In Mac OS X, you can change the icon of almost any file. In most cases, you just need to copy the picture and paste it into the appropriate window. To change special icons, such as the Finder icon, you need to make changes to your system settings.
Part 1 of 3: How to copy an image
Step 1. Copy the image
If you like the icon for another file, go to that file. Hold Control, click on the file name, and then select Properties. A new window will open with a file icon in the upper left corner. Click on this icon (it will be highlighted) and then from the menu select Edit → Copy.
Once you've copied the image, move on to the next section
Step 2. Copy the saved image
Find the image you want to use as an icon and open it. On the top menu bar, select Modify → Select All, and then Modify → Copy. If you want to use only part of the image, press and hold the left mouse button, draw a frame around the area of the image you want, and then click Edit> Copy. Now go to the next section.
Step 3. Take a screenshot
Open an image and simultaneously press the following keys: ⌘ Command + Control + ⇧ Shift + 4. The mouse cursor turns into a crosshair. Press and hold the left mouse button and then create a frame around the desired area of the image. The screenshot will be saved to the clipboard. Now go to the next section.
To save the screenshot to your desktop, use the same keyboard shortcut without the Control key
Step 4. Find another icon
If you want to change the icon, search for icon collections on the internet. Mac OS X uses ICNS square pictures, but you can copy and paste the most common image formats.
Part 2 of 3: How to use an image as an icon
Step 1. Find the icon you want to change
Navigate to the folder with the file you want to change the icon for. If you want to change the icon in the Dock, hold Control and click, then from the menu, choose Options> Reveal in Finder.
- You can change the icons for most folders, applications, and documents.
- Some special icons, such as the Finder and Trash icons, cannot be changed using this method. Therefore, use the method described in the next section, or use a special program such as LiteIcon (or Candybar for older versions of OS X).
Step 2. Open the "Properties" window for the selected file
Select a file by clicking on its name or icon. Hold Control and click, then choose Properties from the menu. The Properties window will open.
Alternatively, you can press ⌘ Command + i or File> Properties to open the Properties window
Step 3. Select the image in the upper left corner
The file icon is in the upper-left corner of the window. Click on a picture to select it.
Step 4. Paste the copied image
To do this, press ⌘ Command + V or open the Edit menu and select Paste. The file icon will change to the copied image.
The icon will change only for the selected file, not for all files of that type
Step 5. Troubleshoot
If the system asks you for a password, you do not have full access to the file. The icon of these files can be changed by entering an administrator password or logging in as an administrator.
- If you think your account should have Full Control, expand the Sharing and Permissions section at the bottom of the Details window. Now change your account permissions to Read & Write.
- If that doesn't work, try copying and pasting the icon again, or restarting your computer.
Part 3 of 3: How to Use the System Icons Folder
Step 1. Understand the risks of this method
Here you will learn how to access the system icons folder. This allows you to change some special icons, such as the Finder or Trash icon, or change the icon for a specific file type. If you make a mistake, the system will malfunction.
Step 2. Log in to an administrator account
Only an administrator can access the specified folder.
Step 3. Open the Go to Folder window
Click the Finder icon in the Dock and then press ⌘ Command + ⇧ Shift + G (or open the Go menu and choose Go to Folder).
Step 4. Enter the folder path
Copy and paste the following text into the opened window:
Step 5. Review the icons
If you change the icon to a new ICNS file with the same name, all icons for that file type are changed. We recommend that you create a copy of the file and then change the icon. To undo the changes, check in a copy of the file to the system icons folder with the same name as the file before.
- Alternatively, you can back up your system and restore it if you make a mistake.
- If you want to create your own file icons, create a transparent-p.webp" />
- To change the user icon, open System Preferences and select Users & Groups. Click on the current user icon and select a different icon from the menu. To add your own picture, copy it, click on the user icon and select "Paste" from the menu.
- To restore the icon, select the file icon in the Properties window, open the Edit menu, and click Cut.