Make Linux Look Like macOS With These Easy Tweaks

Guide to Make your Linux Desktop Behave and Look Like Apple’s macOS

One of the great benefits of Linux is how you can shape it as you see fit. There are lots of different ways to customize your own desktop — you can even change how your icons look! Macintosh desktops have two defining features: the application dock and the menu bar. And here will guide you through the steps to make your Linux desktop behave and look like Apple’s macOS. Here will go!

Basic Theming

Basic Theming

Before anything else, if you want your desktop to look like a Mac’s, you’ll need to install the right themes. A Linux theme called macOS Sierra does exactly that. To download it, enter these lines into your terminal:

mkdir $HOME/.themes

You may already have a .themes folder (you’ll know if the terminal puts out an error). If that’s the case, just skip this command. Next:

cd $HOME/.themes

If you don’t have Wget, just copy the link into your browser and download it manually. Make sure to place it in the .themes folder!


Icon Themes

The Gnome Yosemite icon theme closely matches the macOS appearance. Like application themes, the way to adjust them varies between desktops. The terminal commands below just focus on installing it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install numix-icon-theme-circle

This theme is based off the Numix Circle icon theme, so the commands above install it first.

sudo sh -c "curl | bash"
curl | sh

The second command downloads a script that automatically installs and sets Gnome Yosemite as your icon theme. If the commands don’t work, make sure you’ve installed cURL first:

sudo apt-get install curl

The Plank Dock

Apart from the Unity desktop, the other guides will assume you have Plank. It’s a taskbar that integrates well with the Linux macOS theme. To install it, type this command in to your terminal:

sudo apt-get install plank

After this, launch the dock by entering the ALT+F2 shortcut, and typing in plank –preferences.

The Plank Dock

Regardless of your desktop, this should start up Plank, along with its configuration window. In the Appearance section, change the Theme to Gtk+. This will make the dock look like the one in macOS once you make some adjustments later on.

The Plank Dock

If you want to hide that anchor icon, you’ll need to change a hidden setting. To do this, enter this command into your terminal:

gsettings set net.launchpad.plank.dock.settings:/net/launchpad/plank/docks/dock1/ show-dock-item false

Make Unity Look Like macOS

The Unity desktop is generally found on Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system. Since it takes some cues from macOS, it’s also really easy to change.

Make Unity Look Like macOS

As you can see, Unity already has a dock and a menu bar by default. All you need to do is make some visual adjustments. This is easily achieved using the Unity Tweak Tool, which allows you to change some hidden desktop options. Install it with this terminal command:

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

Having installed it, open up the tool by searching for it in the Unity menu. Then go to Launcher > Appearance > Position. You’ll see that the application dock has two changeable positions: one on the left (by default), and one on the bottom (like macOS). You’ll want to select the Bottom position.

Make Unity Look Like macOS

Final Touches

In the Unity Tweak Tool, return to the Overview menu. From there, go into the Theme entry located under the Appearance category. From there, select the Macos-sierra-master theme. Your applications should now have a very Mac-like feel to them.

 Unity Tweak Tool

The theme also comes with a nice wallpaper. To get to it, first hit Ctrl + L in the file manager. This allows you to enter in a location:


Here you’ll find an image named Wallpaper.jpg. Setting it up is easy using Unity’s file manager — all you have to do is right click on an image, and select the Set as Wallpaper option.


By default, Unity’s menu-bar only shows options when you hover your mouse over it. To make it behave like macOS, open your System Settings app, then go to Personal > Appearance > Behaviour > Menu visibility. Select the always displayed option underneath it.



Unity is based on GNOME, so it makes sense that both desktops are very similar to each other. As such, there’s not much you need to change.

The Dock

If you followed the instructions at the beginning of the article, you should now have a dock. However, to keep using it on reboot, you’ll need to add it to your startup applications. The easiest way to do this is through the GNOME Tweak Tool. Install it with this command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Open up the program by typing in gnome-tweak-tool to the terminal. Alternately, you can just search for the program in your activities menu. Navigate to the Startup Applications entry. From there, just add Plank. If it’s already running, you won’t have to search for it — it’ll be right at the top.

The Dock