How to Customize File, Folder and Hard Drive Icons in Mac

Customise Your Mac

When it comes to customization, Apple doesn’t exactly give users limitless options. However, there are a few ways that you can add some personality to your MacBook, including changing the icons that appear across every part of your Mac.

You’ll learn in this tutorial how to put your own twist on Apple’s classic design by replacing any file, folder or hard drive icon with the image of your choice.

Why should I replace Apple’s stock icons?

While macOS’s built-in icons communicate some basic information about the items they’re representing, Apple uses exactly the same icon for all folders and hard drives and also uses the same icon for all files of the same type.

By default, Apple use exactly the same icon for every file and folder across macOS.

By replacing stock folder icons with your own images, you can create a visual code that allows you to tell, at a glance, whether a folder contains something boring like last year’s tax return, or something exciting like photos of your cat.

If you regularly switch between multiple hard drives, then assigning a unique icon to each hard drive can also help you keep track of which drive is currently connected to your Mac.

You can add personality to your Mac with stickers and decals, so why not take it to the next level and customize your icons, too?

Where can I find free icons for macOS?

If you want to replace macOS’s stock icons, then the first step is deciding what images you want to use instead.

There are countless alternative macOS icons available online, so if you have a specific icon in mind, then it’s always worth performing a quick search to see whether this turns up any results. For example, searching for “animal crossing macOS icons,” “the mandalorian macOS icons,” or even “windows 10-style macOS icons” will all return positive results.

If you don’t have a particular icon in mind, then websites such as IconArchive, icons8 and flaticon all put a catalog of macOS icons at your fingertips.

Once you have one or more icons that you want to use, it’s time to personalize your Mac!

Personalize any folder or file

You can replace any folder or file icon with any image of your choice:

1. Open a Finder window and navigate to the image that you want to use as your new icon.

2. Control-click the image in question and then select “Open with -> Preview.”

3. In the Preview window, select “Edit -> Select All” and copy the image either by selecting “Edit -> Copy” or by using the Command + C keyboard shortcut.

Open the image that you want to use as your new icon, and copy the entire image to your Mac's clipboard.

4. In the Finder, navigate to the folder or file where you want to use your new icon.

5. Control-click the item in question and then select “Get info.”

6. In the upper-left corner of the “Get info” window, select the current file or folder icon. It should now be highlighted in blue.

In the upper-left corner, click to the select the current icon graphic.

7. Paste your new icon over the current icon, either by selecting “Edit -> Paste” from the toolbar or using the Command + V keyboard shortcut.

Your file or folder will now update with your new icon!

You can use a different graphic for every single file and folder across your Mac.

Rinse and repeat for every file and folder you want to customize.

Use a custom hard drive icon

You can also change the icon that represents a specific hard drive:

1. Connect the hard drive to your Mac.

2. Open a Finder window and navigate to the image you want to use as your new icon.

3. Control-click the image in question and select “Open with -> Preview.”

4. Select the entire image by clicking “Edit -> Select All.”

5. Copy the image either by selecting “Edit -> Copy” or by using the Command + C keyboard shortcut.

6. In the Finder, navigate to the drive where you want to use this icon.

7. Control-click your hard drive, then select “Get info.”

8. In the “Get info” window, click to select the drive’s current icon.

9. Paste your new icon over the stock icon using either the Command + V shortcut or by selecting “Edit -> Paste.”

10. If prompted, enter your admin username and password.

As you can see, it is very easy to customize any folder, file or hard drive icon on your Mac. You can also choose to hide the Device’s icon if you like. For iOS, you can make use of Siri Shortcuts to replace your apps’ icons.

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