How to Extract Icons from the Apps on Your Mac

Extracting app icons on a Mac is useful in many ways. Maybe you are writing an eBook and you need the icons for the apps that you are going to mention in your book, or you just want to have the back of your laptop filled with different app icons. Whatever the reason is, getting the icons off apps is easier in Mac than any other platform. The built-in utilities on your Mac allows you to extract an icon from an app without much hassle. So if that is what you want to do, this guide should help you.

There are actually two ways to extract the icon of an app on your Mac. The first method takes help of the content manager to provide you with the icon, and the second one uses the Preview app that you must be familiar with if you have been using a Mac for quite some time. Here’s how you can use both of these ways.

Using this way only requires you to open Finder and do some clicking to get the job done. Here’s how you can do that.

Open the folder where the app you want to extract the icon is located. If you want to grab the icon of a system app that has come preloaded on your Mac, you can just head to the Applications folder where all of those applications are located.

Right click on the app and select “Show Package Contents.” It will let you see the actual files that reside in the application format.

Right-click on the app and select 'Show Package Contents.'

You should see a new folder labeled as “Contents.” Double click on it to open it.

You should now see a new folder labeled 'Contents.'

You now have several folders on your screen. Open the folder that is labeled as “Resources,” as that is where the resources, including the icon, are located.

Open the folder that is labeled 'Resources.'

You are now in the folder where the icons you were looking for are located. Just look around for the app icon you want to extract; it will be in “.icns” format. Once you have found it, you can copy it and use it wherever you want.

Look for the app icon you want to extract.

If the default icon format doesn’t work for you, you can convert them to a more popular image format using the Preview app on your Mac.

If you would prefer using Preview to extract the icon, here’s how you can do that.

Open the folder where your app is located.

Right click on the app and select “Get Info.” It will open properties of that particular app containing the icon file.

Right-click on the app and select 'Get Info.'

When the properties open, click on the little app icon given in the top left corner. Then, click on the “Edit” menu in the menu bar and select “Copy.” It will copy the selected icon to your clipboard.

Copy the selected icon to your clipboard.

Your icon is now ready to be pasted. To do that, click on Launchpad in your dock, search for and click on Preview, and it will launch for you.

Open the Preview app.

When Preview launches, click on “File” followed by “New from Clipboard.” It will create a new file from your clipboard.

Click on 'File' followed by 'New from Clipboard.'

You should be able to see the app icon in multiple sizes that you can use. To save the icon, click on “File” followed by “Save…”

Save the icon.

In the save dialog box, you can choose the format you wish to save the icon in and can checkmark the “Alpha” box to preserve the transparency. When that is done click the “Save” button to save the icon in your chosen format.

Choose the format you wish to save the icon in.

The extracted app icon is now available for you to use.

Often, while writing guides or creating a roundup article, you will need those little app icons to make your work more enjoyable to the readers’ eyes. The above guide should help you do that on a Mac.