How to Change Icons in Mac Without Third Party Apps

Last Updated: November 2, 2016

There is something to be said about customizing the look and feel of the products you use. After all, customizations such as that make your device “your own”, and give your devices a personal touch. While it is easy to customize aspects of your Mac, such as the desktop, and even some of the gestures that macOS offers, did you know you can even customize the app icons that are used by your applications? That too, without using any third party software. All you need is a PNG image of the icon you want to use. So, here is how you can use custom icons in macOS:

Change App Icons in macOS

Designing an icon for an app isn’t as easy as it might seem. A lot of thought goes into designing the perfect icon, as that is what most people will recognize the app by. Come to think of it, how many times do you actually read the name of the app on your Mac, before launching it? Heck, the dock doesn’t even have names for the apps you keep on there. As it turns out, icons are pretty important. If you want to customize icons on your Mac, you can simply follow the steps given below:

1. Getting the Icon You Want

Perhaps the most difficult part in this tutorial, is deciding which icon to use in place of the default icon. If you’re good at designing, you can probably design an icon yourself. However, I’m not. So, I’ll be looking for app icons that I can use. There are a lot of websites that offer icons that you can download, with a variety of licenses. I’ll be using Iconfinder. For illustration, I’ll change the app icon for Google Chrome.

  • First, launch a web browser, and go to Iconfinder. Here, search for the icon you want. I’m a fan of the new Google logo, so I’ll search for “Google”.

add custom app icons on macOS search for new icons

NoteDon’t forget to filter the results by their license, just to make sure that you don’t end up infringing a copyright.

  • Once you find an icon you like, simply click on it, and download it in PNG format. I’ll download the Google logo, in the 512×512 size.

add custom app icons in macOS download the icon you like

2. Replacing the Default Icon

Once you have downloaded the icon you want to use, simply follow the steps below to change the icon on the app you want.

  • First, open the new icon you just downloaded. Press command + A, to select it, and then press command + C to copy it.

add custom app icons in macOS copy the new icon

  • Then, in Finder, go to the Applications folder, and select the app you want to replace the icon for. Right click, and click on “Get Info“. You can also press command + I to open the inspector.

add custom app icons in macOS select the app and click Get Info

  • Click on the app’s icon in the Inspector. You’ll be able to see that it is selected.

add custom app icons in macOS select the app icon in inspector

  • Simply press command + V to paste your copied icon in place of the icon the app is using. You may be asked to enter an admin login credentials, if you’re using a standard account. Once you’re done, the app’s icon will have changed to the new icon that you pasted.

add custom app icons in macOS paste the new icon

NoteWhile this method changes the app’s icon, if you had already added the app to your Dock, you will have to add the app to the Dock again, in order to see the new icon there. However, don’t worry, the app’s icon has been changed system-wide, and you can check this by going to Spotlight, and typing the app’s name. It will show you the new icon. You can also check this in Launchpad.

icon-change

SEE ALSO: 12 USB Type-C Accessories for the New MacBook Pro

Use Custom Icons on your Mac

Now that you know how you can use custom icons on Mac, you can go ahead and change the icons of any app that you always secretly wished had a different icon. So go ahead, and customize macOS icons to your liking, and share your thoughts with us. Also, if you have any queries, or if you encounter any issues, do let us know in the comments section below.

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