How to use custom app icons on macOS Big Sur


With the release of macOS Big Sur, Apple has redesigned all of its Mac app icons with new colors and a new square shape. As such, many third-party apps have also redesigned their icons to match the new Big Sur aesthetic. Some of these icon changes have proven to be controversial, but macOS Big Sur actually makes it easier to use custom app icons. This is how it works.

Where to find custom Mac app icons

A new The macOS Icon Pack website is born on the web with nearly 3,000 different icons to choose from. There are icons for a wide variety of third-party apps, such as Adobe apps, Microsoft apps, Spotify, Twitter, and more.

The macOS Icon Pack website also includes icons for Apple apps like GarageBand, Pages, and Numbers. Apple allows you to change app icons for some of its apps, but not all. For example, you can change the GarageBand icon, but you can’t change the icons for things like Music, Safari, or Messages.

There are also other sources of custom Mac application icons, including the MacOS Icon Gallery, Gum campaigns, and more.

How to use a custom Mac app icon

While things are a bit trickier on iOS, it’s actually incredibly easy to change a Mac app’s icon. In this example, we’ll be replacing the Slack icon with an icon that matches Big Sur’s aesthetic and is more compatible with dark mode.

  1. Open Finder
  2. Go to your Applications folder
  3. Search for Slack
  4. Choose Slack and press CMD + I or right click and choose “Get Info”
  5. Drag the icon you download (it must be in .icns format) to the small icon in the “Get Info” window in the upper left corner
    1. Alternatively: Copy the new icon, click the small preview icon, then paste it

One important thing to note is that you will need to completely close the app and reopen it for the icon change to take effect. And to go back to the stock icon, just repeat the above steps, but click click on the little icon preview and hit delete.

Are there any apps you plan to change the icon for? Let us know in the comments!

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