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Road to Mac OS X Leopard: System Preferences by Prince McLean, AppleInsider. 2007-10-24.

See also[]

External links[]