How To Change Mac Dock Icons

By June 16, 2009 Dock Icons, Tuts 66 Comments

How to change Mac dock icons

Macs are incredible machines.  The usability on them (especially the latest line of MacBooks) is nothing short of revolutionary.  Two finger swipe for scroll? Three finger swipe to flip a page or go to the next picture in a gallery? Four finger swipe to see which applications are open? Come on… who needs a mouse with features like that?  Not to mention the huge uber sensitive glass touchpad.  So maybe I’m a Mac fanboy… but it is for good reason.  Apple simply makes great products that have robust features and are easy to use.  And on top of all of that, the hardware and software both look awesome!

As great OS X Leopard looks, there is always room for improvement by personal taste.   I mean, you paid a good deal of cash (or credit =) for your computer…  It’s your property now.  Why not customize it to your liking?  Today I am going to show you how to change the icons on your Mac, including the icons on your dock. I will also be showing you how to change the icons back to factory settings in case you want to revert back to to the default icon down the line.  I’m quite sure this will prove to be useful for some of you, as i was once searching for information on this very subject.

How to Change Mac Dock Icons

Change your Mac Dock Icons In 7 Easy Steps

Step 1

First things first… find your icons.  This shouldn’t be hard to do.  Just type “Mac icons” into the search on our site, and download the icon/s of your liking =).

Step 2

You may want to quit the program that you are updating the icon for. Just right click it, or hold “control” and click it, then select “quit”.

Step 3

Locate the new icon/s you downloaded, and open the information window for it by clicking it, then hitting “Command+i” (or you can control click it and select “show info”).  In the upper-left corner, you will notice a small icon.  Highlight/click that icon then press “Command+C” to copy it.

Step 4

Now, in your Finder, locate the folder for the program that you want to change the icons for.  If it is an application, it will be in the Applications folder. 

Quick Tip: If it is in your Mac dock, “Control+Click” the icon in your dock and select “Show in Finder” from the menu.

Step 5

Access the information window (as you did in step 3) for the icon you are changing.

Step 6

Highlight/click the small icon in the upper left corner (as you did in step 3), and hit “Command+V” to paste the new icon you copied in step 3.

Step 7

You should now open the application/program to ensure that the change took effect.

Note: You may need to Quit the program and reopen it for it to take effect. If it is in your dock, you may need to remove the application from your dock, then drag it back from your applications folder back to your dock. New icon should take effect upon reopening the application.

Also view:

How to Restore Original Mac Icons

How to Restore Original Mac Icons

About Jonathan

Hello! I'm Jonathan Allen, founder of and a few other interesting websites. I am an entrepreneur, writer, runner, family man, and overall well rounded people person. I enjoy idea building, gaming, design, stock trading, and eating breakfast for dinner. Follow me on Twitter @Jonified


  • jonathan says:

    what is this slurp icon :p where can i find it?

  • Alissa says:

    Is it just me or do some (actually alot) not work. like when u right click and click the “get info” the icon in the corner is just one of those generic ones and it does not give u the icon. PLZ HELP! these are so cute and they’re not workinggg =(

    • Jonathan says:

      Still looking into this issue. I will keep you guys posted!

      • Alex says:

        I Know how to do it!!!! You need to duplicate the application then you can change the name and picture of the duplication. Delete the original app and change the copy’s name back to the apps name if you want to. P.S. If it something like mail you need to name it to, the name of the app in your dock, Mail in order to change the icon on the dock.

      • Alex says:

        The way i posted before works if you arn’t an admin and you don’t have the privilege to read & write you can only read But if you are an admin i belelive you should be able to go into get info and go to the bottom to Sharing and Permissions then change it from: Everyone = read to Everyone = Read&Write

    • lauren.ross says:

      you can get any image as long as it has downloaded onto your computer by opening it in preview and pressing command A then command C and follow the instructions from step 4.

  • Ryan says:

    same for me (alisa) when i go to the info the icon displays a preview logo can some one help?

  • suds says:

    i’d like to know how to change safari and ichat. :( also how do we use the icns files and the ico files

    • Jonathan says:

      Changing Safari and iChat should be fairly easy to do. Open your finder, then go to “applications” and locate the safari app. Follow the instructions in this post. Do the same for iChat.

