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How to make Linux look like macOS Mojave

Looking to turn your Linux desktop into macOS Mojave? If so, follow along as we go over how to transform a traditional Linux desktop into something even Apple users would be impressed by!

macOS Mojave theme

Making your Linux desktop environment look like macOS Mojave starts by installing the GTK theme. Since the new Mojave update was released, Linux fans have created lots of different desktop themes to use.

Currently, the best macOS Mojave GTK theme to install is McMojave. The reason? It comes with multiple styles of the theme, so no matter what style of Apple’s macOS Mojave you prefer, you’ll be covered.

To install the McMojave GTK theme on Linux, click on this link to Gnome-look.org, download your favorite theme and install it to the system. Or, alternatively, if you’re not sure how to install GTK themes on Linux, head over to our in-depth tutorial all about how to install McMojave on your Linux PC.

Once you’ve finished installing the McMojave GTK theme on your Linux desktop, return to this guide and move on to the next step of the guide.

macOS Mojave icons

While the GTK theme is no doubt the most critical aspect in making the Linux desktop look like Apple’s macOS Mojave, it’s not complete without an icon theme, since, without one, the desktop will look very out of place and weird.

Much like GTK themes, there are dozens of Mac-like icon themes for Linux, and any of the ones available on Gnome-look.org would be worth a look. However, if you want a complete experience, it’s a good idea to install the Mojave CT icon set, as it is updated regularly and is as close as you can get to Mojave at this current time.

Installing the Mojave CT icons on Linux starts out going to its page on Gnome-look.org. Then, once you’ve made it to the page, look for the “Files” section and click on it with the mouse.

In the file section, you’ll see various types of icon themes, such as a dark theme, a light theme, etc. Look through the list and download the icon theme that best matches your McMojave GTK theme. So, for example, if you downloaded the light version of the McMojave theme, you should download the light version of Mojave CT icons.

To start the icon download, locate the blue download button on the right and click it to get it on your Linux PC. Then, when the download is complete, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, use the tar command to extract everything.

cd ~/Downloads

tar xvf Mojave-CT-*.tar.xz

With all of the files extracted from the TarXZ file, it’s time to install the Mojave CT icon theme on your Linux PC. To do this, use the following mv command below.

Single user

Only want the Mojave CT icons available to your user? Install it as a single user to the “~/.icons” directory.

mkdir -p ~/.icons
mv Mojave-CT* ~/.icons

System-wide

Need every user on your Linux PC to access the Mojave-CT icons? Install it system-wide to the “/usr/share/icons/” directory.

sudo mv Mojave-CT* /usr/share/icons/

Which desktop environment to use?

A lot of modern Linux desktop environments can be molded to look like macOS Mojave, but for best results, we highly recommend going with Cinnamon, as it’s modern, offers similar graphical and window effects, and is very easy to theme.

Most Linux operating systems, at this point, make it very easy to install the Cinnamon desktop environment. So, we’ll briefly go over how to install it.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu Linux can run Cinnamon, but not officially, as it’s not in the software repositories. To set up Cinnamon on Ubuntu, please consult this guide. It goes over in detail how to get the desktop working. Alternatively, consider switching to Linux Mint, as it’s Ubuntu with Cinnamon and a few other additions and features!

Debian

Debian gives users a Cinnamon option during the installation process, so it’s safe to say that the desktop environment is easy to get going. To install it for yourself, open up a terminal window, and enter the following commands.

su -
apt-get install cinnamon -y

Arch Linux

On Arch, Cinnamon is in the “Community” software repository. To install it, ensure “Community” is enabled in your “pacman.conf” file and enter the command below.

sudo pacman -S cinnmon

Fedora

Fedora has had a Cinnamon spin available for a while for download. However, it is also possible to install the environment using the dnf command below.

sudo dnf install @cinnamon-desktop

OpenSUSE

To use the Cinnamon desktop environment on OpenSUSE, you must enable a third-party software repository.

Tumbleweed

sudo zypper ref && zypper in -y cinnamon cinnamon-screensaver

Leap 15.0

sudo  zypper ar -qry http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/X11:/Cinnamon:/Current/openSUSE_Leap_15.0/X11:Cinnamon:Current.repo
sudo zypper ref && zypper in -t pattern cinnamon

Leap 42.3

sudo zypper ar -qry http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/X11:/Cinnamon:/Current/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/X11:Cinnamon:Current.repo
sudo  zypper ref && zypper in -t pattern cinnamon

Once you’ve got the Cinnamon desktop environment installed, head over to this guide to learn how to customize it so that the bottom panel is at the top of the screen. You’ll also want to apply the McMojave GTK theme and the Mojave CT icon themes to Cinnamon as well.

After placing the panel at the top, edit the applets in the panel to remove the window list so that no applications show up in the panel.

Setting up the dock

A big part of macOS is the dock. On Linux, there are a few docks to choose from, but the best one to use (especially when mimicking macOS Mojave) is Plank.

To get Plank, open up a terminal and install it with the command-line instructions below.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install plank

Debian

sudo apt-get install plank

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S plank

Fedora

sudo dnf install plank

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install plank

With the Plank dock installed, press Alt + F2 on the keyboard and write the following command in the launcher to access the dock settings.

plank --preferences

Inside of the Plank dock settings, find “Appearance” and change the theme to GTK+, so it’ll make use of the McMojave app theme.

You must create a Plank startup entry for the dock to start when you log in. To do this, open up the app menu, search for “startup” and open up the app that says “Startup Applications.”

Inside “Startup Applications,” click the + sign and select “Add Application.” Then, add “Plank” to ensure that the dock automatically launches upon login.

Change windows controls

The last thing to do when converting the Cinnamon desktop to macOS Mojave is to change the window controls from where they traditionally are on Linux to the macOS style. To do this, open up your app menu, search for “windows,” and open the app with that name.

Once in the windows app, look for the “buttons” app and use the menu system to change it so all of your buttons appear on the left-hand side. When done, close it and enjoy your new macOS Mojave-like desktop!

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