Today I was working on getting multiple versions of the same application running on Mac OSX 10.7 Lion and wanted to add both versions of the application to the dock on my Mac desktop. To minimize confusion for which version of the application I was running I needed to modify the application icon so it looked different in the OSX dock. Follow the directions below to modify the icon of a specific application on your Mac.
Application Used To Modify Mac OSX Application Icon:
I rarely write articles involving paid software and will typically go to great lengths to find a open source version of an application that will accomplish the task at hand. In this scenario where I wanted to modify an application icon on OSX Lion I first attempted to use the Icon Composer that comes bundled with XCode Developer however Icon Composer wasn’t the easiest to solution so I decided to search a bit more. I ended up using Img2icns which provides some functionality for free but in this case it will take purchasing a license. Luckily the license for Img2icns only costs $12.90 and is well worth it if you want to modify OSX application icons.
Download & Install Img2icns On Mac OSX Lion:
First download and install Img2icns by clicking here. You can download the freeware version which has limitations and then enter the serial after you decide you like the interface. You will need the paid license for Img2icns if you are using the instructions below. Once you decide you like the freeware version you can purchase a license from within the application by clicking Img2icns in the top menu, selecting About Img2icns, and then clicking on the Buy License link that is displayed in the About Img2icns window. Once Img2icns is installed and the license entered proceed to the directions below.
Modify Mac OSX Application Icon Using Img2icns:
- Launch Img2icns: Locate Img2icns in the Mac Applications list and double click it to launch the application. The initial window will look similar to the below example image with the help balloons enabled by default the first time you launch Img2icns.
- Copy Application Icon: Right click on the application for which you want to modify the icon and select Get Info to display a window similar to the below example using Firefox.
Now click the icon, which in this case is the Firefox icon, located in the top left corner of the App Info window. Once clicked a blue outline should show around the icon as shown in the above example image. Now either right click and select Copy or with the icon highlighted click Command+c to copy the icon.
- Open Icon In Favorite Image Editor: Open your favorite image editor such as Adobe Photoshop which is what will be used in this example. In Photoshop click File and select New from the drop down menu to open a blank 512×512 canvas. Now either click Command+v on the keyboard or click Edit in the Photoshop top navigation menu and select Paste from the drop down to insert the contents of your clipboard to the blank canvas in Photoshop. You should now see the icon you want to edit in Photoshop or your favorite image editor as shown in the below example.
You could also obviously start with a blank canvas with the dimensions set to 512×512.
- Modify Application Icon & Save: Now make whatever changes you would like to make to the OSX application icon and then save the file to your desktop as a .PNG file.
- Import PNG To Img2icns: With Img2icns open on your desktop drag the .PNG file you saved in step for into the Img2icns application interface which will then look like the below example.
- Export New ICNS & Apply To Application: Click the ICNS button located to the right of the new application icon that has been imported into Img2icns. This will open a finder window asking where you want to save the image which again I would save to the desktop. Highlight the new .icns file on your desktop and either click Commnd+c or select Edit from the top navigation menu and select Copy from the drop down. Now right click the application again and select Get Info to display the application Get Info window. Highlight the icon in the top left corner of the App Info window and this time either click Command+v on your keyboard or select Edit from the top navigation menu and select Paste from the drop down menu. The Get Info window should now display the new icon as shown in the below example image.
Now when you launch the application the new icon will display in the dock!