How to Copy OS X Icons

OS X is known for its beautiful interface and beautiful app icons. It’s one of the things that really separates it from Windows and its bland look (although Windows has made significant strides in this regard as well).

At iDB, we often use app icon images as feature images for our posts, and videos. Fortunately, OS X makes it extremely easy to copy the app icons from all of our favorites apps, and export them as standalone images. In the following video walkthrough, I’ll show you how to do just that.

Step 1: Find the app that you want to copy, and open its location. If the app is on the Dock, simply ⌘+Click the app icon on the Dock, and a Finder window will open to the exact location of the app, which will most likely be the /Applications folder.

Step 2: Right click on the app icon, and select Get Info. You can also use ⌘+I on your keyboard.

Step 3: Click on the app icon in the upper left-hand corner of the info box, and click Edit → Copy in the menu bar. You can also use ⌘+C to copy the image.

Step 4: Open Preview, and click File → New From Clipboard in the menu bar. You can also use ⌘+N.

Step 5: Now you can select from the many sizes of images extracted from the app’s icon. Click on the size that you’d like to use, and click File → Save, and choose your desired image format in the picker at the bottom of the screen. Give the image a new name, and click Save in the bottom right-hand corner.

Congratulations, you now have a new image based off of the selected app icon. It may seem like a lot of steps, but once you get familiar with the workflow, this can be done in a matter of seconds.

What do you think?

  • John

    I am sorry if this is off topic Jeff.. But I am terribly mad and honestly I can’t talk about this with any of my friends because they won’t understand what even RAM is.

    How/where can I find Timmy Cook and hit him in the head for only adding 1GB of RAM to the iPhone 6 Plus? I can’t have 3 websites opened without it refreshing websites!

    • Rest easy. Next year’s 6s Plus should have 2GB with the precedent set by iPad Air 2.

      • John

        But why till next year? Why not now? I honestly don’t understand I have always been on the number cycle.. I guess I will have to change to the S cycle.

        Great article by the way. You have been busy this weekend. Thanks for all this new info.

      • 5ingularity

        Apple is a business, and a business’ success is a number game, they try to milk out as much money as they can in each release, they gotta have a few tricks left up their sleeves for future releases or else the business dies.

      • Lurker22

        Guys, apple doesn’t even advertise these numbers….

    • Lurker22

      Try surfing on a 4s for an hour. Then go back to your plus. It won’t seem like such a big problem. Trust me

      • John

        Oh yes, from the 4s there’s a HUGE difference, from screen size to specs and smoothness. But from the 5 there is no difference at all or at least I haven’t seen any at all.. It just the size, I even see the 6 plus lag while the 5 is all smooth in animations and safari doesn’t refresh every 5 minutes.

      • Lurker22

        It is likely still bugs in iOS 8 (at least I hope so as I am awaiting delivery on my plus!). Anyway, no matter what it will be far nicer than my 4s!!

    • rockdude094

      There are multiple factors that influence performance. I’m not supporting that 1gb ram is enough, but keep in mind it’s still quiet a lot of ram. Windows 7 can run on 1gb ram with no major issues. The software is the main issue here ironically, since ios loves to keep every single app running in the background and is slighty bias to allocating ram to applications. Therefore, open pages on safari is not a priority since it’s better to refresh them after a period of time.

      • Beta382

        >Windows 7 can run on 1gb ram with no major issues.

        This is utter BS. 1GB wouldn’t be enough to fit any modern desktop OS, let alone run applications. No modern computer even ships with anything less than 2GB, and anything respectable has a bare minimum of 4GB.

      • rockdude094

        I have a laptop since 2007 which has a gig of ram. It runs windows 7 really well in my opinion. My younger brother uses that to do web research and word processing occasionally for school. You’re right it’s no match for a laptop with 8gb, but still gets the job done right. Why can’t the iphone keep web pages open on a mobile platform ?