  • adam says:

    Hi I dont really know how to change the finder icon, how do I do it?

    • Jonathan says:

      Changing the finder icon, along with a few others such as the trashcan icon, is a much harder process. Generally, one should use a program such as CandyBar to change these icons.

  • Carollyn says:

    Hi, for some reason some of my files will only let me change the icon one. If I try to change it again it reverts back to the previous one. Any suggestions please

  • Hi says:

    I can’t get the icon to change i copy it and everything but then when i try to paste it doesn,t paste it over can you help please?

    • Jonathan says:

      Adam, Carolyn, and Hi…When you click on “get info”, in the upper left corner, is there a miniature preview of the pic itself, or is it just a default white square that says jpg or png or whatever the type of file is? I have noticed that some icons i have downloaded from different sites, for some reason or another, do not have the preview picture. I am not sure of why this is so, however i would suggest downloading a trial version of CandyBar if all else fails. This program will also allow you to change your finder icon, something that is very difficult to manually do.

  • Hi says:

    thank you but can you get something free that will change icons of finder and other things like that?

  • Hi says:

    yes there is actually the preview of the picture in the right corner but sometimes i can do it with programs, like i have been able to change firefox icon and other icons such as rosetta stone. I can do do it with these will the mac just not respond to the others because if i click on edit in the program i want to edit copy is availible but not any other options like paste and cut? am i doing something wrong?

  • Kate says:

    I was wondering if you could tell me where I could find that wallpaper you have on this page for your dock images. It looks like black hardwood flooring?

    • Jonathan says:

      Hello Kate, unfortunately, the wallpaper used in this post’s preview picture is not for sale by the original seller anymore. I was going to refer you, but came up with a “page not found” error. You can find a selection of more wood textures here:

  • Hi says:

    also i have found a way to fix the problem where it only gives you a preview icon. dont just hit get info then copy it you actually have to open it and then you have to put the box around it then go up to edit and click on copy. this may take a little longer but it works better. hope this helps!

  • Hi says:

    I now have candy bar but it only gives me some icons how do i put my icons in to the program do i just drag them in? Also, How long does the free trial version last? Thanks.

    • Jonathan says:

      You can just open the folder that the icon you downloaded is in and drag the icon to that icon’s designated space in CandyBar. I am not sure that it works correctly with .png files, but it works fine with .icns files.

  • Jonathan says:

    To all who inquired about the icons that don’t show the actual icon in the top left of the “get info” area, I have been looking into this, but have yet to figure out why some files do and some files don’t have it. At first i thought it was only .png files, however i have noticed that some .icns files have this problem also. I will continue to do research on this topic and will be sure to keep you updated!!!

    • Hi says:

      hey thanks for responding! sorry that the information doesn’t work for you also thanks for everything you told me I love your super mario brothers icons they rock!

  • Hi says:

    I have a question:
    Previously, you had told another commenter that to change Safari and iChat icons just find the icon you want and follow the directions you have posted. I have followed these and it has not worked for me. I am very knowledgeable in computers – I am an experienced computer programmer and this has no worked. Could you please post workable directions.

    • Jonathan says:

      When you are in the “get info” section of the new icon, if there is an icon in the top left corner (not a generic preview image that says .png, .jpg, etc.) , you can copy this and paste it to the icon in the get info section of the application you are changing. This is incredibly easy to do. If you have a preview image in your “get info” area, that needs to be taken up with the author of the icon.

  • Jonathan says:

    Update: found a quick fix to the issue with the generic icon showing up in the get info section of some newly downloaded icons. I have found that converting any icon to a .HQX file yields an icon that ALWAYS has the actual icon in the “get info” section, and never a generic preview image.

