There was a time in my Mac life when I tried everything I could to customize my Mac. When it comes to blatant customization options, the Mac doesn’t give you as many as Windows.
Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s the 21st century so I personalize my Mac with judicious use of utilities in the Dock and Menu Bar, screen savers, and now, the last bastion of customization, my Mac’s Desktop.
Back in the Mac Classic days, pre-iMac, I customized Mac OS with a utility that gave the Mac a platinum look, ala Copland. Eventually, Mac OS 8 and 9 took the same look, and OS X initially didn’t have as many customization options, so I stopped personalizing my Mac.
Customization comes in many forms, from the very simple changes to the screensaver or the Desktop background. Screen saver options are numerous, both with custom screen available, to building your own from an album in iPhoto.
It’s a small touch, but it makes your Mac reflect your own identity. Similarly, the Desktop background image can be changed, using one of the many backgrounds from Apple, or from a custom, personal photo.
#5 – CandyBar
If you really, truly, absolutely must have the option to customize your Mac beyond belief, reason, or gravity, the single best, most complicated, most drastic utility is CandyBar.
Not for the faint of heart, CandyBar offers nearly one click total makeovers. Change the icons, change the Dock’s icons, change the Dock. In the end, it’s a Mac, but it will look, well, different, as in unique, or, as in “why’d you do that, dude?”
#4 – 3D Desktop Aquarium Screen Saver
This is like a video of Mac Customization Gone Wild™. Think of it as a screen saver that’s really a digital aquarium, complete with water and three dimensional fish.
You still get to see what’s on your Mac’s Desktop, but the screen is nearly filled with water and there’s all kinds of fish swimming about. 3D Desktop Aquarium Screen Saver even lets you download new fish.
#3 – Camouflage
One problem I have with customizing my Mac’s Desktop is that I don’t use the Desktop much. I prefer the Finder’s column view, so, at best, the Desktop is nothing more than an icon to drop files to, or a column that contains the files.
Hence, I never get to see what photo I use as my Mac’s ‘wallpaper’ (the Desktop photo). That changes with Camouflage, a nifty utility that cleans up all the clutter on your desktop—those pesky icons—so you can see the background.
#2 – CoverStream
This is Desktop customization kinda sorta. It’s on my list because I really like it. Or, maybe it’s that see-through charcoal eye candy look that’s glitter to my eyes.
Whatever it is, CoverStream is like having iTunes cover flow mode on your Desktop. A big pop up resizable window shows up on the desktop and it looks like iTunes Cover Flow, complete with controls, album art and more. Very nice.
#1 – Photo Desktop
Yes, you can put any photo onto your Mac’s Desktop as a background. Photo Desktop is more like a refrigerator photo gallery.
Add as many photos as you want to use as your Mac’s desktop wallpaper (I don’t care for the term wallpaper because it just sounds like Windows) background. Seriously, it’s like sticking photos on your fridge door, except it’s your Mac’s Desktop.
Even better is the feature which lets you create multiple photosets of your desktop photos, which can be changed depending on your mood. Customize the photos or use iPhoto albums. There’s even an automated changer which switches between the photosets.
Got iSight on your Mac? Make quick photo snapshots of your face to store on the Desktop gallery. Even cooler is Photo Desktop Spy which creates snapshots from your iSight camera and automatically adds them to a photoset.
Is that cool or what? That’s my Top 5 Set of Photo Desktop Customizers. Got one that you like that I missed? Drop us a note in the Comments section below.