How To Turn Gnome Shell Into macOS High Sierra [Guide]

Out of all the desktop environments on Linux, Gnome Shell is the one with the most potential for mimicking Apple’s Mac OS (due to its similar design). When it comes to themes, the macOS High Sierra pack is the best one to turn Gnome Shell into macOS High Sierra.

Install Gnome Extensions Tool

Before enabling any themes, you’ll need to do several things. Specifically, you’ll need to install the Gnome extensions browser integration tool and the custom themes extension. In addition to all of this, you’ll need to install a compatible, Mac-like icon theme.

Install Packages

When the Gnome extensions browser tool and icon theme have been taken care of, finish up preparations by installing packages needed to turn Gnome Shell into macOS High Sierra.


sudo apt install git plank


sudo apt-get install git plank

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S git plank


sudo dnf install -y git plank


sudo zypper in git plank

Other Linuxes

Plank and Git are fairly common programs on most Linux distributions, so there should be no issue installing them, even on the most obscure distribution. To install it, open up your package manager, search and install both “git”, and “plank”.

Install macOS High Sierra Theme

The Mac OS High Sierra theme for Linux has a lot of support for different operating systems. In this guide, we’re focusing on Gnome due to it’s similarity to the Mac operating system.

Getting this theme working starts out by downloading the source code from Github. To download, open up a terminal window and use the git command.

‘); if (navigator.appVersion.indexOf(“Mac”)!=-1) document.write(”);

git clone

With the theme files downloaded to the Gnome desktop, some settings need to be changed. Specifically, the custom themes option. To enable, open up the Gnome dash, search for “Tweaks” and launch it. Inside of the “Tweaks” app, click on the “Extensions” section.

The “Extensions” window houses dozens of different things to enable. For this guide, the only thing that matters is the “user themes” extension. Click “user themes” to turn it on.

Then, using the CD command, move the terminal from /home/ into the new macOS-High-Sierra folder.

cd macOS-High-Sierra

Using the mv command, place Wallpaper.jpg into the ~/Pictures folder.

mv Wallpaper.jpg ~/Pictures

Lastly, install the rest of the theme to the system.

sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/themes/macos-sierra
mv * /usr/share/themes/macos-sierra

Alternatively, install the High Sierra theme for a single user, by doing the following:

mkdir -p ~/.themes  mkdir -p ~/.themes/macos-sierra  mv * ~/.themes

The macOS High Sierra theme is ready to use. Now all that’s left is to enable it. To enable it, open up Tweaks and select “Appearance”.

Under the “Applications” drop-down menu, select macos-sierra to set the GTK theme. Do the same for “Shell theme”.

Window Controls

An optional step in the installation process is to change the location of the window controls from the right to the left (like on a Mac). This step isn’t important, and skippable if you dislike having controls on the left. However, setting the window controls this way goes a long way in making Gnome feel more Mac-like.

To change the direction of the window controls, open up a terminal and run the following command:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences button-layout close,minimize,maximize:

Disable Gnome Dock

Gnome Shell has a built-in Dock but it’s not very useful for this theme so it needs to be disabled. The best way, currently, to completely hide the built-in app dock in the Gnome desktop is to install the “Dash to Dock” extension, and turn all the settings off to permanently hide it.

Download and install the extension, then, open up “Tweaks”. Go to “Extensions,” and click the slider to enable “Dash to dock”. Once enabled, click the gear to access its settings.

Go through the dash to dock settings area and disable every option. Every slider in the options menu should be at 0, and every possible option should be turned off. If done correctly, the Gnome dock will no be longer visible.

With the Gnome dock disabled, there is no way to click the “view applications” button. Instead, to access the “all applications” area, press Win + A.

Enable Plank

The last big step in the transformation process for Gnome Shell is to enable a proper Mac dock. In this case, we’ll use Plank. It’s a much better-looking dock for this use-case. To turn it on, click the Apple icon in the top-left, search for “Plank” and click on it.

Once the dock is open, it’ll show up at the bottom of the screen. Right-click on the dock, and select the “preferences” option.

“Preferences” is an area of the Plank dock where users can customize it. In this guide, only a little customization is necessary. Specifically, a setting needs tweaking so that Plank matches the MacOS Sierra theme.

To change the theme,  look in the Preferences area for the “theme” drop-down menu and change it to “GTK+”.

Finally, finish up the process by creating a startup entry for Plank in a terminal.

mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart  cp /usr/share/applications/plank.desktop ~/.config/autostart

With the Plank dock and theme settings set up correctly, your new Mac-like Linux desktop is ready to use!

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