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Co-authored-by: Raymond Li <>

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The world's most popular non-default computer lockscreen.

A modern version of i3lock with color functionality and other features.

i3lock-color in action

NEW: Official Discord server at

i3lock is a simple screen locker like slock. After starting it, you will see a white screen (you can configure the color/an image). You can return to your screen by entering your password.

Many little improvements have been made to i3lock over time:

  • i3lock forks, so you can combine it with an alias to suspend to RAM (run "i3lock && echo mem > /sys/power/state" to get a locked screen after waking up your computer from suspend to RAM)
  • You can specify either a background color or an image (JPG or PNG), which will be displayed while your screen is locked. Note that i3lock is not an image manipulation software. If you need to resize the image to fill the screen, you can use something like ImageMagick combined wih xdpyinfo:
     convert image.jpg -resize $(xdpyinfo | grep dimensions | sed -r 's/^[^0-9]*([0-9]+x[0-9]+).*$/\1/') RGB:- | i3lock --raw $(xdpyinfo | grep dimensions | sed -r 's/^[^0-9]*([0-9]+x[0-9]+).*$/\1/'):rgb --image /dev/stdin
  • You can specify whether i3lock should bell upon a wrong password.
  • i3lock uses PAM and therefore is compatible with LDAP etc. On OpenBSD, i3lock uses the bsd_auth(3) framework.

Additional features in i3lock-color

You can also specify additional options, as detailed in the manpage. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Color options for:
    • Verification ring
    • Interior ring color
    • Ring interior line color
    • Key highlight color
    • Backspace highlight color
    • Text colors for most/all strings
    • Outline colors
    • Changing all of the above depending on PAM's authentication status
  • Blurring the current screen and using that as the lock background
  • Showing a clock in the indicator
  • Refreshing on a timer, instead of on each keypress
  • Positioning the various UI elements
  • Changing the ring radius and thickness, as well as text size
  • Options for passwordless auth, removing modkey indicator
  • Passing through media keys
  • A new bar indicator, which replaces the ring indicator with its own set of options
    • An experimental thread for driving the redraw ticks, so that things like the bar/clock still update when PAM is blocking
  • Any other feature you want (add it yourself through a PR or make a feature request issue!)


The following dependencies will need to be installed for a successful build, depending on your OS/distro.

Arch Linux

  • autoconf
  • cairo
  • fontconfig
  • gcc
  • libev
  • libjpeg-turbo
  • libxinerama
  • libxkbcommon-x11
  • libxrandr
  • pam
  • pkgconf
  • xcb-util-image
  • xcb-util-xrm


Run this command to install all dependencies:

sudo apt install autoconf gcc make pkg-config libpam0g-dev libcairo2-dev libfontconfig1-dev libxcb-composite0-dev libev-dev libx11-xcb-dev libxcb-xkb-dev libxcb-xinerama0-dev libxcb-randr0-dev libxcb-image0-dev libxcb-util0-dev libxcb-xrm-dev libxcb-xtest0-dev libxkbcommon-dev libxkbcommon-x11-dev libjpeg-dev

If you still see missing packages during build after installing all of these dependencies, try following the steps here.


Run this command to install all dependencies:

sudo dnf install -y autoconf automake cairo-devel fontconfig gcc libev-devel libjpeg-turbo-devel libXinerama libxkbcommon-devel libxkbcommon-x11-devel libXrandr pam-devel pkgconf xcb-util-image-devel xcb-util-xrm-devel

Ubuntu 18/20.04 LTS

Run this command to install all dependencies:

sudo apt install autoconf gcc make pkg-config libpam0g-dev libcairo2-dev libfontconfig1-dev libxcb-composite0-dev libev-dev libx11-xcb-dev libxcb-xkb-dev libxcb-xinerama0-dev libxcb-randr0-dev libxcb-image0-dev libxcb-util-dev libxcb-xrm-dev libxcb-xtest0-dev libxkbcommon-dev libxkbcommon-x11-dev libjpeg-dev

Building i3lock-color

Before you build - check and see if there's a packaged version available for your distro (there usually is, either in a community repo/PPA).

If you want to build a non-debug version, you should tag your build before configuring.

For example: git tag -f "git-$(git rev-parse --short HEAD)" will add a tag with the short commit ID, which will be used for the version info.

i3lock-color uses GNU autotools for building.

To build/install i3lock-color, first install the dependencies listed above, then clone the repo:

git clone
cd i3lock-color

To build without installing, run:


To build AND install, run:


You may choose to modify the script based on your needs/OS/distro.

Arch Linux Packages

Stable version in Community

Unfortunately the previous maintainer left, and the package got dumped back into the AUR where I'm now maintaining it. I'm looking for a TU to sponsor it back into Community, but for now, get it on AUR:

Gentoo Package

i3lock-color is available on GURU, under x11-misc/i3lock-color.

FreeBSD port

New 2021 port on freshports: x11/i3lock-color/

Running i3lock-color

Simply invoke the 'i3lock' command. To get out of it, enter your password and press enter.

A sample script is included in this repository. See the script in action

On OpenBSD the i3lock binary needs to be setgid auth to call the authentication helpers, e.g. /usr/libexec/auth/login_passwd.


This project was started by eBrnd, maintained for a few years by PandorasFox and now maintained and being developed by Raymo111. The full list of contributors can be found here.


Please submit pull requests for i3lock things to and pull requests for additional features on top of regular i3lock at