Use Google By Default and 5 Other OS X Yosemite “Fixes”

Justin Pot 10-02-2015

If you’ve installed OS X Yosemite How To Install macOS & Save The Installer It's really easy to save the macOS installer to avoid multiple downloads, and worth doing even if you only have the one Mac. Read More , you might be enjoying all the new features What's New In OS X 10.10 "Yosemite"? OS X is evolving both in terms of looks and features, and just like last year's Mavericks update, Yosemite will be another free download. Read More . Then again, you might not be.


More than a few Mac users are unhappy with changes in Yosemite – like Bing showing up by default, and transparency slowing down the system. Here are a few things that might be bugging you, and how to fix them.

Use Google By Default In Spotlight

Remember when Google and Apple got along, and Microsoft was the enemy? Those days are long gone, with Apple and Google’s fight for mobile dominance tainting what was once an alliance. Apple’s gone so far as to turn to onetime rival Microsoft to provide the search backend for Siri in the form of Bing.

It’s no surprise, then, that Bing also powers web searches in Yosemite’s new and improved Spotlight. But that doesn’t mean Mac users are happy about it.


Search for anything in Spotlight and you’ll likely see these Bing Results. If you prefer Google, there’s no option to switch – but there is a workaround. First, head to the Spotlight page in your System Preferences, and turn off “Bing Web Searches”.



You’ve now turned off Bing. To enable Google, install Flashlight, which lets you add super powers to Spotlight Add Superpowers To Spotlight With This Unofficial Plugin System Bring Google, Wolfram Alpha, the weather and just about anything else to Spotlight. Read More . One of the many plugins gives you quick access to Google.


It’s not a one-to-one replacement: you’ll need to specify that you want to search Google. The official Bing results show up among the search results; these Google results show up in the preview area. But if you want Google in Spotlight, this is your only option. .


Google remains the default search engine in Apple’s web browser, Safari, but if you’re not getting Google results check Safari’s settings.


You can pick between four search engines from here.

Shorten Spotlight’s Surplus

Speaking of Spotlight: many Mac users are annoyed by the sheer volume of results given by Yosemite. Happily, Yosemite gives you a lot of control.



Head to System Preferences, then Spotlight. You can uncheck anything to stop seeing those results, and you can click-and-drag items to change the order they show up in. It’s not perfect – the system could be much better at figuring out what you want – but at least this gives you the ability to remove results that aren’t useful to you.

Too Much Transparency Is Slowing Down Your Mac


Yosemite borrows that translucency effect from recent versions of iOS, and it shows up everywhere. Some people like it; others don’t like using up system resources for little actual benefit (outside aesthetics).


If you’re in the second camp, know that you can turn this transparency off. Just head to System Preferences, then Accessibility.


You’ll see a “Reduce Transparency” setting: click it, and everything will become more solid.


This improved performance on my 2011 Macbook Pro; your results may vary, but give it a shot.

Slow Notification Center

I’m a big fan of the new notification widgets in Yosemite These Notification Centre Widgets Make Dashboard Irrelevant The Dashboard is dying. Most users ignore it, and not many developers are building things for it. Replace all of your Mac's Dashboard widgets using the new Today view in Yosemite. Read More , but not everyone is. Part of the reason: notification centre is slower with widgets turned on, which is a drag when you just want to scroll through notifications. If this is bugging you, remove all the widgets.


Open the notification center, then click the “Edit” button at the bottom. You can now remove widgets by clicking the red circles beside them. Remove them all and things should open quicker.

Alternatively, the transparency fix above also helps notification center run better, so give that a shot first if you kind of like the widgets.

Safari’s Missing URLs

If you use Safari as your browser, you’ve probably noticed the address bar no longer shows the full URL; instead, it shows you only which website you’re on.


You can still see, and copy, the full URL by clicking it – this is mostly an aesthetic change. And some people like it, but if you’d rather see the full URL all the time just head to Safari’s Preferences. You’ll find the appropriate toggle under the Advanced tab, just check Show full website addresses.


Just like that, you’ll once again see the full URL.


Safari’s Missing Bookmarks Bar

Apple did a lot to “reduce clutter” in Safari, and another victim of this was the Favorites Bar. If you miss always seeing your favourite bookmarks, know that the old bar can be toggled from the “View” menu or by hitting Shift+Command+B.


What Else Annoys You In Yosemite?

It’s not all bad – there are more than a few great new features in Yosemite 10 Useful OS X Yosemite Features You Might Have Missed Ever since OS X Yosemite came out, everyone has been looking to see if they can find the features not so widely reported by Timmy up on his stage. Read More . But Apple might be overreaching with a few recent changes.

What do you think? Are changes like those above minor, or are they ignoring what their users want? Feel free to discuss this, and point out any other annoyances, in the comments below.

Related topics: Google Search, Notification Center, OS X Yosemite, Safari Browser.

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  1. Peter Nelson
    May 3, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    This is probably the worst implemation, most confusing, hard to use, and generally dissatisfied software I have run across in over 30 years PC use. Even worse than Microsoft Millenia. I would like Snow Leopard back.

  2. Anonymous
    April 21, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Give me back the Snow Lepord !!!!!!!!!!!!! Pat

    • Justin Pot
      April 22, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      I mean, you can still use it if you want to: no one is stopping you. I prefer Yosemite, myself.

      • Kinesias
        January 1, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        no, you can't. A lot of apps is only compatible with Yosemite and later.
        There is no freedom of choice with Apple products!

        • Justin Pot
          January 1, 2016 at 4:52 pm

          I mean, Snow Leopard came out in 2009. If you tried to keep using Ubuntu 9.04, you'd basically be able to run nothing. Windows stretches back a little further, but running Vista at this point is also not a good idea. So it's not like there's some other system that would give you the freedom to keep using old stuff.

        • Kinesias
          January 1, 2016 at 5:24 pm

          my parents have been using Windows XP since 15 years now. All apps run perfectly.

        • Justin Pot
          January 2, 2016 at 3:31 am

          Chrome is stopping updates for Windows XP soon, and I'm pretty sure the latest version of Office won't run on it either. Every OS dies eventually, and the fewer people who use it the earlier that will happen. XP lived longer than almost any consumer OS in history...

  3. Gregory
    February 11, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    I've tried a number of times to install Chrome on a 2014 MPB, only to get errors in gibberish error messages.

    Anybody have a workaround? I doubt apple would provide tech support to it.

    • Justin Pot
      February 11, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      I've never heard of this particular problem, what does the error look like? There isn't any special process for installing Chrome, is there? I thought it was the drag-and-drop installation process...