WhiteSur: macOS Big Sur Like Gtk, Gnome Shell And Icon Themes For Your Linux Desktop

WhiteSure light Gtk Shell theme macOS big sur Linux

WhiteSur Gtk Theme is a macOS Big Sur like theme for Gnome-based desktops, supporting Gnome Shell, Cinnamon, Xfce, Pantheon, Budgie and Mate desktops. 

The theme pack comes in both light and dark variants, both having regular (with the sidebar slightly transparent in some applications) and solid versions

There's also an optional Plank dock theme for those that want to achieve an even closer look to macOS Big Sur. As a side note, if you use Ubuntu and want to disable Ubuntu Dock so you can use Plank dock instead, see this article.

The theme requires Gtk 3.20 or newer, so it should work with most Linux distributions, e.g. from Ubuntu 18.04 to 20.10, etc.

The same designer / developer has also created a WhiteSur icon theme that mimics the macOS Big Sur icon theme for Linux desktops. The icon theme is also available in light and dark variants.

I realize not everyone likes the look of macOS, or to make their Linux desktop look like it, so this theme isn't for everyone. But you have to admit it's pretty cool that this is possible. And believe it or not, there are quite a few people that want to mimic the Mac look on Linux, and this article is for them.

If you prefer Adwaita or Yaru themes, but you want to spice them up a bit, see:

More screenshots:

WhiteSur gtk theme
WhiteSur dark theme

macOS big sur gtk theme
WhiteSur light solid theme (there isn't a solid theme for Plank)

whitesur light theme
WhiteSur light theme widgets

whitesur dark theme
WhiteSur dark theme widgets

Important things you need to know before using WhiteSur Gtk theme:

1. With Nvidia graphics (it definitely happens with proprietary drivers, I'm not sure if it also happens with Nouveau), the Nautilus sidebar doesn't refresh after hovering over the items, making it look broken:

WhiteSur Nautilus sidebar bug

To work around this issue, the theme developer has created solid theme alternatives (e.g. WhiteSur-light-solid and WhiteSur-dark-solit), which don't have this issue.

2. Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10 users will notice that using this theme, the Ubuntu Software app is completely transparent and not usable. This is because Ubuntu Software is a snap app starting with Ubuntu 20.04, and this causes most third-party themes to not work properly with Ubuntu Software. 

Basically, any Gtk theme that is not in the common-themes snap will have this problem; theming support is under development for snaps, and until it's finished this issue will continue to persist.

A work-around for this exists though. Install Gnome Software:

sudo apt install gnome-software

After this, you'll see "Ubuntu Software" in the applications menu, which is the Snap Store that has these theming issues, and "Software" which is Gnome Software (which doesn't have these theming issues).

I explained this, and other tweaks, in my Top Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa To Make The Most Of It article.

Download WhiteSur Gtk and Icon themes (and wallpaper)

The WhiteSure Gtk download button from above has the themes already compiled (includes the Gnome Shell and Plank themes). If you'd like to download the latest WhiteSur Gtk source from Git and build it yourself, see the theme GitHub page.

To install the theme:

  • Gtk: Extract the theme .tar.xz archive and copy the extracted folder in ~/.themes for your current user, or in /usr/share/themes (as root) for all users. If you've never installed a Gtk theme before, ~/.themes may not exist so create this folder.
  • Icons: Extract the theme .tar.xz archive and copy the extracted folder in ~/.icons for your current user, or in /usr/share/icons (as root) for all users. If you've never installed an icon theme before, ~/.icons may not exist so create this folder.
For how to change the Gtk, icon or Gnome Shell theme, see this article.

You may also like: How To Use A Different GTK 3 Theme For Specific Applications