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:
You can also tweak the icons for your hard drives and applications – it’s not hard. Read about customizing your folder icons 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 using Loginox before, but be warned it’s not yet working with Mavericks.
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.
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:
Read more about adding animated wallpaper to your Mac, 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:
Satellite Eyes, another app, turns your desktop into a custom map of your current location:
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. 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.
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?