Change Sidebar Categories in Finder and iTunes

In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the steps you need in order to change various strings in OS X’s Finder and iTunes. The same process can be applied to pretty much any other applications.

I find Leopard’s sidebar to be a very handy place to store my most frequently used folders and as a way to access any external or USB drives I have plugged in at the moment.  What I can’t stand, however, are the obnoxious capitalized categories (DEVICES, PLACES, etc.) that Apple forces upon us. Let’s change those to normal capitalization.

Before going any further, I must warn you that while this particular example is very easy, in general you should not change files in the System Folder.  While working through this tutorial, pay attention to what you can and cannot change.  Keep backups of the original files before editing them.  Do not add carriage returns (pressing the “enter” key in the middle of a line), delete or add any type of special character (any of the following: % ^ ; / = * ), or change spacing. MakeTechEasier is not responsible for any damage you do to your system.

To begin, log in to the administrator account on your Mac and navigate to

/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj

either by clicking through the hierarchy** or pressing Command + Shift + G and copying the path from above. If you navigate manually, once you find the Finder in /System/Library/CoreServices you’ll need to right click and “Show Package Contents.

LocalizableCore.strings is located in the Finder.app package contents.

Locate the file called LocalizableCore.strings, and make a copy of this file before you do any editing.  Store it in a place you can remember (like the Desktop).

Open LocalizableCore.strings in your favorite text editor. I use BBEdit, but TextEdit (included with OS X) or TextWrangler (BBEdit’s little brother, free) will work just fine.

You’re presented with a list in which each line has two entries in quotes separated by an equals sign. On the left are the variable names used by the system.  DO NOT TOUCH THESE. On the right are the strings that those variables pass to the user interface.  These are what we’ll be editing.

Find the line

"SD5" = "DEVICES";

(It’s line 50)

You can change “DEVICES” to whatever you want.  I chose “Devices.”  You can do the same thing to SD6-SD8, but remember not to change any values on the left-hand side of the equal sign.

Save your changes and enter your administrator password when prompted. You need to Relaunch Finder for the changes to take effect; Hold down Option and right-click on Finder in Dock and choose “Relaunch” or launch Terminal.app and type in

killall Finder

followed by the enter key.

Your Finder Sidebar is no longer yelling at you.

¡Viola! You now have unobtrusive sidebar categories in Finder.

Now let’s change the sidebar categories in iTunes.

Navigate to

/Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj

(Note: if you have moved iTunes to a different directory besides /Applications/ you’ll need to put in the correct path.)

Make a copy of Localizable.strings before doing anything.

Open Localizable.strings in a text editor.

Modified iTunes SidebarThe sidebar category strings are located in the lines with variable names 135.011-135.014 (file lines 189-192).  Again I changed mine so they looked less obnoxious, but you’re free to put in whatever you want.

Save your changes and relaunch iTunes for the changes to take effect.

I could not figure out how to change the sidebar capitalization in Apple Mail.  If anyone knows how, let me know and I’ll update the tutorial (as well as be eternally grateful).