iTunesque: small (Snow) Leopard changes

Mac OS X “Leopard” came as a (slight) disappointment for many users in terms of the general User Interface (UI), because while its goal was to unify the UI, many aspects still fall short of this unification. Snow Leopard, which just came out, doesn’t seem to change much of that.

One of the greater qualms people have with the (Snow) Leopard UI is the continued use of “Aqua” elements, especially when iTunes, historically Apple’s “new UI testing ground”, has been devoid of Aqua scroll bars and list headers for some time.

This page is therefore a collection of small modifications you can bring to the (Snow) Leopard UI in order to make it more unified.

Note: they are now included among the many options of iLeopard (since iLeopard 2.1).

Snow Leopard users: new iTunesque versions have been included. See the download section.
If you wish to bring back the iTunes 8 look to iTunes 9, see the download section as well.


List of different changes

General list headers, scroll bars and progress bars

Small view of changes
click to view full size

As you can see in this image (which has Finder, Forklift and WebKit on it, FYI), a number of Aqua elements have been replaced by “iTunesque” elements: scrollbars (normal and small), progress bars, and the list headers.

This modification will be referred to as “SPL” once we reach the final stage (where you get to choose exactly what modification you want).

iTunes 9 changes: iTunes 9 comes with different scrollbars (among other changes). As such, some iTunesque packages have been made to match the iTunes 9 look. These will be called “SPL 9” in the final stage.


Traffic lights

The so-called “traffic lights” are the three little blobs you find in the top left corner of windows, the “close”, “minimise” (sorry, British spelling) and “zoom” buttons.

In Leopard, Apple has moved away from the Aqua feel of the Tiger traffic lights, but seems to have considered partially returning to them in an advanced UI drawing method that we believe may come into use in OS X 10.6 or 10.7, resolution independence. As I prefer these Aqua-ish traffic lights to the Leopard ones (for some reason, Aqua feels right here), I have also made a small modification for this:

Traffic lights
top: “new” traffic lights; bottom: standard Leopard traffic lights

This modification will be referred to as “Aquaffic” in the final stage. The reason for this name is because I hope to also make some traffic lights in the same vein as iMetal, which would then be “Metaffic” in the final stage.


Mail & Preview capsules

The original Mail & Preview toolbar buttons are in the shape of “curved pills”, but they do not match the style adopted for the standard Leopard rectangular toolbar buttons (style which was adopted by many applications, also in the form of curved pills).

As such, I have made a mod which replaces these by ones that do fit in:

Curved pills
top: pills in an active window (left: Mail, with “Icon & Text”; right: Preview, with just “Icon”); bottom: pills in an inactive window

But that’s not all!

There is also a mod that transforms these into rectangular buttons such as the ones in the Finder:

Rectangular pills
top: pills in an active window (left: Mail, with “Icon & Text”; right: Preview, with just “Icon”); bottom: pills in an inactive window

And just to confirm that they do look like the ones in the Finder, here’s a comparison of the “Icon only” Mail buttons with the Finder buttons:

Rectangular pills 2
left: Finder; right: Mail

Not perfect, but close enough.

The curved pills will be called “CurPill” in the final stage, and the rectangular ones, “RecPill”.


Mail & Preview glyphs

MacThemes user Dustin was kind enough to make new glyphs to go with the new pill appearance.

The following image was a mock-up made by Dustin Schau, but you can view a more comprehensive preview of the glyphs at this post (the release of the glyphs):

Mock-up by Dustin

These glyphs will be called “Glyphs” in the final stage.

Note: the glyphs are completely independent from any theme elements and are located within the applications in question. As such, you can use them with any theme, but you may have to re-apply such modifications if Mail and/or Preview are updated.


Final stage: choose your theme pack


ITUNES AQUAFFIC USERS: if you want the Aquaffic traffic lights, download one of the following updates, according to your version of iTunes, and apply it after having installed your iTunesque package.

[For other versions of iTunes, please contact the author. Links are removed to avoid clutter as iTunes is updated, but I still have the update packages.]

