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How to install macOS Catalina icon theme on Linux

Do you want to change your boring Linux system icons to match the new, upcoming Apple macOS Catalina? If so, this guide is for you! Follow along as we go over how to install and set up the macOS Catalina icon theme on Linux!

Download macOS Catalina icons

The macOS Catalina icons are available for download to Linux users on the Gnome-look website, in the “Icons” section. Head over to this page here, then, look for the “Files” button in the menu.

Inside of the “Files” menu on the macOS Catalina page, there are two individual file archives available for download. The first archive available for download is “Os-Catalina-icons.tar.xz,” which is the standard icon set. The second archive available is “Os-Catalina-Night.tar.xz,” which provides dark-style icons.

To download the classic, light theme, locate the download button next to “Catalina-icons.tar.xz,” and click it. Selecting the download button will bring up a pop-up window stating that the download is ready. From there, select the blue “Download” button to save the icons to your Linux PC.

Want to get your hands on the dark theme instead? Click the download button next to “Os-Catalina-Night.tar.xz,” and select the blue “Download” button in the pop-up window that appears to save it to your Linux PC.

Extract macOS Catalina icons

The macOS Catalina icon pack archives are downloaded and saved to your Linux PC. The next step is to decompress the archive files so that we can work with the files inside, and install them to the system for use.

Extracting TarXZ files on Linux is best done within the terminal window. The reason the terminal is best is that it’s fast, and can be done in a fraction of the time it would take a file manager. So, to start, open up a terminal window. A terminal can be opened on Linux by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard.

With the terminal window open, use the CD command to move the shell’s working directory from the home directory (~) to the “Downloads” folder.

cd ~/Downloads

Inside of the “Downloads” directory, use the tar command to extract the light icons archive (if you’ve chosen to download it.)

tar xvf Os-Catalina-icons.tar.xz

The tar command, when finished extracting, will create a sub-folder in the “Downloads” directory with the label of “Os-Catalina-icons.”

Need to extract the Night icons for OS Catalina on your Linux PC. Run the following tar command.

tar xvf Os-Catalina-Night.tar.xz

Once the tar extraction command is run on “Os-Catalina-Night.tar.xz,” a folder with the name of “Os-Catalina-Night” will appear in the “Downloads” directory.

Install macOS Catalina icons on Linux

The macOS Catalina icons can be installed on a Linux system in two ways. The first way is by installing it as a single-user, which will only give one user the ability to use and access the macOS Catalina icon theme. The second way to install it is system-wide, which will give every single user on the system access to the icon theme.

In this guide, we’ll go over how to install it in both ways. To start the installation, open up a terminal window and follow the instructions below.

Install for a single-user

To install the macOS Catalina icons on a Linux PC in single-user mode, start out by using the CD command to move from the home directory (~) into the “Downloads” directory.

cd ~/Downloads

Once in “Downloads,” run the mkdir command to create a new directory with the name “.icons”.

mkdir -p ~/.icons

With the new “.icons” directory made, use the mv command to place the macOS Catalina folder(s) in it.

mv Os-Catalina-icons ~/.icons
mv Os-Catalina-Night ~/.icons

When the mv command finishes, run the ls command to view the “.icons” folder so that you can confirm mv ran successfully.

ls ~/.icons | grep 'Catalina'

Install system-wide

To set up the macOS Catalina icon theme in system-wide mode, you’ll need to place the icon files inside of the “/usr/share/icons/” directory. To do that, CD into “Downloads,” and run the mv command to place the macOS Catalina icon folder(s) in the right place.

cd ~/Downloads
sudo mv Os-Catalina-icons /usr/share/icons/
sudo mv Os-Catalina-Night /usr/share/icons/

Once the mv command is done, run the ls command on “/usr/share/icons/” to confirm the folders went to the right place.

ls /usr/share/icons/ | grep 'Catalina'

Enable macOS Catalina icons on Linux

Before being able to enjoy the new Mac OS Catalina icons on your Linux PC, it must be set as the default icon theme. To set it as default, open up “System Settings,” then find “icons” and change it to the default icon theme.

Can’t figure out how to change the default icon theme on your Linux system? We can help! Check the list below of desktop environments, and choose the one that you use to learn all about how to change icon themes!

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