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Set osxs accent/highlight colors using the commandline

Project description

osx-colors ci ./LICENSE

Sane command line color customisation for osx, no more fiddling about with defaults, internal apple color constants and rgb color codes

Say you want to change your Accent and Highlight Color to Green like this

If you wanted to change it via terminal, normally you'd need to do this

$ defaults write -g AppleAccentColor -string 3
$ defaults write -g AppleHighlightColor -string "0.752941 0.964706 0.678431 Green"

Instead.... do this 😄

$ osx-colors set green

Or to set your Accent & Highlight color based on the wallpaper pallete generated from pywal also requires jq

$ osx-colors set $(jq --raw-output '.colors.color9' < ~/.cache/wal/colors.json)


  • Sane color handling using color names and a single command
  • Provide it a color in hex and it'll find the "nearest" available apple color to it and set it to this, this is awesome if you use pywal and want matching accent/highlight colors to your wallpaper
  • Restarts Finder,Docker,System Preferences etc upon setting so colors can be immediately seen


I'm a huge fan of pywal and what I thought would complete the color scheme would be Accent & Highlight colors in osx that were based on the generated color palette of the wallaper, however I wasn't able to find anything that did it and color management from the commandline simply sucked, so I wrote this for my personal needs


  • At present you can only set both the AccentColor and HighlightColor together, however the HighlightColor can be customized to any color in the UI (from what I can see)
  • Finding the nearest "color" isn't perfect but i've found it good enough, welcome alternative algorithms/solutions to this

Getting Started


  • MacOS Monterey (It probably works on others I just haven't tested it!)
  • Python 3.8 or greater


pip install osx-colors


To set the Accent and Highlight color to Red

$ osx-colors set red
Setting the 'Accent Color' to 'red'
Setting the 'Highlight Color' to 'red'
Restarting Finder, Spotlight and System Preferences, others may need to be restarted manually

To set the Accent and Highlight color to the closest color to the HEX color provided

$ osx-colors set 0029ff
Searching for the closest Apple color to '0029ff' we found 'blue'
Setting the 'Accent Color' to 'blue'
Setting the 'Highlight Color' to 'blue'
Restarting Finder, Spotlight and System Preferences, others may need to be restarted manually

For more usage instructions see

$ osx-colors --help


Feel free to lodge an issue regarding a feature request/bug report and we'll go from there!

All contributions welcome 🙂

Running the tests

$ make test

For other build tasks see Makefile


We use SemVer for versioning. For the versions available, see the Releases on this repository.


  • Ability to get colors - not sure of use case?
  • Ability to set a custom Highlight color


This project is licensed under the MIT license


  • Thanks to ofstack for the code to match the "nearest" color, i'm no color scientist
  • Thanks to quantum_libet on reddit for a rundown on the insanity of color management via the terminal

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