As you might have guessed from my past articles here, I tend to heavily customize the appearance of OS X on any machines I use regularly. Looking at my desktop, I see no default icons, my dock isn’t much better, and every time I use someone […]

As you might have guessed from my past articles here, I tend to heavily customize the appearance of OS X on any machines I use regularly. Looking at my desktop, I see no default icons, my dock isn’t much better, and every time I use someone else’s machine, I’m generally surprised by the candy-colored dots springing out of the top of my windows.

Then I upgraded to Leopard.

To my faint surprise, most of my icons were gone. Some, fortunately, stuck around – the sea serpent body parts that I use for drive icons, notably – but others, including the complete replacement of the system icons (David Lanham’s Agua set; see my previous posts for a link) had gone. My utter loathing of the boring, front-on, barely-embossed Leopard default folders began. The candy buttons were back, too. The new install ate ShapeShifter and Samui. As if that weren’t enough, I keep my dock on the left, meaning I’m left out of all the fun of customizing my dock; the dark-glass theme completely overrides any modifications made, even if they show up when the dock is at the bottom of the screen.

The Leopard-default replacements aren’t particularly good, either, failing usual interface guidelines in terms of color, shape, and aesthetic rules. For example, take the icon for the music folder. On the left, Leopard’s default; on the right, a Tiger-style music folder. Note how the rich green of the music note really makes the purpose of the folder pop. Look, too, at the difference in shape – the off-center cant and the overrun of the default folder shape by the note make the music folder stand out from any other folder. Why, if the point of different icons for different purposes is to make finding what you want easier and quicker, would anyone choose icons that look all the same?


To my dismay, there doesn’t seem to be any solutions for this. Pixadex’s website doesn’t mention Leopard at all. CandyBar is incompatible with Leopard. So is ClearDock, ShapeShifter, FruitMenu, WindowShade…. all the Unsanity apps, in fact.

Is the fate of all the customization apps Apple’s way of telling users to leave the UI alone? I certainly hope not. That said, though, does anyone know of any solutions to this, short of changing each and every icon manually? For that matter, what about all the UI elements – the toolbars, the buttons – that can’t be changed through the Get Info pane?

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  1. Unfortunately LiteIcon doesn’t work either.. : (

  2. You should check out the extremely handy first Related Entries entry: Candy Bar 3 Features Preview. That leads you to Panic’s Cabel Sasser’s blog where there’s a whole lot of info on Panic apps and Leopard.

  3. i did mine the old fashion way… copy and paste via ‘get info’. the trash and finder icons can be a bit tough but wollah! super leopard now!
    lovin it.

  4. You will find the icons in System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources. I used an icon editor to change mine. It takes a half hour or so, but once it’s done you have custom icons system-wide.

  5. Sebastiaan de With Monday, November 26, 2007

    Although the icons of Leopard do miss the purpose in the old Finder UI, it’s clear that Apple understood the new folders are not fit for this purpose; after all, there’s alternative icons for the sidebar. The new icons do work a lot better in Coverflow, since the front-on perspective distorts better on the left and right sides of the view.

    I tried finding the middle road in my last iconset, Orion, but it’s obvious only a full-front-on icon set can solve these issues. We will have to wait for Candybar 3 (it’s worth it, just believe me) and Agua’s redrawing for 512 pixels, which, if you can believe David Lanham’s twitter account, will be redrawn with another, new perspective as well.

  6. in the post on his blog, cabel says CandyBar3 will be out before the end of November, so should only be a few more days.

  7. It’s sad that none of the standard “hacks” work, I found myself saying “who cares” when it comes to themes for OSX.

    There simply aren’t many good themes, and there are no great ones. While some clearly improve the overall appearance, none truly theme it the way we could in OS9.

    Icon customization is nice to have, but I’ve found that it really adds very little without an overall theme. Again, there are some nice sets to compliment Aqua, but none truly make a huge difference, at least for me.

    Because OSX is so complicated to theme, I don’t see much of a “growth” in the customizing arena as far as new themers go. Sad.

    I’m also left wondering what ever happened to the (in)famous Omega theme?

  8. Does any one know where the System holds the icon for the internal drive? It’s not in System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources which is odd. Actually, that whole directory is rather odd in that it has ancient pre-osx icon in it.

  9. Yet more #@%^ from The Apple Blog about some percieved injustice that Apple has done to you. This time it’s folder icons. Get real! It’s simple to change them if you don’t like them. Some of us, on the other hand, DO like them.

  10. @TR755: From the comments you’ve made around the blog, it seems like you enjoy complaining about people complaining. Sort of defeats your purpose, don’t you think?

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