11/27/209:00 am 10 Ways To Customize the Look Of macOS Big Sur There are more options than ever for customizing how macOS looks with Big Sur. The Menu Bar and windows get their color from the desktop, but you can also set them to ignore that. You can change the way sidebar icons and other elements look as well. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you ten ways that you can customize the look of macOS Big Sur. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 800 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So macOS Big Sur features a whole new design but there are ways you can customize it and make it more your own. I'm going to start with the obvious one but maybe it's not so obvious for everybody. That's changing the Desktop background. Now of course the Desktop background is a major element here because it's so big. It covers your whole screen and you see it all the time. But you also may not realize that the thing like the Menu Bar and even windows themselves are tinted with the color of the Desktop background. A lot of times people will say, hey how can I change the Menu Bar to be a different color. Well, the Menu Bar really isn't any color. It's kind of translucent. The actual color you see is based on what's behind it. So let's go to System Preferences. There we're going to go to Desktop & Screen Saver. Then Desktop. So when I choose another Desktop background not only is it really going to change the look of everything but notice also how the Menu Bar changes. If I select the photo of Big Sur, for instance, you could see how now the light blue sky color is shown in the Menu Bar. If I choose one of the illustrated backgrounds, like this one, you can see how then this color is taken in from the background there. So play around with different backgrounds and you'll see you get different Menu Bar colors because it's picking up the colors of the background. But you don't have to settle for just these. You can use your own photo, a graphic you find online, or even a solid color. If you go to Colors here and you choose one of these colors like this you can see how the Menu Bar reflects that and everything kind of changes to fit that color which may reflect your mood or is just your favorite color. So go through these and see what you like. Look what happens if you choose a black background here. The Menu Bar is just black like that. If you choose a really light background that you get a Menu Bar like that. You could always choose Custom Color and then choose any color you want. Like pure white and you could see how the Menu Bar blends back in there. I even like this dynamic desktop here because it is kind of this gradient and will change throughout the day like all these dynamic desktops do. So there are several different things that you could do in Accessibility. Some people have already discovered these and even though they don't need them to actually see the controls on their screen they like how they look. So let's go into System Preferences, Accessibility and then to Display. The first one I want to look at is Reduced Transparency. Now look at the Menu Bar there and if I select this you could see now the Menu Bar is white. It's no longer using the color behind there. But also notice how windows changed. This System Preferences window changed from a little transparent, being tinted a little bit for the background, to white. Now another one you may want to checkout is Increased Contrast. When I use that one I get a similar thing going on with the Menu Bar and with windows but I get extreme contrast. So grey icons and buttons turn to black and I get these nice solid black lines here. People have already commented how this kind of looks retro like you're using a Mac from the 80's or 90's. Now there's also another option you should pay attention to here and that's Menu Bar Size. You actually have two options for Menu Bar Size. Default and Large. What it will do is increase the font size not just of the Menu Bar but of the Menus. So here's what is looks like normally. You could see if I change to Large it gets slightly bigger. Now you have more control of how windows will reflect the color of the background. So we've already got the System Preferences window here. Let's move in a Finder window as well. Now let's go to General and then look at the option Allow Wallpaper Tinting in Windows. So look at these two windows when I turn this off. You could see the windows get a lot brighter. In fact they're a solid color now. They're not reflecting the color of the background at all. Now a big part of the new macOS are the icons that you see in sidebars. Your could set those to one of three sizes. That's also here in System Preferences, General, Sidebar Icon Size. So you could go to Small, you could go to Large, or leave it default Medium. Now you also have two modes for everything which is light mode and dark mode. You can change that right here in System Preferences, General. You could also get to it in Control Center by clicking on the arrow here next to the display. Then you have Dark Mode on or off. As a matter of fact if you were to drag and drop the Display up to the Menu Bar here then you could click there and have instant access to Dark Mode on or off. So when I turn it on you could see dynamic desktops will change to reflect that it's Dark Mode but also the windows change pretty drastically. Notice here in System Preferences, General you could also switch to Auto which will automatically go to Light Mode during the day and Dark Mode at night. Now in System Preferences, General you may have already noticed here you have Accent Color. You could change the Accent Color to one of several selections here. Here I've got a Notes window, as well as a Finder window, and System Preferences. Now what happens if I change the accent color to something like red. So you can see the accents here in System Preferences change to red. The accents here, including the icons in the Sidebar, change to red. Even here in Notes you can see now accents are red. But if I change to the multicolor setting then each app gets to say what its own accent color is. So here it's blue in System Preferences and blue in the Finder. But in Notes it's yellow. You also can choose Highlight Color. So Highlight Color, for instance would be when you select text. So I can have it go along with whatever the accent color is or change it to something specific like orange here. So now you could see if I go to the Finder and if I go to change the File name you could see the text is selected in the highlight color orange. The same thing here in Notes. The accent color is set to Multicolor so Notes is using yellow. But if I go to select some text you can see it's going to use the orange highlight color. Now one element that's always present on your screen is the thing at the top right corner of the Menu