Customizing your Mac OS X experience

“As a designer, I like things to look good. This includes my desk, my computer, and of course, the operating system. That’s just one of the reasons I choose to use the Mac operating system,” James Dempsey blogs for Creative Guy.

Dempsey writes, “But Mac OSX isn’t perfect for me by any stretch of the imagination. I’ll skip over the commentary about OSX 10.1 through 10.3 and the ugly pinstripes we had to put up with. And when Apple introduced the brushed metal look of the Finder and many applications, I liked it… for a very short while. Now it just annoys the crap out of me. I probably wouldn’t mind quite as much if the ENTIRE GUI was brushed metal, but this mix of Aqua white, gray and brushed metal is horribly annoying to me. I just want to stand in Steve Jobs’ office door and scream ‘PICK ONE ALREADY!'”

Dempsey writes, “Thankfully, I don’t have to put up with it. There are plenty of GUI hacks available for Mac OSX. And I’m not talking just about the overall theme, but functionality hacks and add-ons as well. The following are just some of the GUI goodies I love and use.”

• Unsanity’s ShapeShifter: Siro and Eternal Aqua themes
• Uno: stand-alone installer theme
• Site: InterfaceLift’s theme section
• Site: MacThemes forums
• Site:

• Iconfactory’s Pixadex
• Iconfactory’s & Panic Software’s CandyBar
• Site: InterfaceLift’s icon directory
• Site: IconFactory’s freeware icons
• Icon set: David Lanham’s Agau

Desktop Images/Wallpapers:
• Site: InterfaceLift’s wallpaper section
• Site: Deviant Art

Add-ons for customizing (hacks):
• FruitMenu
• WindowshadeX
• FontCard
• Xounds
• Mighty Mouse
• Menu Master

• ClearDock
• Transparent Dock
• Onyx

Menubar add-ons:
• MenuCalendarClock
• YouControl

Services Menu Hack:
• ICeCoffee
• Service Scrubber

Also covered:
• Deskshade

More information and links for all of the apps covered here.

MacDailyNews Note: Besides using some of the above – Transparent Dock to name one – we also use PopCopy, SpiritedAway, and MenuMeters in all of our Mac OS X Menubars. What do you use to customize Mac OS X?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Why isn’t this in Mac OS X already (part 2)? The American Balloon releases PopCopy 2 – June 17, 2006
MenuMeters: CPU, memory, disk, network monitoring menubar tools for Mac OS X – June 05, 2006


  1. “Witch”. For when “command-tilde” won’t let you switch between open windows. I don’t even try the crap-shoot of command-tilde” any more – it’s all “option-arrow” (the shortcut I set up for “Witch”) for me. And it’s free!!!

  2. I like my Mac as is … this guy wants to stand at Jobs’ door and yell at him cause his Mac isn’t pretty enough …. how bout just getting down to work …. stupid article …

  3. The only addon i have is You Control Tunes which puts very handy itunes controls in the menu bar. very handy tbh and very simple. also very free. I dont want to pay to have shiny HD icons, so i leave them as they are, very pretty anyway.

    I agree, the rest is just useless crap, although i am guilty of having a look through it all to see if there was anything good.

  4. Tweaking my Macs has always added a dimension of fun to my work. I use a bunch of those things… but, then I was a ResEdit freak and colorized the Finder and made my own icons way back whenever.

    Transparent Dock is a good thing, because it actually speeds up the Dock quite a bit. Plus having floating Dock icons is cool.

    WindowShade X and FontCard are EXTREMELY useful. I’d not classify them as interface tweaks.

    iClock is another good addition. It does too many things to list here.

    For PowerBooks… er… MacBooks, SlimBatteryMonitor replaces the stock battery gauge with a cute colorful battery icon. Yeah, it’s actually useful, since it takes up much less menu bar space than the stock gauge.

    iColon (nice name, huh?) colorizes the Airport (orange), Bluetooth (blue) and Battery menu items.

    So, have some fun! isn’t that what Macs are all about?

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