  • Hi says:

    Changing the Safari icon has not worked for me I have really wanted to change this for a while, I hate the boring blue compass and I have much better icons I could replace it with. However, when I go up to edit on the screen to paste over the original icon it does not have the option of pasting and it is almost like apple made it so you COULD’NT paste over icons that they made. I have also found something interesting. While I have not been able to change Safari and other icons like preview, mail, iChat iCal, and Dashboard I have been able to change the icon of iPhoto, iMovie, Firefox, and GarageBand. Also one other thing, all the files I have installed myself or downloaded myself I have been able to change the icon of. I was wondering if this is something that I could do to help me change the icon of Safari. Could I delete it and then re-download it from the internet? Thanks, please respond as soon as possible.
    Your Friend,

  • Hi says:

    I found a program called Docker (It is free, changes dock icons, but only excepts png files.) I was wondering if you knew if this was a good program. Could you check it out for me? Thanks,

  • Hi says:

    Also, your last question: I am using Snow Leopard Mac OSX 10.6.1 the newest version. Can you help me with my questions please now that you have this information?

    • Jonathan says:

      I don’t use Snow Leopard. I’m honestly not sure why some icons will and some wont change for you. The best thing i can tell you is to reset your dock after you make your changes. If that doesn’t work, you should Google the problem and I am sure you will find a solution. I wish i could help more, but unfortunately, i’m more of a Mac fanboy than a specialist. I hope you find a solution soon!

  • Hi says:

    Thanks, I probably can find it out. Your an awesome guy!

  • Hi says:

    I found out what was wrong! After doing some searching I was able to find this great program: LiteIcon! It has allowed me to change all my icons! Have a great day! And don’t worry I’ll talk to you again soon!

  • Hi says:

    Actually that only allowed me to change some things but I found the real problem! I changed my sharing and permissions to Read and Write not read only and it worked! Thank you so much for all your help! Hi

  • Pup says:

    Where did you get the iTunes icon you have in this post? Can you give me a link?

    • Jonathan says:

      Pup, the author of that icon lost their file hosting account and it is no longer available on the web. I looked in my massive icon collection and could not find it. I may have deleted it. If i do find it, i will upload it to my server and send you a link. Or i may include it in a future Mac Dock Makeover post.

  • Alissa says:

    i tried changing it to an .HQX file and that does not work either :(
    any luck?

    • Jonathan says:

      Alissa, i’m working on creating an app for that will allow you to swap icon formats to any format one would need it in. When changing the type of icon, you have to do more than just change the name of it (ex. double clicking the name and changing .jpg to. hqx). The app will also automatically create icons that have the actual pic in the top left of the “get info” tab. I don’t have any specific date for when this will be available, but it is something that is in the works.

    • Jonathan says:

      Also, if you have any specific questions about the icons posted here, you should contact the icon author. Keep in mind they are the ones who created them, including the format of the “get info” tab.

  • Pup says:

    What the??? what is the last commenter trying to say?

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Goblin Ridge Limited, AEXT.NET Magazine. AEXT.NET Magazine said: RT @365icon How To Change Mac Dock Icons | […]

  • rezamarie says:

    what is the theme name for all of those icons shown where it says “how to change mac dock icons” it would be awesome to know because im in love with the designs.

  • Connor says:

    Also if u want cool dock settings get the dock do u know about this app

  • jraxer85 says:

    I would like to override my master icon so that when I create a new folder its the new icon. I would appreciate any help with this one. I have been looking around all the forums and have found plenty about changing single instances of an icon. But I cant find anything about swapping out the master icon.

  • Jaime says:

    Here is the “Right Now” Solution
    Open image in Preview. Press Cmd + A to select all. Press Cmd + C to copy image area. Then go to the “Get Info” window of your folder and click the top left icon as you say. Press Cmd + V. Icon should appear!

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  • Trixie says:

    I followed the instructions but the icon just says PNG. It doesn’t show the real icon. Please help?

  • jvannucci says:

    I’ve been using this technique for some time. I keep frequently used files on the right side of the dock, and give them meaningful icons. This worked for me consistently on Snow Leopard. Now that I’ve moved to Mountain Lion, I find the icons “stick” for a while, and then revert back to the default. They might last a couple of weeks, but never much longer. Apple support had no clue. Any ideas? ML just buggy as hell? (Note: it only seems to affect files, not folders. Permissions are correct, and have been repaired. In some cases the files have applescript that runs, but in other cases it’s just Excel.)

  • jimpres says:

    Your dock iCon change worked perfectly. Thanks.

  • nottinhill says:

    You need to use an ICNS File, png or jpg won’t work. Simple as that.

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