Since updating to macOS Sierra, many Finder aliases appear as generic document icons rather than as the informative icons that were available in previous versions of OS X.

Is there something I can do to fix this?

  • Working through this I noticed that command-dragging a folder to another folder will produce a blank document icon for the alias that is created at the destination. Then closing and re-opening the destination folder will most of the time will restore the alias with the arrow and folder icon. This certainly is not an answer or a fix, just a symptom of the defect in the Finder. – Cerniuk Nov 24 '16 at 13:32

It is a bug in 10.12.1, there is no current permanent fix.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. We like answers to be more than just a single line. Ideally, you want to explain why your answer is *right." It also helps to provide links, citations, and/or screen shots. Please review our help section How to Answer on writing good answers to questions – Allan Oct 30 '16 at 23:41
  • @Allan Okay.... – CJ Dana Oct 30 '16 at 23:44

It seems to be a Finder refresh issue. If you kill the Finder.app and relaunch it, the normal icon will show up.

  • Not true. I tried this a few times (of course) but it had no effect. The problem does, BTW, seem to be intermittent. – orome Sep 24 '16 at 18:42
  • Force-quitting Finder solved the issue for me as well. However, there are, let's call them "unpleasant effects" when distributing your app as an installer DMG. This is not something I'd want my customers to see: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/258826/… . – elder elder Oct 26 '16 at 20:55
  • FWIW, as just shown by my other thread at the moment I'm typing this...a less-than-stellar-solution that may be acceptable for some (that can live with their inherent limitations) is to use symlinks instead of true aliases. This is "half of a solution" at its best... – elder elder Oct 27 '16 at 21:18

I've seen this too. It refreshes for me when I do command option up arrow (open new window to parent folder, closing existing window), then command option down arrow (go back to original window). Or sometimes even just closing the window & reopening it.


Do a "Get Info" on the alias, and you should see that the correct icon is displayed at the top left of the Get Info window. Copy the icon and paste it back. When the window is closed, the correct icon should appear in the Finder window. This should survive a reboot. Once the icon has been pasted back in, the size of the alias should grow larger.

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