New Review

Part of the reason people buy Macs is because of Apple's attention to style. Whether it's bondi blue, smooth white, glossy black, or brushed metal, Mac hardware is as much about functionality as it is the overall aesthetic. Of course, attention to aesthetics doesn't stop at Apple hardware. Mac OS X and most Mac software shares the same smooth lines and beveled edges of the hardware surrounding it. The application icons in the Dock are bright and slick, and the open and close buttons on documents and applications are like pieces of candy. Anyone who has turned a new Apple laptop on for the first time knows what I'm talking about. Not only does it work smoothly, it just plain looks good. But what if you could make it look better?

Panic Software, the makers of long-standing Mac user favorites like Transmit for FTP needs, and Coda for Web design, knew early on people would want to customize the Mac OS. So they put together a program that makes it easy to replace all your system and Dock icons to change the overall look and feel of your desktop. CandyBar lets you load up what they call iContainers with replacements for all your program and Dock icons. If you don't want to pick and choose each icon, CandyBar works seamlessly with the Iconfactory Web site, which offers premade iContainers featuring specific themes. You'll be able to use icon sets depicting the Transformers, characters from The Family Guy, or snowy Christmas themes to completely change the look of your Mac desktop. As an added bonus, CandyBar 3 lets you edit icons using Pixadex which is now built into the software.

Candy Bar 3.0
Simply drag and drop icons into the appropriate slots to get a new look. (Credit: CNET Networks)

I'm not sure why this is the case, but CandyBar 3 only works with Mac OS X Leopard. Those who haven't upgraded to the new Mac OS will need to use an earlier version of CandyBar, but I assure you, you won't be disappointed with older versions of this great software.

Though Apple and the Mac OS probably don't need much help in the aesthetics department, there's something to be said for personal style. With CandyBar you'll be able to customize your desktop the way you want to with icons and Dock styles you can change with the click of your mouse.

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.