Remove the Alias Arrow Badge From Icons in Mac OS X

Jun 23, 2012 - 9 Comments

Remove the alias arrow badge from icons in Mac OS X

Anytime you create an alias in Mac OS X the resulting alias of a file, app, or folder, will include the arrow icon in the corner. This makes it easy to identify any item as an alias, but you can hide the alias arrow badge from icons if you don’t want to see them:

  1. From the OS X Finder hit Command+Shift+G and enter the following path:
  2. /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/

  3. Locate the file named “AliasBadgeIcon.icns” and rename it to “AliasBadgeIcon-no.icns”, you will need to authenticate the change because this is a system folder
  4. Launch the Terminal from /Applications/Utilities/ or by hitting Command+Spacebar and typing “Terminal”
  5. Type “killall Finder” to relaunch the Finder

The Mac OS X Finder and desktop will refresh and all the alias icons will be gone.

This is not a permanent change. To re-enable the arrow badges again, go back to the same Resources directory and rename the “AliasBadgeIcon-no.icns” badge back to “AliasBadgeIcon.icns”, then kill the Finder again to refresh and to see the alias arrows again.

Most users won’t want to do this but there are certainly use cases where people may want to, like when creating a custom app launcher or even just to create a more minimalist desktop appearance.

Thanks to @oldrobot for the tip idea. Have a question or tip idea? Follow us on Twitter or send us an email and ask away!

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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

9 Comments

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  1. Jason says:

    This did not work for me in OSX 10.7

  2. This did not work in Mac OS X 10.6, too. The reason is easy, you don’t have the permissions. You can try this:
    1. open Terminal
    2. type cd /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/ -> press enter
    3. type sudo mv AliasBadgeIcon.icns AliasBadgeIcon-no.icns -> press enter -> enter password
    4. type killall Finder -> works now
    or you activate the root – user
    to undo this setting you need the Terminal again.

  3. info alias says:

    How about dragging the folder to the Dock and using it as it was intended? Aliases sprinkled on the Desktop is not usual practice for Mac users.

  4. NeilM says:

    Not a great idea. Sooner or later you’ll end up copying what you thought was a file/folder to an external drive or server, then when you come to use it find that you only have the alias.

    There’s a reason that aliases have an distinct flag.

  5. jeff says:

    i see 99 downsides to this for every 1 upside.

  6. mike says:

    Nice. I love it for my custom docks and alias windows. Looks beautiful. No danger in screwing things up if you know what you’re doing. Thx for the tip.

  7. Chris says:

    Thanks, that was helpful.

    Only retards will complain about this…

  8. RadicalxEdward says:

    I’ve never understood why people feel the need to read an article they have no interest in, then comment on the article they have no interest in to complain that niche tips like this are stupid/bad/useless/etc just because they’re not the norm. The post specifically says “Most users won’t want to do this but there are certainly use cases where people may want to.”

    For instance the only place I use aliases is for making folders with categories of apps to use in my dock. I don’t want them all having the little alias arrow. I’m smart enough to know that if I want to copy an app to another drive or something, that I need to copy it from the applications folder, not a subfolder that I created myself. So for me (and likely many others that would actually use this tip) there is 1 upside and 0 downsides.

    If there were 99 downsides for you, you wouldn’t be using it and wouldn’t need to even read this article and comment on it.

    • RadicalxEdward says:

      And P.S. after writing all that, the tip doesn’t work for me even with the sudo method. When I restart finder the arrows are still there even though the image has been renamed.

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