Why macOS Ventura Share menu is bad

August 9 2022 by Jeff Johnson

The new macOS Ventura System Settings app has been widely criticized. I've personally written two articles criticizing it. The new macOS Ventura Share menu, on the other hand, hasn't yet received much discussion or criticism. This is due partly to System Settings taking a lot of the rhetorical focus — it's so blatantly bad! — and partly to the Share menu's relative obscurity in the system. I feel that the time is overdue for us to look critically at the Ventura Share menu, because some of the design changes to the Share menu are as misguided and bad as those to System Settings.

Here's the Share menu on macOS Monterey in Safari when I open the contextual menu on the Support link at the top of the Apple front page. (You can see "Sup" at the upper left corner of the contextual menu, where I command-clicked.)

Monterey Safari contextual menu

And here's the same thing on macOS Ventura.

Ventura Safari contextual menu

Technically, it's not even a menu anymore on Ventura, it's a menu item! And if I click the menu item, I get this… abomination.

Ventura contextual Share menu

Soooooo many things wrong here.

  1. It takes one click to get the Share menu on Monterey, two on Ventura.
  2. The contextual menu and its Share menu item disappear when I open the Share menu.
  3. Nonetheless, the Share menu is anchored at the now empty space previously occupied by the Share menu item.
  4. The Share menu refers to the Support link on the web page, which is nowhere near where the Share menu is visually anchored.

In short, the new user interface is totally insane.

Let's also look at the Share menu in the Safari toolbar. First, on Monterey.

Monterey Safari Share menu

I can navigate this menu using the down and up arrow keys.

Monterey Safari Share menu item selected

And here's the same menu on Ventura. It's not bad looking, but I can no longer navigate the menu at all with the keyboard!

Ventura Safari Share menu

If I want to navigate the menu with the keyboard, I need to enable full keyboard navigation in the Keyboard pane of System Settings. This setting is disabled by default.

System Settings Keyboard pane

And then I can navigate the menu… but not with the arrow keys! I need to use the tab key to go down the menu, shift-tab to go up the menu. Correspondingly, the menu items no longer get selected, as on Monterey and earlier, but instead have a focus ring.

Monterey Safari Share menu menu item selected

This goes against 20 years of precedent in macOS and Mac OS X. Forget your muscle memory, because Apple has just erased it. And for what reason? As far as I can tell, the new user interface is worse than the old one in every way.

Jeff Johnson (My apps, PayPal.Me)