Increase the Size of Mac OS X Desktop Icons

Mar 16, 2011 - 5 Comments

finder icon sizes It’s really easy to increase the size of the icons that appear on the Mac OS X desktop or anywhere in Finder by using an adjustable slider. This lets you select icon sizes as small as 16×16 pixels and as large as 512 x 512 pixels, which is really quite big, and of course, you can pick any size in between too.

We’ll cover both how to change the icon size of both Desktop items, and the icon size of files and folders shown within a Finder window of Mac OS X.

Here is how to increase the size of your Mac icons on the desktop or in a Finder file system window:

Change the Size of Desktop Icons in Mac OS X

  1. Click on the Mac OS X desktop
  2. Hit Command+J, or pull down the View menu and select “Show View Options”
  3. Use the slider underneath “Icon Size” to adjust to the desired icon size, sizes shown are in pixels and the change is immediately visible as icon size is expanded or shrunk with the sliders movement


Icon sizes are increased and decreased on the fly so you can see exactly what they will look like.

Adjusting Icon Size of Items in Finder Windows of Mac OS X

If you want to adjust the size of Finder folder icons instead of just items on the desktop, you simply need to use the View Options settings panel from an open and active Finder window:

  1. Open a Finder window in OS X and choose Icon View if it is not already active
  2. Now pull down the “View” menu and choose “Show View Options”
  3. Adjust the icon size slider as desired, you can make icons bigger or smaller – choose “Use as Default” if you want to make this icon size apply to all other Finder windows

Make icons bigger in Mac OS X Folder windows

The maximum size for icons is 512×512 pixels, which is quite large and looks something like this:

Mac Finder

That’s pretty big, but if it isn’t large enough for your needs, you can make the icons huge using the Terminal, up to 1024×1024 pixels, so long as the icons have retina sizes available to them.

This is great to do if you’re setting up a Mac for a kid, someone who is visually impaired, or even for someone whose computer skills are not particularly advanced. Big icons are hard to miss, and make it a bit easier to navigate things.

Bonus tip: for those with multitouch trackpads, you can also use a reverse pinch motion after clicking on the desktop and the icon sizes will grow. That works the same on a MacBook as it does with a Magic Trackpad on a desktop Mac. Try it out, it’s pretty neat.


Related articles:

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


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  1. Stacy says:

    I tried this, but it made a copy of the icon somehow and now I can’t get rid of the “fake” double. The actual clickable icons will increase or decrease in size, but the copy just sits there. It won’t let me drag it to the trash, and there’s no option to delete with a right click.

  2. […] the icon size and font text size of Finder […]

  3. […] the cursor, but it’s also a great feature to enable for young kids. Combine this tip with increasing the desktop icon size or even making Mac OS X look like iOS to further simplify the user […]

  4. Coyote says:

    You can click on the Desktop or any Finder windows and pinch to zoom or shrink icons.

  5. Anthony says:

    I think the bigger icons just look better, as long as you don’t clutter up the desktop.

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