How to Change the Finder Dock Icon in Mac OS X

May 1, 2014 - 7 Comments

Change the Finder Dock icon in Mac O SX

The Finder smiling face Dock icon has been with Mac OS X since the very beginning, and the Finder face itself has been in Mac OS from it’s earliest origins as well. Some users may want to change the Dock Finder icon to something else for customization purposes, but the process is a bit more complex than simply changing an icon elsewhere on a Mac through the traditional Get Info approach.

This is a slightly advanced process that involves editing system folder documents, if you’re not comfortable with that idea, you probably shouldn’t try to change the Dock icons this way. Always back up your Mac before making any changes or adjustments to core OS folders.

Customizing & Replacing the Finder Dock Icon in Mac OS X

For the sake of this walkthrough, we’ll replace the default smiling Finder icon with a picture of a laptop from the bundled Mac hardware icons buried in OS X. Any other PNG image file will work, however.

  1. Have a PNG file that you want to use as the icon handy, name it “finder.png” for a regular Mac, or “finder@2x.png” for a Retina Mac – transparent PNG files that are at least 256×256 pixels work best
  2. From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up Go To Folder and enter the following path:
  3. /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/

  4. Locate the file named “finder.png” and “finder@2x.png” (the second file is for retina Macs, not necessary on standard resolution displays) and make a copy of these to the Desktop or somewhere else, this will serve as a backup
  5. Drag & drop your new “finder.png” file that you want to use as the new icon into the Resources folder, authenticate the change and choose “Replace”
  6. Replace the Finder Dock icon

  7. Still in the Finder, hit Command+Shift+G again and this time go to the following path:
  8. /private/var/folders/

  9. In the Finder search box, type “com.apple.dock.iconcache” and choose ‘folders’ as the search parameter (that is, the current directory and all subdirectories)
  10. Trash the “com.apple.dock.iconcache” when it’s found
  11. Remove the Dock icon cache

  12. Now launch the Terminal app, found in /Applicaitons/Utilities/, and type the following to refresh the Dock:
  13. killall Dock

  14. The Dock will relaunch and show the new Finder icon, replacing the smiling face with whatever your choice was

Replaced Dock Finder icon with a custom icon

If you want to revert back to the default Finder Dock icon, simply use the Go To Folder keystroke again, then copy the backups you made of “finder@2x.png” and “finder.png” to the following directory again:

/System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/

Now you just need to trash the icon cache file and relaunch the Dock. You’ll have your shiny smiling Finder happy face icon back as if it was never replaced.

If you’re feeling like customizing things even further, you’ll find the Dock Resources folder has many other icons to change, including the Trash icon and the indicator lights that appear under app icons in the Dock as well. Happy customizing!

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Customize, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

7 Comments

» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mike Alessi says:

    Awesome tip. Do you happen to know how to get folder icons that you put on the dock to remain the folder icons in Mavericks? Default behavior is for them to change into the top item in the folder. So for example, I put the downloads folder on the dock, and rather than looking like a folder, the icon changes into whatever I most recently downloaded.

  2. RD says:

    Hi,

    I cannot find the file ‘com.apple.dock.iconcache’ in the specified folder. I am using OS X 10.6.8

  3. DB says:

    This works fine as long as you are not running TotalFinder. If you have TotalFinder, then you must change the icons in the contents folder of TotalFinder as well. Then restart Finder and TotalFinder. Once that is done, then go into TotalFinder Preferences and turn back on “Keep original Dock icon”. Voila, all done. Icon will finally be changed.

  4. Make sure to use a lower-case ‘F’ when typing Finder, as a file name, or else non of this will work. Otherwise, super helpful.

Leave a Reply

 

Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on Amazon.com

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates