The System Preferences application is used to set many system-wide and user-specific preferences in Mac OS X. By default, System Preferences is available from the Dock, and will always be available through the Apple menu. Each of the preference groups available from the main System Preferences screen ? such as Network, Login Items, and Displays ? are called "panes." You may access individual panes by clicking on their icons or by selecting their names from the "View" menu when the System Preferences application is open.
System Preferences replaces the Control Panel system used in previous versions of the Mac OS.