How to change the Finder Dock Icon in OSX

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 11.17.26 PM

The Finder smiling face Dock icon has been with Mac OS X since the very beginning, and the Finder face itself has been in Mac OS from it’s earliest origins as well. Some users may want to change the Dock Finder icon to something else for customization purposes, but the process is a bit more complex than simply changing an icon elsewhere on a Mac through the traditional Get Info approach.

This is a slightly advanced process that involves editing system folder documents, if you’re not comfortable with that idea, you probably shouldn’t try to change the Dock icons this way. Always back up your Mac before making any changes or adjustments to core OS folders.

For the sake of this walkthrough, we’ll replace the default smiling Finder icon with a picture of a laptop from the bundled Mac hardware icons buried in OS X. Any other PNG image file will work, however.

To access the hidden hardware icon pack:

  1. From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up the “Go To Folder” window and enter the following path:
  2. /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/
  3. Scroll down until you start finding icns files named “” followed by the hardware name
  4. Get the high resolution versions either by double-clicking the .icns file to open it in Preview, or by using Command+I and copying the icon directly.


Have a PNG file that you want to use as the icon handy(see above), name it “finder.png” for a regular Mac, or “finder@2x.png” for a Retina Mac – transparent PNG files that are at least 256×256 pixels work best
From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up Go To Folder and enter the following path:
Locate the file named “finder.png” and “finder@2x.png” (the second file is for retina Macs, not necessary on standard resolution displays) and make a copy of these to the Desktop or somewhere else, this will serve as a backup

Drag & drop your new “finder.png” file that you want to use as the new icon into the Resources folder, authenticate the change and choose “Replace”Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 11.25.42 PMStill in the Finder, hit Command+Shift+G again and this time go to the following path:


In the Finder search box, type “” and choose ‘folders’ as the search parameter (that is, the current directory and all subdirectories)
Trash the “” when it’s foundScreen Shot 2014-05-17 at 11.28.08 PM

Now launch the Terminal app, found in /Applicaitons/Utilities/, and type the following to refresh the Dock: (remember the upper case on Dock)
killall Dock
The Dock will relaunch and show the new Finder icon, replacing the smiling face with whatever your choice was.

And here is a screen shot of mine 🙂Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 11.32.37 PM

Stay tuned for how to get the following effects on your Dock for Applications, Documents, Utilities etcScreen Shot 2014-05-17 at 11.34.16 PM