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How to change app icons on macOS

Big Sur has brought a design change to macOS. There are lots of UI changes but you will notice the change in the icons before you notice anything else. They’re rounded and in the eyes of many users, they’re also kind of ugly. With the stock apps, you can’t do much about the new icons but for other apps, you can easily change the icon to anything you like.

Change app icons on macOS

Apps tend to follow the design pattern that’s set by Apple for its operating system. This means that apps will be updating their icons to match the UI of macOS even if users find them ugly. 

Find new app icons

Big Sur’s icons have not been well received which is why you will find lots of icon packs are now available for macOS. An icon pack is normally free and contains icons for popular apps, as well as a few less popular ones. You can search for them online or, you can create an icon from a PNG image you like.

To create an icon from a PNG image, follow these steps.

  1. Find a PNG image that would make a good icon; has transparency where needed and is square in size.
  2. Visit Cloud Convert.
  3. Upload the PNG file and click Convert.
  4. Download the ICNS file.

Change app icon on macOS

The ICNS file format is the icon format that’s used on macOS. Now that you have your icon file, you can use it for any third-party app of your choice. 

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Navigate to the app that you want to change the icon for.
  3. Right-click the app and select Get Info from the context menu.
  4. Open another Finder window.
  5. Navigate to where the ICNS (icon) file is saved.
  6. Drag the icon file and drop it onto the icon you see in the Get Info window.
  7. The icon will be updated.

Reset app icon on macOS

If you don’t like the new icon you’ve set for an app, you can change it again the same way you as before. If however, you’d like to go back to the old/default icon for an app, you can.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Navigate to the app you want to change the icon for.
  3. Right-click it and select Get Info from the context menu.
  4. In the Get Info window, select the current icon so that it has a blue highlight around it.
  5. Tap the Delete key.
  6. The icon will be reset to the default icon.


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