How To Customize Your Mac’s UI In 4 EASY Ways



Spruce up your Mac with a new look.


There’s an easy way to customize your Mac’s UI so it looks unique. The fact that you can even customize the look of the Mac’s user interface surprises some people. Many think that Apple controls every single design element on the Mac. 

And while that is true for the hardware design, Apple gives macOS users a little more control over how their operating system looks. 

That being said, the Mac isn’t as customizable as Windows, but then again it’s much more secure, stable, and user friendly. Still, there are plenty of ways to customize your Mac’s user interface. While many involve manually tweaking elements or using their part apps, Apple has also built in some customization controls right into macOS itself.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the 4 EASY ways you can customize your Mac’s interface. And the controls that allow you to do so are all found in one place: System Preferences.

Keep in mind, that this article talks you through how to customize your Mac on the latest Mac operating system, macOS Monterey, so be sure you have that installed on your Mac first. If you do, open the System Preferences app and then click the General preference pane. That’s where all the settings are found that we are about to talk about. Now, let’s get started…

How To Customize Your Mac’s UI In 4 EASY Ways
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#1 Alter macOS Appearance

This first customization is the most radical. You can also do it in just a few clicks. Apple has two different appearances for macOS – light and dark mode. Light mode has been around the longest and it refers to the overall look of the user interface.

When Light Mode is enabled, macOS looks bright, with white and off-grey elements and a frosted glass Dock. Light Mode is the mode macOS comes enabled with by default.

Dark Mode has only been around for a few years, but many professionals love it. When you enable Dark Mode, all the bright elements of macOS turn black or a very dark grey. The Dock will also become shadow-like.

You can switch between light or dark mode at any time. You can also select Auto Mode, which will automatically transition your Mac from Light Mode to Dark Mode as the sun sets.

Make your selection in System Preferences>General>Appearance.

#2 Accent Colors

The next way to customize your Mac’s appearance is by selecting the color of the accents of various UI elements. These elements include things like the radio buttons, check boxes, and dropdown menu items.

To make your selection, go to System Preferences>General>Accent Color and select from blue, graphite, green, yellow, orange, red, purple, pink, or multicolor. If you chose multicolor the accent appearance will vary depending on the app you are in.

#3 Highlight Color

This allows you to choose the color the text you select in a document or on a webpage is highlighted. 

To make this customization, go to System Preferences>General>Highlight Color and from the dropdown menu select from blue, graphite, green, yellow, orange, red, purple, or pink.

You can also select “Accent Color” which will set your highlight color to match your Accent Color (#2 above). Or you can select Other, which will let you pick from any color on macOS’s color wheel.

#4 Sidebar Size

Finally, you can also alter the default appearance of macOS by changing the size of the icons in the Finder’s sidebar. This is the navigation sidebar that lets you quickly jump to various folders and locations on your Mac.

You can choose from small, medium, or large.

To access this setting, go to System Preferences>General>Sidebar Icon Size and make your selection from the dropdown menu.

And be sure to check out How To Hide System Preferences Panes On Your Mac! And check out How To Manage Share Menu Options On Your Mac!

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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