I have successfully changed login screen theme by editing /usr/share/gnome-shell/theme/gdm3.css but the cursor remains the default Yaru cursor, is there a way to change the login screen cursor to my own theme that I use when I am logged in?

This only happens at login after reboot, i.e. when I wake from suspend or lock the PC, the cursor is the theme I want.

3 Answers 3


While editing the file:


You may change the cursor theme, size and speed as follows:

# Theming options
# ===============

Here, I'd used the Bibata_Ice theme, with size 35 and speed -0.8.

Off course, the folder with the cursor theme has to be inside:


Good lucky!

  • Please, also consider using gsettings type man gsettings in the terminal for help.
    – Raffa
    Aug 21, 2019 at 14:10
  • thank you @maciek!
    – mdmundo
    Aug 26, 2019 at 14:24
  • I would have loved to find a complete answer using gsettings. I took the liberty to write my own answer below.
    – LiveWireBT
    Jan 4, 2020 at 23:19

Okay I found out, from this source I found the command:

cursor command

It says:

EDIT The file /etc/gdm3/greeter.dconf-defaults


cursor-theme='cursor name here'



To apply the change, the Debian wiki says:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm3

source: debian wiki

Now reboot and it should work.


Putting all available information together and researching a bit further here is what I came up with. No creating or editing of files and tedious research of command parameters. Just copy, paste and replace ${my_cursor_theme} with your favorite theme.

Set the theme

# You need machinectl, which is not installed by default
sudo apt install --no-install-recommends systemd-container

# Change the theme for the GDM user to ${my_cursor_theme}
sudo machinectl shell gdm@ /bin/bash -c \
 'gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface cursor-theme ${my_cursor_theme}'

I like KDE's dark Breeze cursor theme so I replaced ${my_cursor_theme} with breeze_cursors.

Finding a theme, and it's name

If you don't know what cursor themes are installed on your machine—and which can be accessed by other users­—you can use update-alternatives to find out their names. Here is the output from my machine:

$ update-alternatives --display x-cursor-theme 
x-cursor-theme - manual mode
  link best version is /etc/X11/cursors/breeze_cursors.theme
  link currently points to /usr/share/icons/DMZ-White/cursor.theme
  link x-cursor-theme is /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme
/etc/X11/cursors/Breeze_Snow.theme - priority 41
/etc/X11/cursors/breeze_cursors.theme - priority 102
/etc/X11/cursors/core.theme - priority 30
/etc/X11/cursors/handhelds.theme - priority 20
/etc/X11/cursors/redglass.theme - priority 20
/etc/X11/cursors/whiteglass.theme - priority 20
/usr/share/icons/Adwaita/cursor.theme - priority 90
/usr/share/icons/DMZ-Black/cursor.theme - priority 30
/usr/share/icons/DMZ-White/cursor.theme - priority 100

update-alternatives --config x-cursor-theme lets you choose the default cursor for other display managers, in case you didn't know that already.

Reset the theme

If you want to reset the theme this is probably your best option:

sudo machinectl shell gdm@ /bin/bash -c \
  'gsettings reset org.gnome.desktop.interface cursor-theme'

Further resources I used

Screen locking

This only happens at login after reboot, i.e. when I wake from suspend or lock the PC, the cursor is the theme I want.

That is because what you are seeing is not your login manager or display manager but the lock screen of your desktop session. The Ubuntu developers took great efforts to make LightDM and now GDM3 and session lock screens look consistent in design, but they are separate components, — previously? — also involving a screensaver. There are—or were?—also some security implications which the author of xscreensaver is getting quite annoyed of.

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