Install WhiteSur Theme in Gnome to Make Ubuntu / Fedora Look Like macOS Big Sur

Prefer macOS desktop appearance? The WhiteSur theme can make your GNOME Desktop look like macOS Big Sur.

WhiteSur is a free and open-source theme project for Linux. For GNOME users (e.g., in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.10, Fedora 34) it provides macOS style panel, app window design, and icons in both light and dark mode.

Preparation:

Before getting started, you may first make the bottom dock launcher and install some tools to configure themes in Linux.

1. Install & Configure Dash to Dock

For Ubuntu user, you just need to move the left dock to bottom via option under “Settings -> Appearance” .

Then click top-left ‘Activities‘, search for and open terminal, and finally run command to shorten the dock:

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.dash-to-dock extend-height false

For Fedora 34, see this tutorial to bring out Dock from Activities overview.

2. Install Gnome Tweaks & Extensions App:

To apply a theme in Gnome, you need Gnome Tweaks tool which can be installed via command:

  • For Ubuntu, press Ctrl+Alt+T to open terminal and run command:
    sudo apt install gnome-tweaks
  • For Fedora, hit Win/Super key on keyboard and search for and open terminal. Then run command:
    sudo dnf install gnome-tweaks

And Gnome Extensions App is recommended to manager the User Themes extension, which enables ability to load user installed Gnome Shell themes.

  • Ubuntu user simply run command to install it in terminal:
    sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-prefs
  • For Fedora, the package name is different and you need to run command:
    sudo dnf install gnome-extensions-app

How to Install WhiteSur Theme:

Installing the theme is quite easy since it provides installer script inside the source tarball. All you need to do is grab the source, extract, and run the script. And below I’ll shows how in details.

1. Install the GTK theme:

The GTK theme changes desktop panel, menu, and app window layout. You can download the source code (zip or tar.gz) from the link below:

Next, extract the source in file manager. Right-click on the folder and select “Open in Terminal” context menu option:

When terminal opens, run the script to install the theme:

./install.sh

NOTE it may ask to type user password to install missing dependency packages.

2. Install Icons Theme:

Similar to the GTK theme, download the source tarball from the button link below:

Next, extract the Zip or Tar.gz. Right-click on source folder and select ‘Open in Terminal’ just like what you did for the GTK theme:

And finally run command in pop-up terminal to install the icons:

./install.sh

Apply WhiteSur Theme:

Before applying the new theme, make sure the user-themes extension is installed, since it’s required to enable ‘Shell’ down-drop box in Gnome Tweaks.

  • Fedora user can install it easily via command:
    sudo dnf install gnome-shell-extension-user-theme
  • Ubuntu can get it along with some other extensions by running command:
    sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

Next restart Gnome Shell either via log out and back in, or by pressing “Alt+F2 -> type r -> hit Enter” for X session.

Open Gnome Extensions app and enable ‘User Theme’ extension, so you will NOT see the grayed out ‘Shell’ drop-down box.

OK finally search for and open Gnome Tweaks from Activities overview and choose WhiteSur theme in “Appearance” for:

  • Applications
  • Icons
  • and Shell

That’s all. Enjoy!

Merilyn Ne
Hi, I'm Merilyn Ne, a geek who has been working on Ubuntu Linux for many years and would like to write useful tips for beginners. Forgive me for language mistakes. I'm not a native speaker of English.