How to Give Address Book A Clean and Simple Look in Lion

How to Give Address Book A Clean and Simple Look in Lion

In OS X Lion, Apple redesigned Address Book with a new look that resembles a physical hardcover book binding. This type of design choice is called “skeuomorphic,” because it was, “deliberately employed to make the new look comfortably old and familiar.” Lion’s version of Address Book takes the old look and feel of a physical book and ports that to a virtual application.

While some may like the new look of Address Book in Lion, many have raised complaints. If you’d like to make Address Book look clean and simple again, we’ve got just the trick to unbind Address Book from its brown hardcover.

Before we begin, it’s very important that you backup Address Book in case anything goes wrong. If you follow the instructions, everything should work fine, but it’s always important to take precautions.

How to Give Address Book A Clean and Simple Look in Lion

To backup Address Book in its native Lion state, create a new folder on your desktop and navigate to your Applications folder and find the Address Book icon. Copy Address Book from your Applications folder to the new folder you just made by selecting the Address Book icon and hitting Command+C to copy. Then select your new folder and hit Command+V to paste and copy all of Address Books contents. The Finder will then copy Address Book.

Once you’ve done that, make sure you quit Address Book on your Mac. Backing up and then quitting Address Book is very important before you try to change the app’s content files.

How to Unbind Address Book:

Step 1: In your Applications folder, select the Address Book icon and right click. Then click “Show Package Contents.”

How to Give Address Book A Clean and Simple Look in Lion

Step 2: Open the “Contents” folder, and then open the “Resources” folder.

How to Give Address Book A Clean and Simple Look in Lion

Step 3: Download this zip file to replace Address Book’s hardcover look with an edgeless, minimal design. These files come courtesy of Egg Freckles.

Step 4: Drag the contents of the unbinding-address-book folder to Address Book’s Resources folder. You can easily do this by hitting Command+A to select all files to then drag over.

Step 5: Finder will ask you if you want to “Keep Both Files,” “Stop,” or “Replace.” Select the “Apply to All” checkbox and hit “Replace.”

How to Give Address Book A Clean and Simple Look in Lion

Step 6: You will then have to authenticate this action in Finder with your administrator password.

How to Give Address Book A Clean and Simple Look in Lion

Step 7: Close all of your Finder windows and open Address Book. The brown book design should be removed and replaced with a very clean, minimal, and edgeless theme.

How to Give Address Book A Clean and Simple Look in Lion

That’s it! You’ve successfully unbound Address Book in Lion!

If you’ve like to change iCal in Lion to look more like the Snow Leopard version, check out our previous tutorial.

  • Michael Black

    Ugghhh…I don’t understand why Apple just doesn’t allow users to change the appearance in the standard preferences menu.

  • Robin B.P.

    unbinded… should be unbound (even my Safari corrects that spelling!) … thanks for the article though!

  • netnerd258

    What’s so bad about the address book look anyway, it does make you somehow want to flip the pages to navigate, but that can’t be done, so in that sense it confuses, even if for a slip second.

  • Soho22

    Thats its biggest fault really. I would love iBooks like page turning in my desktop experience.

  • ggore

    Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t understand the absolute, complete revulsion and aversion to ANY look Apple comes up with for any of its core apps.    I find the look of iCal and Address Book to be just fine, they are well done and neither makes ANY difference in how I use the apps or how they work.   Customization is just fine, but lets leave it at that, please.  If you want a different skin to make it your own, fine, but I don’t believe the design is bad off the shelf in and of itself.

  • Allan Cook

    I agree with Michael. This should be a Preferences checkbox. Both Address Book and Calendar look cheesy in Lion.

  • Tortellino

    I have just restored SL and abandoned Lion as I could not stand the address book being a heavy user of the three pane functionality. It is really puzzling to see how they managed to make the already worse application in Mac even more abysmal.

