How do I change the folder icon images on Mac OS X Lion?

Sarah August 27, 2011
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I have a new iMac OSX (Lion). I want to change the folder icons (for the hard drive, aliases etc.) to my own image. Going to “get info” and cutting and pasting the image I want to use does NOT work for me.

When I “get info” on an image, the upper left corner does not reveal the image, just the generic image of jpg or pdf (I CAN see the real image in the preview part of “get info”). When I paste, it just puts the same generic image of jpg or pdf.

Seems my problem would be solved if I knew how to get the actual image to appear in the upper left corner… Any advice?

  1. Emily Porta
    April 20, 2012 at 1:42 am

    I have been trying to get this to work all day, THANK YOU!!

  2. Kc Ghee
    March 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Thanks worked perfectly!!!!

  3. HelenTeaching
    March 10, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Mike - Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Magic, as if an absolute treat.  New Mac, no idea on 'how to' loads of stuff so I will be back!

  4. Kingsoft geo
    March 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Bravo man...

  5. Epijim
    March 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Works in Lion as well! Great! Tks!

  6. Anand
    March 4, 2012 at 2:14 am

    Simple and fast. Thanks,

  7. Amar
    February 11, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Thanks Mike really appreciate your help. :D

  8. Abc
    January 12, 2012 at 3:06 am

    Thanks Mike, so useful ^^

  9. Matt
    December 1, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Worked great!  Thanks a bunch!

  10. Ed
    November 20, 2011 at 8:29 am

    thanks mike!

  11. Nilabeldanielw
    November 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Many thanks~~ i have to say!!!

  12. Rodrigo Urizar
    November 8, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Really good one

  13. Jan-paul van den Bos
    October 9, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Thanks Mike, perfect answer. 

  14. Yve
    September 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    simple & Good. Learned something new.

  15. Mike
    August 27, 2011 at 10:17 am

    In order to copy paste a folder icon you have to copy the actual image ~ not the entire file or it's (preview) icon.

    1. open the image in Preview
    2. chose Edit > select all (cmd + a)
    3. chose Edit > copy (cmd + c)
    4. now open up the "Get Info" tab on the Folder
    5. select the Folder icon at the top left and and press cmd + v

    • Michaeler
      October 16, 2011 at 7:27 am

      Aces. Good advice that works. Thanks.

    • Victor Kzam
      December 19, 2011 at 12:07 am

      Great, it worked for me too!

    • Matt
      February 8, 2012 at 12:55 am

      Thank you truly Mike!

    • Laurel
      February 11, 2012 at 3:32 am

      Sure appreciate you taking the time to write this down.  Worked like a charm!

    • 91sunflowers
      April 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm

       Fantastic -- could not figure it out on Lion -- Thanks so much

    • Alex
      April 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks, it's exactly what I was looking for. :]

    • erik
      May 5, 2012 at 5:27 am

      mike, thanks man!

    • ioana
      June 5, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Thank you!! Very easy and helpful!

    • Jon Pickles
      June 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Awesome thanks

    • Angus McColl
      June 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Hmmm... Am I the only one who can't get this to work! I followed Mike's suggestions but while my icon shows up in the 'Get Info' window, it doesn't appear on the left side of the finder window. Very frustrating...

      • Mike
        June 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        It may depend on the OSX version you are running. For Lion (10.7) custom images are not displayed in the sidebar. It will always use the folder icon from CoreService in a 'gray scale' which simply is a plain folder icon.

        I found one thread related to getting colored icons and therefor custom icons back but I haven't tested it myself.

    • Leiah
      June 22, 2012 at 4:17 am

      awesome Mike - thanks.
      Works so easy ... lost my paper I had all this written down on ... glad I found this page.


    • MacLover 83729384721
      July 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks! Thats really amazingly cool!

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