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Make your Mac more personal: change how applications, your desktop and the rest of OS X looks. 

Mac’s aren’t famous for being customizable. Windows has long offered differing color schemes and themes, but OS X basically lets you pick between blue and grey. That doesn’t mean you can’t personalize OS X, however: you just need to know which software to use.

Use Flavours To Change Your Theme

I have to admit: I thought this was impossible. But then I found Flavours for Mac ($20), an easy-to-use app lets you browse a variety of themes. These change the way your windows, menubar and more look, system-wide:


I’d recommend starting by exploring the user-submitted themes, but you can also create your own theme, customizing the elements that make up your Mac’s UI;



You need to log in and out in order to apply the theme, but take the time to play with this and you can create something you love.

Turn Your Menubar Black

Want to customize things a little, but don’t want to buy a $20 app? You could try changing your menubar’s color.

The menubar, at the top of the screen, has has the same basic look since 1984: light, with black text on it. Since then black icons have been added to the right side, and the whole thing is now transparent, but the color schemes remained consistent: light menubar, black content.

Wouldn’t it be nice to flip that color scheme?


Now you can. A hack called Obsidian Menu Bar can turn your Menubar black (you’ll first need to disable transparency). Your menu will look just like above, but note that your app icons are still going to be black. Obsidian Menubar comes with white versions of most major icons, but actually using them requires some manual file replacement on your part – which app updates will break later.

This hack is for the committed, but if you want a unique look it’s a great place to start.

Use Custom Icons

If you want to quickly add some personality to your Mac, why not tweak your icons? You can find great looking icons all over the web, including these wooden folder icons:
wood folder icons
You can also tweak the icons for your hard drives and applications – it’s not hard. Read about customizing your folder icons Give Your Mac's Folders Some Personality: Change Their Icons Give Your Mac's Folders Some Personality: Change Their Icons Tired of all your folders looking the same in Mac OS X? Boost productivity and beautify your desktop, add custom folder icons for your most visited directories. Read More to get started.

Change Your Login Window

Your Mac’s login screen isn’t something you look at very often, but it’s also pretty dull – and there’s no default way to change it. But we’ve shown you how to customize your Mac login screen How To Change The Mac OS X Login Background Image How To Change The Mac OS X Login Background Image Read More using Loginox before, but be warned it’s not yet working with Mavericks.
custom login
You can also add a message to your login screen, under your Mac’s Security settings. I’d recommend adding a phone number, so anyone who finds your MacBook knows how to return it.

Animated Wallpaper

Android users love their live wallpaper, but those files aren’t compatible with your Mac. That doesn’t mean you can’t have animated wallpaper, however: Nerdtool allows you to add any Quartz animation to your desktop, including most screensavers.

For example: if you liked the animation formally behind Time Machine, you could turn it into your own animated wallpaper:
time machine wallpaper
Read more about adding animated wallpaper to your Mac Live Wallpaper For Mac? It's Easier Than You Think Live Wallpaper For Mac? It's Easier Than You Think Get animated wallpaper for your Mac. It's beautiful, useless, and fun. Read More , if you’re interested.

Add Interactive Wallpaper

Want your wallpaper to be more dynamic, but aren’t sold on the animated aspect? There’s a lot you can do. Kuvva, for example, shows featured art on your desktop Kuvva Shows Featured Art On Your Desktop [Mac] Kuvva Shows Featured Art On Your Desktop [Mac] One of the first things I do when I start using a new computer or after reinstalling the operating system, even before installing a different video player or browser, is to set the mood by... Read More :
Satellite Eyes, another app, turns your desktop into a custom map Satellite Eyes: Map Wallpapers Based On Your Current Location [Mac] Satellite Eyes: Map Wallpapers Based On Your Current Location [Mac] See a picture of the community around you, right on your Mac desktop. Satellite Eyes is a tiny Mac download that sits in your tray, determines your current location and puts a map of your... Read More of your current location:
satellite eyes
Wallpapers like this look good, and change regularly, without much effort on your part – which can be fun.


This one’s a little nerdy, but offers the most possibilities. Nerdtool, which we mentioned as a way to add animated wallpaper, also lets you add any information to your Mac desktop Add Any Information To Your Mac Desktop With Nerdtool Add Any Information To Your Mac Desktop With Nerdtool Add whatever information you want to your Mac's desktop, and make it look great. Read More . Some prefer Geektool, which serves the same purpose. Either way, you can show the result of any command on your desktop. I use this to add current weather, a calendar, the time and a quote to my desktop:
What you can add is limited only by your willingness to learn commands – or search for them. Enjoy.

Anything Else?

So these are my top tips, but I’m sure I’ve missed something: there’s a lot of tweaks out there. Fill me in in the comments below, okay?

  1. HotManBurning4Love
    February 28, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Wanting ability to have MULTIPLE Desktops and files IN THEM just as you would have multiple terminals in parallel, but have those ON the Laptop starting wherever the MAIN System was moved or placed.

    • Justin Pot
      February 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      I have to be honest, I'm not sure what it is you want, but from what I do grasp I think that there isn't a way to do it. Sorry about that.

  2. Jonnymoe
    May 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Don't forget bowtie for showing now playing information on your desktop from itunes etc.

  3. Mike
    February 21, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Still looking for a tool that would allow me to change all windows to varying degrees of transparency...

  4. Sarah Reichelt
    February 13, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Pic-a-POD is an app that downloads pictures of the day from a variety of sources and uses then to change your desktop periodically.

  5. Nathanael
    February 11, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    I have Satellite Eyes now- I must say, it is really cool. Flavours, I tried that, but at the time it was not for Mavericks so by the time it was, my trial had ended.

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