About the icons that represent files on your Mac

Every file, folder, and disk on your Mac is represented by an icon.

Icons often look like what that they represent. For example, the icon for your hard drive (Macintosh HD) looks like a hard drive, a text document looks like a piece of paper, and a folder icon looks like a folder where you store papers.

App icons are all generally unique, so they stand out from one another:

Folders contain other files, such as your documents or apps. Certain folder icons help you identify what's inside of them, such as apps, documents or music:

File icons generally display a document with an app icon or other image that lets you know what application created it or can open it.

How to change the icon of an item

  1. Copy an icon or image that you want to use:
    • To copy the icon used by another file, select the file, then choose Edit > Copy from the menu bar.
    • To copy a GIF, PNG, JPEG or other image, double-click the image to open it. Select all of the image or a portion of it, then choose Edit > Copy from the menu bar.
  2. Select the file that you want to change, then choose Edit > Get Info from the menu bar. An Info window opens.
  3. Click the icon in the upper-left corner of the Info window to select it.
  4. Choose Edit > Paste to replace the icon with the image or icon you copied. To undo the change, select the icon in the Info window again, then choose Edit > Cut.

Learn more

  • To change the size of icons on your desktop or in Finder windows, choose View > Show View Options.
  • You can also change the user picture for your macOS user account. This is the icon that appears in the login window when you start up your Mac. It also appears by default as your picture in the Contacts app.
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