The default file and folder icons in macOS are fine. Really, the are. They’re just fine. But wouldn’t it be nice to spice them up a little bit? Throw in a bit of your own brand, so that the next time somebody sees your Desktop, they think to themselves, “Wow, they sure have some style!” I’m sure that’s a thing that happens, right? Well, even if it doesn’t, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Don’t want to be caught with drab icons, so here’s how to get a little extra pizazz on your Mac’s Desktop.
Personalizing icons on your computer Desktop isn’t just for style. It can also do wonders for organization, giving a unique identifier to an otherwise homogenous collection of folders, documents, dives and images. The first step in that direction is finding the image you want to use. Most images will do, so feel free to scour the Internet or your own photo library for inspiration.
Once you’ve found a good image and have saved it to your computer, we’ll need to copy it. Open up Preview or any other image editor, and use either the menu bar’s Edit>Copy or a simple Command+C to copy either the full image or whatever portion of it that you’d like to use as your new icon.
Find the file or folder for which you’d like to replace the icon, and right-click it, then select “Get Info.”
At the top left corner of the resulting window, you’ll see a small icon that matches the existing icon for that file or folder. Go ahead and click on that icon, and it will become highlighted.
After that, just go ahead and paste the new icon, either via a simple Command+V or by going to the menu bar and clicking on Edit>Paste. The small icon in the window, as well as the icon on the Desktop, should update to the new image.
If you ever want to undo these changes, that’s pretty simple as well: simply open up the Get Info window of the desired file or folder, the same as before, and highlight the small icon at the top left corner again. Then, in the menu bar, choose Edit>Cut. It should immediately revert to its original image. You can also use the Command+X keyboard combination, or simply press the Delete key.
This nifty trick works with almost all file types, including documents, folders, internal & external drives and apps. There are a few exceptions, but feel free to discover those as you play around. You can even change the icons for apps in your Dock, though you have to do that from the Applications folder in a Finer window, and will need to remove and re-add the app in your Dock before the change will take effect.