MacOS Mojave allows you to set a range of accent colors

macOS Mojave doesn’t just provide a dramatically darkened user interface styling, it also allows you to pick between a range of accent colors for common user interface elements such as app menus, popup menus, dialog boxes, the menu bar, radio buttons and more.

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Accent color is a new feature in macOS Mojave 10.14.
  • Use it to tint menus, buttons, focus fields and more.
  • 8 built-in accent colors are at your disposal.
  • you can set the accent color independently of the highlights color.

Follow along for the tutorial steps.

A little bit of history

The original version of Mac OS X used blue window chrome.

A graphite option was added later because creative professionals and developers were complaining that the bright blue highlights caused distractions when working in the dark.

About thirty years later in 1991 Apple debuts Mac OS 7 which ships with a colorized interface.

Custom highlight and window colors in Mac OS 7

Custom highlight and window colors in Mac OS 7

Fast forward to 2018 and macOS Mojave now lets you select the accent color.

What is accent color?

The accent color affects the following user interface elements:

  • App menus at the top
  • Popup menus
  • Menu bar in the top right corner
  • Radio buttons
  • Text and file selections
  • Focus fields
  • Other parts of the operating system

Choosing your desired accent color also changes the macOS highlight color accordingly.

How to adjust your Mac’s accent color

To customize the macOS accent color, do the following:

1) Open System Preferences on your Mac with macOS Mojave or newer.

2) Click the General tab.

3) Click a desired color next to “Accent color” at the top.

The following built-in choices are available:

  • Blue
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Gray

4) Close out System Preferences.

The default accent and highlight color is blue.

You can customize your highlight color independently of the main accent color in macOS Mojave

Although the highlight color matches your accent color, it can be set separately

My Mac’s accent color is the default gray, but my highlight color is a reddish hue so I can more easily distinguish between the selected and non-selected items in the Finder.

What is highlight color?

The highlight color is used to tint the selections you make in the Finder, including blocks of text in apps like Safari and Mail. With macOS Mojave, you can choose a desired highlight color that’s different from the accent color.

TIPS: Ways to select multiple files on your Mac

For instance, you could opt for the green accent color throughout the system and set your highlight color to red to make those selections really stand out.

The accent color can even be used to distinguish between the different user account types in macOS. For instance, a savvy user could set the accent color red for their admin account and green when for those times when they log in with non-admin privileges.

How to change your Mac’s highlight color

The highlight color tints the text you select in apps, files in the Finder and more.

To choose your highlight color, do the following:

1) Open System Preferences on your Mac with macOS Mojave or newer.

2) Click the General tab.

3) Click a desired color next to “Accent color” at the top.

The following built-in choices are at your disposal:

  • Blue
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • Other

The highlight color changes accordingly when you change the accent color. Thankfully, you can customize your highlight and accent color independently of each other by choosing a desired highlight color after picking your accent color.

The Finder showing a non-adjacent file selection in the red highlights color

The highlight color affects text, file and other selections

You’ll notice that the highlight color popup menu provides you with two additional presets, Brown and Other. Unsatisfied with the built-in highlight colors? Choose the option Other from the menu, then use the color wheel to pick any color you want.

I wish the accent color included this option…

Examples of the built-in accent colors

I went through all of the available accent colors and screenshotted each in Light and Dark mode. Scroll below to see how the accent and highlight color, plus other features like Light/Dark mode and Dynamic Desktop, look like when used together.

macOS Mojave Light Mode with the blue accent and highlight color

Light Mode with the blue accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Light Mode with the red accent and highlight color

Light Mode with the red accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Light Mode with the orange accent and highlight color

Light Mode with the orange accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Light Mode with the yellow accent and highlight color

Light Mode with the yellow accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Light Mode with the green accent and highlight color

Light Mode with the green accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Light Mode with the purple accent and highlight color

Light Mode with the purple accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Light Mode with the pink accent and highlight color

Light Mode with the pink accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Light Mode with the gray accent and highlight color

Light Mode with the gray accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Dark Mode with the blue accent and highlight color

Dark Mode with the blue accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Dark Mode with the red accent and highlight color

Dark Mode with the red accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Dark Mode with the orange accent and highlight color

Dark Mode with the orange accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Dark Mode with the yellow accent and highlight color

Dark Mode with the yellow accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Dark Mode with the green accent and highlight color

Dark Mode with the green accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Dark Mode with the purple accent and highlight color

Dark Mode with the purple accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Dark Mode with the pink accent and highlight color

Dark Mode with the pink accent and highlight color

macOS Mojave Dark Mode with the gray accent and highlight color

Dark Mode with the gray accent and highlight color

What’s your favorite look, and why?

Making it all work together

Taken together, the new Dark Mode, the Dynamic Desktop feature and the ability to choose between a range of accent colors allow for some cool customization options—a pretty big deal given Apple’s traditionally neglected user customization on Macs (no wonder apps like ShapeShifter were tremendously popular back in the early days of Mac OS X).

PRIMER: How Mojave’s time-shifting Dynamic Desktop works

Still, the accent color is a promising feature for your Mac with room for improvement.

For instance, I wish there were a way to have macOS automatically match the accent color based on the colors found in the desktop background, like Windows 10. Better yet, why not have the accent color automatically color-match the wallpaper?

TUTORIAL: How to enable Dark Mode on your Mac

An avid Mac user could even put together a quick script that grabbed a new wallpaper every day and adjusted the accent color based on the image’s predominant color.

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