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How to Disable the Focus Ring Animation in Mac OS X

Mac focus ring animation gif

One of the most subtle animations found in Mac OS X and macOS is known as the “focus ring animation”, which is a sort of zooming highlight around where ever the cursor focus goes in a text book. Many users likely haven’t even noticed it, it’s that subtle. If you have no idea what the animated focus ring is, the animated GIF in this article shows what it looks like when selecting the Safari URL bar. 

Basically you see the focus ring animation on a Mac anytime a text entry box is selected, and if you use Tab to move keyboard focus somewhere with a lot of form fields, you’ll be seeing a lot of the focus ring animation.

Despite most Mac users not even noticing the focus ring animation, some Mac users may not like it. But some Mac users don’t like it at all, and consider it to be unnecessary eye candy or distracting. For users who do not want to see the focus ring animation anymore, they can disable it with a defaults write command.

Disable Focus Ring Animation in Mac OS X

Open Terminal as usual and enter the following defaults command string to disable the focus ring animation throughout Mac OS X:

defaults write -globalDomain NSUseAnimatedFocusRing -bool NO

Enable the Focus Ring Animation in Mac OS X (the default)

To re-enable the animated focus ring eye candy effect, simply delete the defaults string, or sitch NO to YES

defaults write -globalDomain NSUseAnimatedFocusRing -bool YES

You’ll want to quit all apps and relaunch them, or restart the Mac for changes to take effect everywhere that the animation ring is used.