Other iTunes mods:

  • Josh Janusch’s mod to bring the iTunes 8 look to iTunes 9 (which changed many UI aspects): iTunes 9.2.1
  • Aquaffic version of Josh Janusch’s mod: iTunes 9.2.1

Here are the different options I am offering as a download with an installer and uninstaller:

With SPL 9 (based on iTunes 9):

With SPL:

Without SPL:


If you have any problems with these files, please contact me (details on the “About” page), or post on this page.

Note: if you wish to combine two themes (“iTunesque” & “KISS me”, for example), read this tutorial.


Magnifique theme packages (Leopard only)

Magnifique is a theme manager and installer for Leopard, and there are now two iTunesque packages for Magnifique. If you wish to obtain additional iTunesque packages for Magnifique, please let me know.

The one available from the Magnifique website and from within the Magnifique application is the "SPLC" variant with glyphs.

A second variant available from here (to add manually to Magnifique) is the SPLAR variant. Note: this contains Aquaffic for iTunes 8.1. For other (and future) versions of iTunes, check the Aquaffic updaters above.

113 thoughts on “iTunesque: small (Snow) Leopard changes”

  1. I’m afraid they changed the way the interface was handled, and I haven’t kept tabs on how one should actually go around modifying it.
    All I can recommend (as I know I won’t have time to investigate) is going over to the forum – I see the two top topics concern the interface elements in Lion.

  2. Hi Peter, any ideas on how to change the remaining aquaish elements in Lion? Last time I made changes to the UI in Leopard I checked your tutorial ‘Combining Leopard themes your way’. Do you know if the UI in 10.7 still works more or less the same way you described there?

  3. HI Peter I tired using your mods on Lion and it didn’t work! I have come to terms with Lion looking ugly. Occasionally I boot up an external disk with Snow Leopard and I remember how pretty everything was with your mod……We all looked better when we were younger……… 🙁

  4. Dear Richard, I haven’t yet attempted to look at the inner workings of Lion. If the transition appears to be easy, I’ll likely get around to making Lion versions. Otherwise, it may be an “on request” thing.

  5. hi Peter, any idea if there will be an update to your installer for Josh Janusch’s mod that fixes the ipod glitch in itunes 9.2.1?

  6. Hi and thank you for your great work!
    I’m using your iTunes 9 to 8 rsrc and since update 9.1, I’ve noticed a little issue when I plug my iPhone :

    Keep up the good work!


  7. Ravi, sorry about not responding earlier – January has been busy, and I’ve been unable to work on the iTunesque + iLeopard variant. I’ll do my best to get something ready for you soon.

  8. All right, finally opened up my iTunesque files again, but I realise that iLeopard changes a whole lot of things that not all may wish to see go…

    Ravi, in your case, which iTunesque variant do you use, and what changes would you want me to bring to an “iTunesque + iLeopard” variant of it?

  9. @peter, we are a patient bunch. Actually we are not ;-), but given that Apple has stuck around with the horrible candy bars for 3+ releases, you are our last hope — so we will keep the life support system charged and pray hard and hit the Donate button when it appears on your site. But please, please don’t make us go back to Aqua. We can’t. We won’t!!

    BTW, any thoughts on SnowTunes?

  10. @ravi: I’m afraid I was leaving that to iLeopard. However, with the fact that iLeopard has been discontinued, I may look into creating iTunesque variants in a similar vein. It may take some time though…

  11. This is brilliant and you deserve the Nobel peace prize! But any chance you can give us replacement buttons as well? The candybar/aqua “Save”, “Cancel”, etc buttons are now the only vestiges of the ugly Aqua interface on my computer, and I would like them to disappear as well. Thank you.

  12. Hi Peter, was wandering if you can make the mods for me like you did dated 29 April 2009 at 08:39. See your post above with screen shot.

    I’m using Aquaffic + Recfill and would love those changes again.

    Thanks Brian

  13. Is there a version of iTunesque that also changes other UI elements like buttons, checkboxes, comboboxes (like iLeopard did) ?

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