How to Change the Finder Dock Icon in Mac OS X
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.
- Have a PNG file that you want to use as the icon handy, name it “finder.png” for a regular Mac, or “firstname.lastname@example.org” for a Retina Mac – transparent PNG files that are at least 256×256 pixels work best
- From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up Go To Folder and enter the following path:
- Locate the file named “finder.png” and “email@example.com” (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
- 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”
- Still in the Finder, hit Command+Shift+G again and this time go to the following path:
- 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)
- Trash the “com.apple.dock.iconcache” when it’s found
- Now launch the Terminal app, found in /Applicaitons/Utilities/, and type the following to refresh the Dock:
- The Dock will relaunch and show the new Finder icon, replacing the smiling face with whatever your choice was
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 “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “finder.png” to the following directory again:
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!