Beautiful Alternative Big Sur Themed Icons for your macOS Apps
The frustrated user’s guide on how to change macOS app icons to keep your Mac looking great
So, you’ve just updated your macOS to Big Sur (or recently obtained one of the recent Apple M1 chip devices) and uh oh, what is that!?
Yep, you’ve found an app with an icon that either doesn’t look right or does not quite fit in with the new Big Sur icon theme and you wish this could change.
Or perhaps the default Big Sur version icon just doesn’t look right… Yes Final Cut Pro (10.5), I’m looking at you.
If you’re anything like me, this doesn’t sit well. So what does one do?
Do something about it.
Fortunately, you can do something about this rather than accept this and be annoyed.
Thankfully, a few developers have taken the time to create some beautiful-looking icons. Not only are these unique, but they also will help make your Dock and Launchpad look more uniform.
On 13th Nov (2020), “1000+ free macOS Big Sur Icons” was listed on producthunt.com ranking number 5 as the product of the day.
“1000+ free macOS Big Sur Icons” is a community-led and open source project created by Elias Ruiz Monserrat full of app icon alternatives currently listing 1,912 (at the time of writing this) with a lot more to be added.
This excellent resource allows you to search for the app and download the icon you want to change it to. The search result will return with submissions from contributors with many alternatives to choose from.
By the way, anyone can contribute. Just head over to the website and click the “contribute” button. 👍
Alternatively, expand your horizons by checking these other icon resources out too.
Before you Begin.
When selecting alternatives, I highly recommend creating a folder somewhere on your computer or on your favourite cloud storage service. Go through and find the icons that you want to download and then place them in that created folder. This way, your Downloads folder won’t be cluttered with icons, and you can keep them all in the same place.
How to Change your App Icons in Big Sur.
Unfortunately, the pre-installed macOS Big Sur icons such as “System Preferences”, “App Store” and “Safari” to name a few, can not be changed (yet). I know, they are probably the ones you were dying to change (yes, in my opinion, some are a bit too much on the cartoonish side), but hey, the icons you can change are probably with apps you actually use anyway.
There are two ways of changing the icons.
The first approach is by manually changing them — it’s easy.
- Navigate to the “Applications” folder.
- Find the app you wish to change its icon.
- Press ⌘+I (Or right-click → Get Info). The app Info pop-up window will be displayed.
- Drag and drop the new icon over the small icon in the top left of the Info window (you may be prompted to enter your password due to making a system change).
- Done! — Keep in mind that this will reset with every app update.
The second approach has to do with an app that changes it for you.
The app is called Pictogram, created by Neil Sardesai. Not only does the app make it easy to change the icon for you, but it also preserves your custom icons, even after your apps update themselves. An issue I highlighted in the earlier manual approach.
Do note, that Pictogram is currently in beta. It also can’t change the pre-installed macOS icons or apps downloaded from the App Store (yet?).
If you are new to changing icons, do give it a go. Have fun, your working self will thank you for it.