Extracting Icons from Mac OS X Applications

Finder icon

Occasionally you may want an image of an application icon in Mac OS X (perhaps you are writing a tutorial, and wish to include an image like the one to the right). Within each Mac OS X application is a package that contains an “.icns” file, which is the icon image used by the application.

Using the Finder

You may access this file through the Finder, using the following steps:

  1. In the Applications folder, choose the application whose icon you wish to extract.
  2. Ctrl-click (right-click) on the application icon and choose Show Package Contents.
  3. A new Finder window will open. Browse to the Resources folder and look for the icon. This file usually has an “icns” extension.
  4. Open Preview, and drag the “.icns” file to the Preview icon in the Dock. The image will open in Preview and from there you may save it as a “.png” or “.jpg” file. The former is the preferable format for the web; select the “Alpha” check box to preserve transparency.

Using Get Info and Preview

More on apple.

  1. Select the volume, application, folder, or file whose icon you want to stamp onto another, just click the icon to select it.
  2. From the File menu, choose Get Info or press Command-I to open the Info window.
  3. Click the icon in the upper-left corner of the Info window to select it.
  4. From the Edit menu, choose Copy or press Command-C.
  5. In the Applications folder, choose the application whose icon you wish to extract.
  6. Press Cmd-I to open a Get Info dialog. In the upper left of the dialog windo is a small icon. Select it and then select copy (under Edit > Copy)
  7. Go to Preview and paste. Four sizes of the icon will open: 512×512, 128×128, 32×32, and 16×16 px

Using Terminal

If you prefer the command-line, see these articles on Mac OS X Hints and MacWorld about using the unix sips command to convert “.icns” files to various image file formats.

One Response to “Extracting Icons from Mac OS X Applications”

  1. ancient says:

    simple and quality advice on how to manipulate icons using the os without resorting to the over complication of 3rd party software I like :) super thumbs up

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