I'm going to give Mac Mail another try. But I can't stand the stamp icon. I'd like to replace it with the iOS icon.

I have the .icns file but the old "get info" trick where you just paste the icon over the existing one doesn't work. I've also tried "Show Package Contents" on the Mail.app and replacing the ApplicationIcon.icns from the Finder and Terminal under sudo. No luck.

How can I replace the Mac Mail icon with something a little more consistent with the rest of the OS?

  • Interesting. I could copy the image icon for apps in Yosemite under Show Package Contents, but I never tried replacing one of the images there. It could just be a bug in El Capitan. – RedEagle2000 Oct 2 '15 at 2:56
  • "I can't stand the stamp icon" :))) 10x thumbs up ;) – Yatko Oct 2 '17 at 15:22

The proper way is to:

  1. boot your Mac to Recovery Mode by holding CMD+R at startup
  2. Go to Utilies and Terminal in the menu
  3. Type csrutil disable and Enter
  4. Restart normally and change your Icon

Repeat the procedure to re-enable System Integrity Protection (SIP or Rootless) but this time, enter csrutil enable

that's it !

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you'll need to turn off the new rootless feature in EC preventing you from modifying a native system app, such as this one. Afterwards, you should be able to modify the permissions for Everyone to Read and Write, in lieu of Custom. Then your 'drag it over' trick will work :) Don't forget to turn rootless back on after, its the biggest advantage in upgrading to EC, IMHO.

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  • How can I turn it back on? Disable sudo nvram boot-args="kext-dev-mode=1 rootless=0";sudo reboot and then Enable? sudo nvram boot-args="kext-dev-mode=0 rootless=1";sudo reboot? – Ryan Oct 2 '15 at 15:59

There is an easier way, download an app called "Liteicon" you can get it from softonic its reliable I used it. After you download it open it up go to applications put the icon you want replacing the mail icon then click apply changes and restart your laptop then you will see it changed.

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  • 1
    Did you actually try this under OS X El Capitan? I wonder how the application works around the SIP restrictions. – nohillside Nov 11 '15 at 18:12
  • 1
    Just tried. Does not work with SIP restrictions. – Ryan Nov 11 '15 at 18:23
  • Works! I needed to open the info-winfow after changing the icon, before the change was applied. – Linkmichiel May 27 '16 at 6:03

A partial workaround, which I discovered by accident: Before upgrading to El Capitan, paste the icon you want into the 'Get Info' panel for the Mail application. Then make an alias of Mail.

When the upgrade occurs, the Mail program will have its icon changed but the alias will not. You can then put the alias into the Dock or anywhere you would want it. The OS even allows you to put it in the 'programs' section of the Dock where it seems to function exactly as a program (ie a second icon does not appear when you run the program through its alias).

I discovered this because I happened to have made a mail alias under Josemite, and saw that it retained its custom icon (through the upgrade). I tried doing the same thing after the upgrade to El Capitan but discovered that the new OS imposes SIP on aliases too, so if you try to change the icon after upgrading it will, sadly, revert to the blue standard stamp.

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  • I since tried this on two other Macs, one older and one newer than the original one, and it failed both times. The El Capitan install process obviously went on a 'search and destroy' mission to find all the aliases of Mail that I had created and changed the icons! I have no idea why it survives on the first computer I upgraded. Sorry to raise false hope! – jwaldron Jan 3 '16 at 1:01

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