    In Address book I would be looking to resolve at least these issues:

    1- Revert to original 3 pane view

    2- Restore the counter present for every folder to give number of entries in a given group (now you have to scroll to the bottom of the group to see it)

    3- Restore the icon to distinguish entries between companies/persons

    4- Offer the removal of alphabetical letter grouping as option

    5- Changing that horrible leather skin for both address book and ical (now possible thanks to article above)

    6-Allow font selection to facilitate reading and page display and reduce waste of space

    7-Option to display contacts in table view for quick bulk editing

    8-Show which group or smart group each contact belongs to on the contact’s page

    9-Facilitate the creation of a new contact from the same company without having to copy across most details such as website, address and tel

    10-fix the list printing bug issue (see below)

    11-more contrast please, everything is grey as one user puts it

    really seems they have given over the app to develop to some kids that could not think of anything better than making a book view. The long awaited table view for quick editing is still missing. And no serious apps to compensate for this in the app store, address book is a real disaster with Lion

    Apple has not even bothered to de-bug the previous version and replicated the same bug that has been around for over 2 years: if you want to print a set of contacts (company type) that belong to a group in list mode and you want to see the name of the person along with the company basic request!) you cannot do that. By selecting “Name” in the print dialog list, the “Introduced by” appears instead. This I have written to Apple about 2 years ago and told the “geniuses” countless times… Pathetic.

  • Elkin Tat

    the problem of course is not the “leather” cover or the misguided attempt to mimic a real-world object (in the sake, one assumes, of simplicity and ease of use).  the problem is that the bare-bones functionality of the address book SUCKS.  it is both harder to use and less useful than its predecessor.  being able to see groups, people, *and* their data at the same time is critical to easily modify and browse the address book.  now not only do i have a more difficult click-path to navigate my contacts, but i have to hold in memory (*my* memory!) the context of what i am looking at.  the old address book helped me organize and use my contacts.  the new address books makes it significantly more dificult. TOTAL FAIL, APPLE.

  • Elkin Tat

    the problem of course is not the “leather” cover or the misguided attempt to mimic a real-world object (in the sake, one assumes, of simplicity and ease of use).  the problem is that the bare-bones functionality of the address book SUCKS.  it is both harder to use and less useful than its predecessor.  being able to see groups, people, *and* their data at the same time is critical to easily modify and browse the address book.  now not only do i have a more difficult click-path to navigate my contacts, but i have to hold in memory (*my* memory!) the context of what i am looking at.  the old address book helped me organize and use my contacts.  the new address books makes it significantly more dificult. TOTAL FAIL, APPLE.

  • Cherie Rojas

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentHub.com

  • Brian Moore

    AWESOME thx

  • jameskachan

    It’s awful visual clutter aesthetically and functionally, both it and iCal have been made worse. Not only do they look cheesy, they also now require more clicks, and have had  interface options removed that were used quite often.
    The apps were just fine before, they work in Lion, but do not work well.

    This is bad interface design through and through. It also, is entirely out of feel with what Apple should be. Note, how the new Mail app has none of this cheese and excess. With the approach to the redesign of it being well thought out. And if you dont like it, can adjust text size, threading, even revert back to the split down the middle. The new Mail.app is strong.

    iCal and Address Book upset me so much every time I use my computer.

  • shucai45
  • Robert Franssen

    Does this fix of the interface allow for resizing to fit full screen even just with handles?

  • Robert Franssen

    Does this fix of the interface allow for resizing to fit full screen even just with handles?

  • Pratyush Tewari

    How can I keep the groups page always displayed.
    Its very annoying and difficult to keep track of the contacts groups if you are very organized!

  • Jan

    Just found a better way to get back a 3-pane-addressbook – based on OSX address book database and therefore fully functional with iCloud etc.. Just released – a new app in your Mac’s App Store: “Addresses” 

  • kolokol

    The zip file page shows “not found”

  • greg30577

    Please please send complaint to Apple. If enough people complain Apple (sometimes) listens. Go to:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/

  • GD_Sea

    Here’s link location for ZIP file:
    http://www.eggfreckles.net/downloads/unbinding-address-book.zip

    Searched Thomas Brand’s archive and found page here:
    http://www.eggfreckles.net/notes/unbinding-address-book/

    peace
    GD_Sea

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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