This article was updated on October 22, 2014.
With OS X Yosemite, Apple has given its desktop operating system a thorough graphical overhaul. But the company has also introduced some restrictions on user customization. One such restriction that has already been noted by many users is the disappearance of font and color options in the OS X Messages app. With the new Continuity feature that lets users send SMS messages alongside iMessages right from their Mac, the Messages app is more useful than ever, but far less customizable.
In OS X Mavericks, users could completely customize the look of both their own and others’ chat message appearance. Users had a wide range of options including font styles, sizes, colors, and backgrounds, allowing for truly custom looks to suit virtually every user’s desire.
In OS X Yosemite, however, users were dismayed to find almost no options for changing the look of their chats. The “Viewing” tab in the Messages app preferences is completely gone, and the only option for chat customization is font size.
Even then, there’s a relatively limited range of font sizes from which to choose, as demonstrated in the following screenshot, with the smallest font size on the left and the largest on the right:
Granted, most Messages users probably left their chat viewing settings at the default values. But the removal of a user-customizable option for seemingly no reason is disappointing. Here’s hoping Apple returns this feature in a future update to Yosemite.
Update: As pointed out by bryanpjones in the comments, turning off transparency effects in Yosemite enables users to once again modify message fonts in the Messages app. To disable transparency, go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display. There, check the box titled Reduce transparency. Now quit and relaunch Messages and then head to Messages > Preferences > General. Instead of the default slider, you’ll now see a new drop-down menu under “text size” that lets you choose any installed font or size.
The downside? You have to keep transparency disabled. If you change your Messages font via this method but then later uncheck the Reduce transparency box, Messages will revert to the default font and size options.
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