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How to set Custom App Icons for Third Party Apps on macOS

29th November 2021

Jacob Woolcock



In this short tutorial I’ll show you how you can replace the default app icon for any third party app on macOS Bis Sur. Now you won’t have to be stuck with app icons that don’t match your overall aesthetic, and you can download custom icon packs to really make your Dock Icons look amazing. You can make all your apps fit the new Big Sur style design – or do the complete opposite and restore the original icons too if you want! Find out how in this short and friendly tutorial.

Download the fab Juice icon pack by Michael Flarup on Apply Pixels here:

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With the release of MacOS Big Sur, one of the big points of contention has been the icon design. A lot of third-party apps haven’t yet changed their icons to match the new style, but don’t worry, you can change them yourself. Here’s how. And you know what, if you find this tip helpful, please do Subscribe to my Channel. There are loads of iPhone, iPad, and Mac #QuickTips just waiting for you there.

There are quite a few different icon packs available on the internet, I really like this pack called Juice on Apply Pixels. Now you need to make sure the download is a dot ICNS file – that’s Mac’s native icon type. So I’m going to grab this icon pack and download it to my Mac. Now in my Download Folder, I’ve got 47 beautiful new icons that I can start using across my Mac. So I’m going to choose which app to replace the icon for (and this only works for third-party apps at the moment). You can change first-party apps too but that’s quite a lot more of a complicated process and it doesn’t really fit into the remit of this #QuickTips video. Keep your eyes tuned on the Channel; there’ll be a video for first-party apps soon.

But for third-party apps like Zoom or Photoshop or Twitter, we can change them easily. So the trick is to open up a new Finder window and go to the Applications Folder. In there, I’m going to choose Photoshop first of all. So I’m going to open the Photoshop folder and find the Photoshop application. From here, you’re going to press Command-I, or you can Control-Click and select Get Info. You’ll find a new panel that pops up with information about the App, and in the top left corner is a tiny thumbnail of the app icon. All you need to do is drag-and-drop that dot ICNS file and let go of it on the tiny thumbnail in the top left corner. You’ll probably be asked to confirm this with your password or your Touch ID but then the icon will be changed.

Close that panel down, launch the app, and the first time it launches, you’ll notice that icon in the Dock updates. Let’s try that again, this time with the Zoom icon. So the Zoom app icon is quite a flat icon, and the style of Big Sur has a bit more depth to the icons than that, so I’m going to find the icon in the Applications folder. I’m going to Control-Click, or press Command-I, to Get Info and then I’m going to drag the new icon, the ICNS file, onto the little thumbnail on the top left corner. As soon as I open Zoom that icon will change and now I’ve got a brand new style for my Zoom app in my Dock.

As I mentioned before, there are tons of these icon packs available online and you haven’t got to keep that same aesthetic of the Big Sur icon either – you can change it to be any size, any shape, even back the old icons if you want to! You can even make your own ICNS files using programs like Photoshop but again that’s a tip for another day.

Lastly, you might be thinking to yourself ‘but hang on, what about the actual main Apple apps like Safari or Finder or any of those built-in apps?’. Well, you can press Get Info and you can get the thumbnail in the corner but you can’t change the icon in the same way. It is possible but it involves going into Terminal and doing quite a few different commands that quite honestly are beyond the scope of this particular video. Stay tuned to my Channel though and I’ll do a full walkthrough of that sometime in the future.

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