How to Change Dock Icons on a Mac

There are many reasons to change the icons that appear in the Dock on our Mac, and it’s easy enough to do, leaving you no reason to have to stick with the ones that are automatically attached to files and folders. If you want the dock icons to be something more personal to you, to all match a particular theme, or just have a change of pace, you only need to change the actual icon for that particular app or folder. It’s that easy,

Free Icon Sets are found all over the web. The particular one I’m using for this piece was found at Icon Drawer. Initiate the download as you would with any other download, making sure you follow the usage rules laid out on the site.


I want to change my Pictures Folder icon to being black and blue like the logos surrounding it. It’s not even clear looking at this which one it is. Currently it’s the top one shown here and showing the contents of the folder. I’m going to both change the icon, and change this setting so that it shows the icon, and not the contents.


The first thing I need to do is select the new file that contains the new logo. Instead of opening it, though, I go to the FIle Menu and pull up “Get Info,” or press Command-I.


From the resulting pop-up, select the tiny icon in the upper left corner and go to the Edit menu and pull up on “Copy,” or press Command-C.


If I clicked on the folder in the dock, it would open it. Instead, I find the application on my hard drive and “Get Info” the same way I did to copy the new logo. This time after I select that small icon in the upper left, I go to the Edit menu and “Paste,” or press Command-P.


To get the change to be reflected in the dock, I need to drag the folder out of the dock and replace it with the changed folder. I still see the contents of the folder, though, and that’s because it’s saved as a Stack and not a Folder. To change this, right click on the folder, and change it from Stack to Folder.


It should be noted that not all dock icons can be changed in this manner. The icons that ship with the Mac OS, such as iTunes, Mail, etc., are set so that you can’t simply copy and paste it away. You will need a program such as CandyBar to do that. However, that application comes with a $29 pricetag.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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