Is there a way to change the Finder icon in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, without using something like Candybar?

Here's what I've already tried updating (neither worked):

  • /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/FinderIcon.icns
  • /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/finder*.png
  • Tried replacing the Finder.icns, and now I can see my new icon being used in the "Force Quit App..", but not in command-tab or the dock (which is where I really want it). (Did the codesign, btw) Aug 1, 2011 at 19:39
  • Have you logged out and back in or restarted the machine after changing the icon?
    – Daniel Beck
    Aug 2, 2011 at 15:57
  • Absolutely. Logged-out & restarted. Aug 3, 2011 at 21:46

5 Answers 5


Swapping Dock Finder Icon

  1. Rename the 3 original files to be safe for a backup (I often add "_old." to the original files) they are found here:

  2. Copy your replacement files (make sure they are the right pixel dimensions and named the same as the original files (before you renamed them) i.e. FinderIcon.icns, finder.png, finder128.png) into the corresponding paths above.

  3. ** Then here's the real trick that's worked for me ... you basically need to update the iconcache file via the terminal. Open the terminal:

    • Type:

      sudo find /private/var/folders/ -name com.apple.dock.iconcache
    • Enter admin password.

    • Type:

      sudo find /private/var/folders/ -name com.apple.dock.iconcache -exec rm {} \; 2>/dev/null
    • Repeat step 3 for each user you want to have this affect because there is a separate (and permissions specific) cache file for each user-dock combo (you can just switch users, don't need to log-out).

  4. Open Activity Monitor "Quit Process" on both the Dock and the Finder to refresh the icons.

  5. The Dock should automatically relaunch on its own but to relaunch the Finder, go to the dock and click the Finder icon.


There is a small free utility named LiteIcon v.2.0beta. It works like a charm to change the Finder icon in Mac OS X Lion.

LiteIcon is a simple app which allows you to change your system icons quickly and easily. Simply drag an icon onto the one you want to change, and click the Apply Changes button. That's it. To restore an icon by the original, just drag it out.

(This isn't working for several people as of 10.7.4 update)

  1. Navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources and rename finder.png and finder128.png to anything you like eg. finderspare.png and finder128spare.png

    You can rename an icon simply by pressing the "return" key when the icon is selected. You have to rename them because it is impossible to simply replace them while they are still in use by the Lion OS.

  2. Drag your new icons of choice (that you've named finder.png and finder128.png obviously) into /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources

  3. This is the really important part – if you don't do this properly you'll end up with a Finder icon that is simply the stock PNG icon (a white document with PNG written on it)

    Shut Down your computer and start in safe mode – to do this, you hold down the Shift key as soon as the white screen appears. Hold the Shift key down until the login window appears.

    Enter your password and press Enter... and what happened to me was: My MacBook Air ticked over for a while (little spinning loading dial on the white screen, for about 2 minutes) and then the login window reappeared.

    I put my password in again and it worked. When I did this I also changed the Trash icons at the same time.


Did you replace finder.png AND finder128.png?

I think perhaps your finder*.png was meant for both but thought I'd check. I changed both png's and the findericon.icns (all in the places you have listed above) and relaunched Finder (ControlOption-Click on Finder in dock and relaunch.

I got my personal Finder icon back! The first time I replaced the files I forgot to do finder128 and my icon was changed everywhere yours was but not in my dock, so it seems to me that finder128.png is where the dock image is pulled from.


Its now much simpler since Mountain Lion

finder.png and finder@2x.png are under path /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/

Replace the png files with the ones you want. You could backup the original finder.png images by renaming them to something like finder_orig.png

Once you have the "new" finder.png and finder@2x.png images, open terminal and type in

killall Dock

That's it.

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