How to Disable Transparency Effects in macOS Mojave

In macOS, transparency – or more properly, translucency – is a visual effect many apps use to create a sense of depth by hinting at content residing in the background.


An example of transparency is when content behind a window shows through in interface elements like menus and sidebars. It's evident in the screenshot above, for example, in which the colors of the desktop wallpaper bleed through the sidebar in the Photos app.

A similar effect is sometimes used within app interface elements that are windowed, allowing window content to show through other elements like toolbars. An instance of this can be seen below, where the folders are visible through Finder's toolbar as if through frosted glass.

Transparency enabled (left); transparency disabled

The effect can look cool, but it can also be distracting if you're trying to focus on content, especially if you're editing photos. Fortunately, macOS lets you turn off transparency, but the way to do it isn't immediately obvious. The following steps show you how.

How to Disable Transparency in macOS Mojave

  1. Launch System Preferences from your Mac's Dock, from the Applications folder, or from the Apple menu bar ( -> System Preferences...).

  2. Select the Accessibility preference pane.

  3. In the sidebar, under Vision, click Display.

  4. Check the box next to Reduce transparency.


Related Roundup: macOS Mojave


Top Rated Comments

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23 weeks ago
Setting your Accent Colour to Greyscale also turns off wallpaper window tinting. Another tip to increase legibility.
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Does this save resources at all? I used to do this on my iphones back in the day thinking I saved CPU cycles and ram.

None of this makes any difference on modern computers.
Rating: 5 Votes
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23 weeks ago

Setting your Accent Colour to Greyscale also turns off wallpaper window tinting. Another tip to increase legibility.
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Recent betas remove the window tinting when using any accent color with reduce transparency enabled (I'm on 10.14.3 Beta (18D21c)). This is great. Tinting still remains in the dock, notification center, and alerts - no big deal, window tinting was the one that was really annoying.
Rating: 2 Votes
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23 weeks ago

Does this save resources at all? I used to do this on my iphones back in the day thinking I saved CPU cycles and ram.


I still do this on my iPhone XR (started with the iPhone 5 and iOS 7). It’s less about resources at this stage, and more that I’ve come to prefer low transparency and reduced motion.
Rating: 2 Votes
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23 weeks ago

I still do this on my iPhone XR (started with the iPhone 5 and iOS 7). It’s less about resources at this stage, and more that I’ve come to prefer low transparency and reduced motion.


Same here! I thought I was the only one that did this. I am so happy to have found Reduced Motion for my MacBook thanks to this article, all these years I had no clue it existed (same for transparency for Mac OS). I've used both since my 6+ iPhone and prefer it.
Rating: 2 Votes
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22 weeks ago

There's no accent color called "Greyscale". It's called "Graphite".

You still knew which colour I was talking about.

I hope you realize that's an issue with whatever third-party browser and/or theme you're using.

I hope you realise they were being sarcastic.

Stop being obtusely fastidious.
Rating: 2 Votes
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23 weeks ago
Does this save resources at all? I used to do this on my iphones back in the day thinking I saved CPU cycles and ram.
Rating: 1 Votes
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22 weeks ago

You still knew which colour I was talking about.

Yeah, I did. However your instructions are meant for someone with less knowledge than me. "Greyscale" and "Graphite" are simply two wildly different things in the macOS landscape. If someone actually starts looking for "Greyscale" chances are they'll end up in Accessibility turning their entire screen black and white. Try to accept a well-meant correction with a little bit more grace. Especially when a fairly small textual difference makes a world of difference in practice.

I hope you realise they were being sarcastic.

Hah, I actually didn't catch it so I'll give you that. Truth be told it wouldn't be the first time around here someone doesn't know where the bug is actually coming from and thinks it's a macOS bug.
Rating: 1 Votes
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22 weeks ago
Really wish I could get rid of this dropdown menu transparency, it's almost a deal breaker for me.



Rating: 1 Votes
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23 weeks ago
The transparency works backwards of how it should. The active window should be opaque, and the ones not in use should be semi transparent to fade into the background. I don’t understand the point of the way it is right now.
Rating: 1 Votes
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