Shapeshifter

Version: 2.5 || Release Date: 2007-09-11 || License: Shareware (US $20.00) Developer: Unsanity | App Owner: stridey

ShapeShifter is a product that lets you change the overall appearance of your Mac using 'themes'. We're not talking about just desktop backgrounds and icons here, we're talking about everything - the look of windows, menus, apps, buttons, absolutely everything. You don't wear the same clothes everyday, your house doesn't look exactly like your neighbor's - why should the computing interface you use everyday be any different. You personalize your physical workspace to suit your tastes and whims, so why not your Mac?

NB: Shapeshifter is no longer supported! Read more: http://www.unsanity.org/archives/betas/mighty_mouse_with_some_theme_sauce.php

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12 Opinions

Abandoned by the company 2 months after I paid for it.... sad

HEY so leopard users get the short end right now, this one doesent work on the new OSX update. but i think they are working on it. im not sure, the website didnt really say too much.

I love ShapeShifter, but I have learned that if programs start not working properly that I should first uninstall ShapeShifter and see if that is the problem. Usually this only happens after I have installed a new theme, but as of late, I have had no problems. I love the fact that my computer is MY computer in terms of visuals with this program and the guys at Unsanity have always been very helpful.

Users of this and other APEs should be aware that Apple support has a de facto if not official policy of not supporting systems with APEs installed, and a lot of other software vendors have followed suit. Justifiably, I think -- if you're going to use a program that injects code into all sorts of places in the OS that every other program expects will be unmodified, you can't be surprised if there are random crashes, incompatibilities, etc.

You are correct. APE is the culprit, and let me tell you it's very, very bad. Bad APE! I've tried Unsanity's haxies on and off over the years hoping that they'd work as promised but they never do and usually you end up with a borked system. I'll never install APE again because it causes so many problems.

Unfortunately ShapeShifter was part of the MacHeist bundle. It keeps coming back to try and haunt my Mac!

This needs some clarification.
Shapeshifter is not responsible for crashing applications.

Shapeshifter relies on "Application Enhancer". This hack basically allows to inject code into running applications and redefine functions etc. It's very stable and a couple of additional measures have been taken by the developers to prevent it from crashing "enhanced" applications. More information can be found here: http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/ape/

I had some applications which crashed when APE was loaded, however, it was just a matter of some few clicks to tell APE to leave this app alone. And this helped.

That said, Shapeshifter works okay for me. It has some kinks sometimes, especially when I updated my System - which isn't surprising, since updates sometimes change significant portions of the system. Sometimes it took some hours, somethimes weeks until the developers catched up. But this is completely okay for a 20$ app, imo.

Aside from this, Shapeshifter proves to be very useful for me. Especially when working in in environments where the ambient light is low and the monitor's brightness can't be turned down without loosing contrast (or just not low enough) - a black theme relaxes your eyes significantly in this situation. Or just bored with the current theme and in the mood for something new? SS to the help . ;)

Oh, and btw: When using a Beta, just stfu and tell the developers. There's a reasion why something is marked as "Beta" (at least before google, there was).

ShapeShifter did very, very bad things to my system. It seemed to play nice for about 24 hours, but then got mean: applications started freezing up, preference panels would open but stay blank, bizarre graphic artifacts would show up all over the place, etc.

When I tried to uninstall it, ShapeShifter had so thoroughly devistated everything that even it's own uninstall app wouldn't start without crashing. And, I couldn't send a smart crash report without that crashing too.

It took a tech-geek friend over an hour to extract this program's mangled remains, but once he did all of my problems magically went away. If you want your Mac to behave like a PC, this is the program for you.

Don't use it anymore, I used to love it but after I switched to an Intel it badly fucked up my system (and when I say badly, I mean badly). No help was given by the developing team who just kept claiming an intel-compatible version was "just around the corner." Well, the version that fucked up my system was supposed to be Intel-compatible... It was a "beta" ("gamma"?)...
Now a new so-called intel-compatible beta is out... I'm not risking it again...

universal BETA is now out. works great so far on my macbook.

http://www.unsanity.net/beta/shapeshifter-24b1.dmg

A must have if Aqua gets boring or too blue.

I'm waiting on the Universal version also. It is a complex utility to update though because it changes things at a system level.

@eliah : Yes it has been out for a few years. It is somewhat revolutionary in the fact that it was the first OS X theme changer that doesn't resort to patching system files, (hacking that could damage the OS) and it allows for more customization than ever allowed on OS X.
Kaleidoscope could change a lot more because the pre-OS X GUI was open like Windows XP's is.

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