Apple released the macOS Sonoma update in September, which brought some visual improvements to the Mac ecosystem. Although it’s very difficult to run the newest version of macOS on non-Apple hardware to enjoy these changes, you can emulate it on a Linux system thanks to the endless customizability options available on this open-source operating system. In this guide, we have compiled all the methods you can follow to give your favorite Linux distro a macOS-themed makeover.
1 Install GNOME Extension Manager and Tweaks
If your Linux distro works on the GNOME desktop environment, you can install a few extensions to change its layout. To do that, you’d want to grab the GNOME Shell Extension Manager. Fortunately, the Linux Terminal makes this process a breeze. All you have to do is execute the following command:
sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-manager -y
Next, you should install the GNOME Tweaks app. As the name suggests, this is a tool that lets you modify the appearance of the Ubuntu desktop. Simply enter the following command in the Terminal:
sudo apt install gnome-tweaks -y
2 Add a macOS theme
Once you’re done installing the GNOME Shell Extension, it’s time to download and set up a macOS theme. You can either grab a theme from Pling or install Git and clone a repository from GitHub. MacOS Sonoma by BRAHIMSALEM on Pling is a great theme, but you can also download Linux-MacOS-GNOME by vinceliuice from GitHub, too.
- Download macOS Sonoma by BRAHIMSALEM from the Pling store.
- Once it has finished downloading, you can extract its contents to the .themes folder located in the Home directory of your system.
- The .themes folder may be hidden by default, so press Ctrl + H to make it visible in the file manager.
- If the folder still doesn’t show up, you’ll have to create a new directory by entering the mkdir ~/.themes command in the Terminal.
With the themes downloaded, you’ll need to install the user themes extension to apply the theme to the entire interface.
- Open the Extensions app you downloaded earlier.
- Head to the Browse tab and search for user themes.
- Press the Install button next to User Themes.
Finally, you can apply the theme to your GNOME desktop via the Tweaks app.
- Open Tweaks and head to the Appearance tab.
- Click on the dropdown menu next to Applications and select Sonoma.
- Likewise, choose Sonoma as the theme for the Shell option.
While you’re inside the Tweaks app, you can make the title bar appear on the left by following these steps:
- Navigate to the Windows Titlebars tab.
- Click on the Left button next to Placement under the TItlebar Buttons group.
3 Set up macOS icons
After applying the Sonoma theme, you can switch the Linux icons to the ones you’ll find in macOS. I’ve used macOS-Ventura-Icons by abhishek-zambare, but the WhiteSur-icon-theme by vinceliuice also works well.
- Download macOS-Ventura-Icons from the Pling store link.
- Extract the icon pack inside the .icons folder in the Home directory.
- If you’re unable to find the .icons folder, create a new one using the mkdir ~/.icons Terminal command.
- Open the Tweaks app and navigate to the Appearance tab.
- Click on the dropdown menu next to Icons and choose BigSur-Originals-Prime.
If the icon pack doesn’t show up in Tweaks, you may need to restart your system.
4 Add dynamic wallpapers
All macOS versions after the Mojave update have featured dynamic wallpapers that change depending on the time of the day. You can use the Linux Dynamic Wallpapers package by Saint-13 to mimic this functionality on Linux.
file for the Linux Dynamic Wallpapers package
from this link
After heading to the folder where you downloaded the file,
anywhere on the file manager and choose
Open in Terminal
Paste the following command in the
curl -s "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/saint-13/Linux_Dynamic_Wallpapers/main/Easy_Install.sh" | sudo bash
Once the wallpapers have finished downloading, open the
Navigate to the
tab and click on the wallpaper you want to add as the background.
Alternatively, you can grab the Sonoma light and dark wallpapers from the Pling store using this link.
5 Install the Inter font
The customizability of Linux doesn’t just extend to themes, icons, and extensions. You can even add new typefaces to the OS. Unfortunately, Apple’s San Francisco font family is still a proprietary product, so we can’t add download links for it here, but there’s the similar, free-to-use Inter font, which you can install via these steps:
Download the Inter font from the
Extract the fonts to the
folder in the
folder doesn’t appear even after enabling the option to show .folders, run the
command in the
app and navigate to the
Click on the
Text, pick Inter Regular or any other font you’ve placed in the .fonts folder, and press
6 Enable the magic lamp effect extension
MacOS has a Genie effect that causes an application window to shrink into the dock when you click the minimize button. The Compiz alike magic lamp extension allows you to set up the Genie animation on Linux.
Search for magic lamp and click on the
button adjacent to
Compiz alike magic lamp effect
You can follow a similar procedure to install the Blur My Shell and Quick Settings extensions. The former adds a blurring effect to the shell while the latter changes the appearance of the quick settings menu to a more macOS-like layout.
7 Customize the Dock
Finally, it’s time to modify the Linux taskbar to make it resemble the macOS application dock. You can install the Dash to Dock extension from the Extensions app for this purpose.
While this extension works well on most Linux distros, it’s known to cause issues on Ubuntu. As a workaround, you can use the Settings app to change the layout of the taskbar.
and head to the
group, click on the
Position on screen
Those are all the steps you can follow to make your Linux system look more like macOS. While your PC will resemble macOS for the most part, it’ll still run on the Linux kernel, meaning you won’t be able to get the complete Sonoma experience unless you set up a macOS virtual machine or switch to a new Mac laptop or an iMac desktop.