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Mac makeover – how to make iPadOS look like macOS

Apple’s iPad is a powerful device – a true post-PC computer, especially when you throw the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard into the mix – and changes coming in iPadOS 15 later this year will make it even more Mac-like.

Guide: how to try iPadOS 15 early with the Apple’s Beta Software Program

However, for those of us who like our computers to feel a little more … well, computery, it’s possible to give iPadOS a makeover inspired by none other than Apple’s own desktop operating system, macOS.

Post-PC computers.


The first step in adding a macOS look to your iPad is adding a Mac wallpaper. A simple Google search will pull up countless options here. After saving the one you like, launch Settings, choose Wallpaper, tap Choose a New Wallpaper, and pick the new Mac wallpaper from your Photos library.

App icons

To add macOS-inspired app icons to your device, follow these simple steps.

First, choose the Mac icon you’d like to add to your iPad. This website offers a great repository of icons to choose from and download. Search for an app – like Finder – and download the icon to your iPad.

In Shortcuts (a free download on the App Store), create a new shortcut, choose Add Action, select Scripting, and choose Open App – then select the iPadOS app you’d like to add a new icon to (in this case, it’s Files).

Creating your app icon shortcut.

Finally, when you add the details (like Shortcut Name), there’s the option to also add a custom image. First, choose a placeholder icon glyph and tap App to Home Screen. Then, tap the shortcut’s icon. From here, you’ll be able to edit the icon by adding a photo from the Files or Photo apps.

A Finder app for iPadOS!

It’s then a simple case of adding the shortcut to your Home screen, and using this as a replacement for the default iPadOS app.

This Reddit user has combined a slick Apple wallpaper with custom macOS-inspired app icons to create a true Mac-iPad hybrid:

macOS in iPadOS.

macOS widgets

To create a macOS-inspired widget for your iPadOS Home screen, take a look at the free Widgy app. Here, users can create and add custom widgets to their device, including ones inspired by macOS. This Reddit user put Widgy to work in order to create macOS widgets for Clock and Weather:

Mac widgets on iPad.

You’ll also notice the Mac-style folder icons to the right of the display. To recreate these, grab the folder icon and create a shortcut by following the previous step. Then it’s just a case of making some ‘invisible’ app icons to shunt the visible ones across to the right-hand side.

Spotlight search

Don’t forget that in iPadOS 14, Apple has added a Mac-inspired Spotlight search to iPadOS which is available right now, without any tinkering whatsoever! After installing iPadOS 14, simply drag down on your iPad’s screen or hold cmd + space to launch the all-new Mac-like Spotlight.