1. I have a blah.app, and on desktop there is an alias to this app
  2. I went to blah.app/Contents/Resources and replace the icon with my icon, same name
  3. I went to blah.app/ and created a new folder next to the blah.app/Contents folder, this made the blah.app icon update to show mine however the icon of the alias file on desktop did not change.

Any ideas on why this is so? I know I can drag the icon over this alias file, but im trying to figure out whats going on here, why isn't taking my icon? :(


  • 1
    Try making an alias of the alias. I know, I know... sounds ridiculous. But I just tested it using a similar setup to your situation (not exact) and it worked! Good luck!
    – Sam
    Feb 28, 2015 at 18:39
  • it works... thanks!! hahah Wow what on earth why did this work? haha i'm trying to understand this as Im tyring to make a firefox addon to programtically make shortcuts. An interesting note if I do from objc [NSImage imageNamed:"NSApplicationIcon"] from the shortcut after launch, it is giving me the original firefox icon, however on minaturize and in dock it is showing my icon i replaced it with.
    – Noitidart
    Feb 28, 2015 at 18:45
  • 1
    Ha! Awesome. I have no idea why it works, but it does. I'll add this later as an actual answer for anyone in a similar situation.
    – Sam
    Feb 28, 2015 at 20:05
  • Haha thanks Sam. Im still trying ot understand this so i can do programtically :P
    – Noitidart
    Feb 28, 2015 at 20:21

3 Answers 3


I was having the same issue with an alias on the desktop of a .pvm file. I found I could change the icon in its original folder, but when I moved it to the desktop it reverted. I tried changing the name of the alias back to its original name as noted above, and the changed icon came back, but I didn't want the long name. I tried making an alias of the alias as noted above, and that worked, but as soon as I removed the .pvm extension on the name it reverted again. Ultimately, I could change the name to anything and keep the new icon as long as the name included the .pvm extension.

  • Thanks very much justaguy for sharing this! I still had not found a solution. I created an alias of a .app bundle, I will try to keep the .app extension and see if it fixes this. The project I was using this for, is far removed, I don't have a mac, but next chance I get, I will try it out and report back. Thank you!
    – Noitidart
    Mar 1, 2017 at 17:26

As noted in my comment from earlier, you can make an alias of the alias and it will acquire the icon from the original source... for some reason.

The following example is with folders... so it's not the exact situation in the question, but I think it illustrates the point:

enter image description here

  • Oh man Sam!You really got us onto something. I made a video. It seems alias icons are associated with its name, it's got some sort of history. Any idea on how to clear that history? It seems to take the icon that was first associated with that file name heres the video: Youtube :: Alias icon has history I accepted as solution as you really opened us up to whats going on, but can you please help me enhance this solution :D
    – Noitidart
    Feb 28, 2015 at 23:33
  • What I meant by that was try renaming "New folder alias 2" to "New folder alias" it should go back to that blue folder icon. Way weird.
    – Noitidart
    Mar 1, 2015 at 0:03

Either, in a Terminal: killall Finder

Or, from the Apple menu, Log Out and then log back in.

Either should cause the Alias to show the correct icon.

In the event the Alias doesn't update after this then delete the Alias and recreate it.

  • Thanks I tried, neither worked :( I can take a video of it would you like to see?
    – Noitidart
    Feb 28, 2015 at 3:26
  • 1
    Have you tried deleting/recreating the Alias? Feb 28, 2015 at 5:41
  • Yep, for some crazy reason it wont take :(
    – Noitidart
    Feb 28, 2015 at 6:04
  • 1
    What happens if to create a new Alias to a different location then the Desktop, does it show the correct icon? Feb 28, 2015 at 6:14
  • I should note that blah.app structure is Contents folder followed by a alias of all the files in Firefox.app/Contents/ except for the info.plist. I'm trying to make shortcuts for Firefox profiles. Here's a video trying to show this and that the icon in the dock doesnt update without some tweaking: youtube.com/watch?v=LFjjVbIXvbg
    – Noitidart
    Feb 28, 2015 at 6:20

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