The Breakroom

CandyBar – Sugar Free Edition™

April 5, 2022

By Webmaster

If you’ve been following our work for awhile, the name CandyBar may ring a bell. It’s an app we worked on with Panic and released in 2002. Twenty years ago!

CandyBar did one thing and it did it well: every system icon on your Mac could be changed, including folders and disks, with the click of a button. It was a collaboration where Panic provided the code and we provided the content. People loved it then the same way they love widgets on iOS now: it gave your Mac a personality as unique as your own.

We also had another product around that time called Pixadex. It was a library app, much like Photos, that helped us keep track of all the icons we were making as freeware. It was also a joint effort with Panic.

In 2007, CandyBar 3 was released with the functionality of both products combined. It was a hit and folks were having a grand time customizing their Macs.

But all this sweetness slowly started to sour. The reason was simple: Apple started taking steps to lock down the security of Mac OS X. CandyBar worked by replacing icons in well-known locations, and when those places became inaccessible, things began to break. We did the best we could, but eventually pulled the plug in 2012. Ten years ago!

Mostly we were left with bittersweet memories. But there was one thing that CandyBar could still do very well: manage a large archive of icons. So we’ve been using it periodically for the past decade.

With the arrival of Big Sur and Monterey, a bunch of annoying bugs started to surface. Our long beloved tool was showing its age. Over the annual Christmas break, we dusted off code that hadn’t been touched for years, and squashed the most egregious bugs (there are still plenty of bugs). We also removed the features that let you change system icons. That ship has sailed and ain’t coming back.

The result is CandyBar – Sugar Free Edition™. Like the version released a decade ago, it’s still FREE. It’s also completely unsupported so there’s no technical assistance for the app whatsoever. After you download the app you’ll need to get past Gatekeeper (the code signing identity is one of those many bugs). Once you’re running, you’ll have a glimpse of what Pixadex looked like so long ago, but with support for the latest operating systems and Apple Silicon.

Here’s to another decade of CandyBar goodness!