June 1, 2011

How To Change Mac OS X Application Icons Without Third-Party Apps

If you care about aesthetics as much as I do, you probably hate some of the default app icons that sit in your dock. There are a few third-party apps out there like CandyBar that allow you to manage your icons, but they're not free. Well it's actually really easy to change them manually once you know how.

Let's say I want to change my iChat icon:

All I need to do is locate it in the Applications folder, right click and Get Info.

Find an icon you'd like to replace the default with (preferably in PNG format and larger than 128px*128px). Iconfinder is a very good source. Copy the image onto your clipboard. Click on the top left icon and simply Paste the icon by doing Command-V.

You should be all set. If it doesn't allow you to paste, check to make sure system/admin privileges are set to Read & Write. If not, click the lock, enter your system password, and change the privileges accordingly. It should work. (You typically need this step when dealing with pre-installed applications such as iPhoto, iTunes, etc.)

The icon change will not reflect in the dock right away. You'll have to remove the app from the dock, locate it in Applications and drag the updated app back into the dock. Not happy with how it looks? Rinse and repeat.

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