Bar. That is the Date and Time. It's more important than ever because this is now the button for bringing up Notification Center. So it's always going to be there and it's always going to be at the top right. You can change how this looks by going to System Preferences, Dock & Menu Bar, and then going to Clock which is further down the list. Now these settings used to be under Date & Time previously. But here's where you can decide whether or not the day of the week is shown, the date is shown or just the time. You can switch to an analog clock which is great if you just want to minimize this and use the least amount of space as possible. The analog clock is what you want. But if you're sticking with digital you can use 24 hour time, have AM and PM shown there, flash the time separators, and even display the time with seconds. Now all those things are general setting that will change how your Mac looks all of the time. But here are some specific settings that will change just specific apps or functions. So in any app, including the Finder, you've got all these buttons here at the top of any window and you can customize those by going to View, and then Customize Toolbar. Then that allows you to drag and drop new elements to the Toolbar and rearrange these. For instance I know people are annoyed sometimes when Notifications pop-up at the top right and they cover up important buttons for them. Well, if those buttons are important you could always drag them the left side here so they are not covered up. Toolbars in almost any app can be customized. The Widgets you see here in Notification Center can be customized as well. You just scroll down to the bottom, click Edit Widgets, you have an entire interface here that you could use to add widgets. You can click on widgets to customize the settings of that particular widget like changing the Clocks in World Clock, or changing the stock that a stock widget is showing. Also if you're getting too many Notifications you can change which Notifications show up and how they show up by going to System Preferences and then Notifications. Then for each app here, like Calendar, you can change the style or the Notifications that appear and whether or not they even appear in Notification Center. Control Center could also be customized. All you need to do is go to System Preferences and then Dock & Menu Bar and pretty much everything on the left, except the first item, will allow you to control what is shown in the Menu Bar, what's shown in Control Center, and some options for some of those. In the Messages app you can Pin conversations. You can just drag them up here to the top. For Conversations with multiple people you can even Control Click on them, go to Details, and change the Group Name and Photo. The Reminders app allows you to customize the icon for each reminders list. But a new feature in Big Sur, when you control click on one, is to Show Info and then to choose an emoji, any emoji that you want for the icon for that reminders list. You can also change the Smart List up here. You can Control click on them, hide an individual Smart List and move them around to change their order. So there are some ideas to change the look of macOS Big Sur to fit your style.Related Subjects: System Settings (150 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 13 Responses to “10 Ways To Customize the Look Of macOS Big Sur” Russ Winkler 3 years ago Thanks for the quick overview. The date and time stamp on the top right in my menu bar is a grey color and very hard to see for a lot wallpapers. Is there a way to make it stand out, like a black color? Sys Pref's > Accessibilty> Display didn't seem to help. I have a late 2014 MacBook Pro with Retina Display. I had another question, I was a dragging a file and dropped it by mistake on the right side toolbar area in Finder. Now I can't seem to remove the file. How can I remove the file? Thanks. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago System Preferences, Accessibility, Display, Increase Contrast should make it white with black text. Doesn't it do that for you? Then turn on Dark Mode and you have white text on black, exactly what you want. To remove a file from the Finder toolbar, hold the Command key down, click and drag it down. nick 3 years ago Gary, unless I missed it, looks like the max number of world clocks to display in the widgets is 4? I think in the previous OS I had 6. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago nick: In one widget? 4. But you can add more than one. Try adding the individual small squares with one clock. Add a bunch of those. gregg 3 years ago Using MacBook Air  128gb with 74gb free_will upgrading to Sur take up much more space? Do I need to upgrade hard-drive? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago I haven't heard that Big Sur is any more or less space than Catalina. Either way, the other option is to stay at Catalina, which would mean your Mac is stuck in 2019 from now on. Go for the new design and features you paid for when you bought you Mac. Ray Alston 3 years ago Hi Gary, and thanks for an excellent presentation (by the way, I can only visualise this page via YouTube) the other link seems not to work for me. My question... In Accessibility the "increase contrast" has improved the screen in all windows; however, Chrome tabs appear with black type on a brown background and is more or less illegible... is this fixable ? Many thanks. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Ray: Sounds like a bug in Chrome. It would be up to Google to fix that. JohnS 3 years ago Don't like the UI gray over gray stuff. Such as the ToolBar portion of Safari. Every thing is some gradient of gray which just doesn't make anything like text stand out. Not so apparent on a bigger screen but on a 13 inch Macbook its really bad. Yes I suppose you can address this with accessibility options or just switch to Dark mode. But it's probably the first time I am not happy with how the default UI looks. PSMacintosh 3 years ago A. I can't DE-SELECT the Reduce Transparency checkbox at System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Display > Reduce Transparency. On my new Mac Mini running BS, the Reduce Transparency is checked and dimmed......so not changeable by me. Why? B. I've seen the GUI on Macs since the 80s. I really dislike BS's FAINT GREY text and icons! Interface and text is so hard to see..and discern. I definitely have turned ON the Increased Contrast! Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago PSMacintosh: Reduce Transparency is automatically on if you are using Increase Contrast. Is it a part of that feature. Aquaboy4ever 2 years ago Is there some developer that's created some tweak to fix this menu UI issue in Big Sur? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Aquaboy4ever: What is "this menu UI issue?" Comments Closed.