Super Easy! Customizing Names and Icons in Mac OS X

The problem: 

  • Change the name and icon of a Finder item in Mac OS X

The scenario: 

I bought a Transcend JetDrive Lite for my MacBook Air (What’s that, you say?  Read my review here), but when I connected it to my computer, it had some random default name and a generic icon.  Not cool.  Here’s how I changed it.  (NOTE: This works with any item in the finder.)

JetDrive icon Makeover

The solution:

First off, what’s a “Finder item”?  “The Finder” is what OS X calls its graphical file system.  All those items on your Desktop from hard drives to Word documents?  Those are Finder items.  Open a folder and see more files and folders?  All of those are Finder items as well!

OK, now that we’ve got the parlance down, let’s rename them.

I think most people know how to rename Finder items like files or folders, but not everyone realizes you’re allowed to rename hard drives as well (including the internal drive that comes with your computer — want to change “Macintosh HD” to “Layman’s Machine of Awesome”?  Do it!).  Most drives come with names about as creative as the engineers who made them.  But you and I aren’t lame, so let’s make it more personal!

From the Finder, click on the item you want to rename (e.g. hard drive, file, folder), hit the RETURN key and the name will appear highlighted.  Now, just type the new name in and hit RETURN again.  Voila!  It has been renamed.

Changing the icon is a little trickier, but once you learn it, you’ll be changing icons left and right.

1) Find an image you want to use for your new icon (you can use practically any image, something you’ve created in Photoshop, or something you found on the internet).  For my purposes, I wanted to change my Transcend JetDrive’s image from the default SD card to something that looked like the actual device.  So I created the image below:

JetDrive Icon

2) Once you have an image you like (you can go ahead and experiment with my image above until you find your own — you’ll always be able to change it back), copy it to the clipboard.  You do this by control-clicking on the image and choosing “Copy Image” from the drop-down menu (don’t accidentally choose “Copy Image Address” or it won’t work).

3) Next, click once on the Finder item you want to change the icon for so that it’s selected (but not opened).  Then go to File menu and choose Get Info (or press command-I).  A new window will pop up with information about the Finder item, and its current icon in the top-left.  Click once on the icon in this window so that it has a little glow around it (see below):

Get Info

4) With the icon selected, go to the Edit menu and choose Paste (or press command-V), and the image you copied will now be the icon for that Finder item!  If you don’t like the way the new icon looks, simply click on it again in that “Get Info” window and press DELETE, and it will return to the default icon.

Now that you’ve got that mastered, get customizing!