      • John

        To be honest, iOS multitasking is bad. It’s not real real multitasking as the multitasking you have on your computer. It refreshes and the interface it’s getting better with time.
        But having a 5.5″ display phone with the same specs as the iPhone 5s it’s unacceptable. I am not talking about Android neither am I comparing them. Android is a completely different platform from iOS. Now, sticking into the iPhone and it’s platform, for a 2014-2015 phone, worth $1,000 and it only has 1GB of RAM, same specs as a year old phone and same RAM as the iPhone 5 (2 year old phone) and performs worse than them it’s completely stupid and unacceptable.

        TL;DR: The iPhone 6 Plus is an iPhone 5S on steroids, but instead of it being better it is worse in multitasking and normal tasks.

      • rockdude094

        It is definitely unacceptable for the latest 1000 dollar phone. I have never faced ram issues on the 5s, but again I am on ios 7 with a jailbreak and a lot of tweaks. I’m holding off for something better than the current iphone, so my next upgrade will be after 3 years. By then there will be significant changes. If not, then android already has amazing phones with impressive specs, so the future looks brighter for Androids.

        Not the best thing to say on an apple blog 😐 here come the hate comments

      • Beta382

        Android L looks fantastic. Google really hit it out of the ballpark with Material Design. iOS has always been ahead of Android, but Android has consistently been improving at a greater rate than iOS. The overtake is going to happen really soon if Apple can’t get its crap (8.0.1 should never have even been a possibility, and there are a plethora of issues that pervade iOS 8.x, such as horrible orientation weirdness, crappy extension APIs, etc) together.

      • rockdude094

        Android means serious business now. A few android phone are just jaw droppingly amazing with a ton features, but the software isn’t as refined and stable like ios.

      • Lurker22

        Android L does looks great, but google has a history of overpromising… fact is lots of folks are switching back to iOS now that it finally has large screen phones.

      • John

        To be honest. The only thing that still has me attached to the iPhone is iOS. How simple it is to use and how it can connect into my MacBook Pro and how Apple makes updates to iOS and I know my phone won’t be left in the dirt just because developers get lazy.
        If it wasn’t for that I would have bought a Samsung Note 4. Samsung has been making phablets for years and they have more experience on that market.
        iOS is the only reason I am still with Apple. Not because they are “innovative” or because they have amazing devices. Because they don’t.

      • rockdude094

        Also on the type or user you are. You seem to be more into apps and connectivity, so your needs will be well supported by the iphone 6. As for some like me, who aren’t into many apps would like the customization and flexibility of android. I would trade my 5s in a heart beat for the note 4 lol

      • Kr00

        Oh go away you troll!!

      • rockdude094


      • Lurker22

        Yes, its the normal update to the outside. the “S” line is when apple improves the internals. This is nothing new. IT’s why I normally only buy the “S” models, but i kept my 4s last cycle to wait for the larger screens…

      • Dude, the 32-Bit versions of Windows 7, 8 and 10 have a minimum system requirement of 1GB…do some research.

    • KennyP

      Smartphone business is a balance games, Apple chose to stay small RAM for the benefits of other parts, such as battery life. In fact a reality test revealed that iPhone 6 is able to multitask better than Android smartphones with 3GB RAM

  • Kanzler

    why should someone extract an app icon? i think a video for changing the ugly folder icon would be more useful for many people 🙂

    • rockdude094

      Amen to that

      • Sai

        you can do the same thing with the folder.

  • extensions

    I had found this a short while ago, but extracting iOS icons is what really eludes me. Any help there, Jeff?

    • okehas

      download the *.ipa with itunes and rename it to *.zip where you can browse the files. there is a preview image that does not have a file extension, just add .png to it

      • extensions

        Oh, perfect. They are a bit small, but far better than the screen shots of artwork from iTunes I had been using. It was just the app icons I wanted (for reviews on my site). It used to be possible with iTunes in a similar way to OS X apps – I just highlight the OS X app, use copy, then create a new file from clipboard. But iOS apps had eluded me: thanks again.

  • Rizi

    Hey Jeff! Can you overview the “Preview app” please.

  • Slifur

    Now jeff explain to everyone how to use bootcamp. Cause recently after upgrade to yosemite, bootcamp gave me headache cause my superdrive having a problem reading disk. Thank god after couple of days I got bootcamp working. I really like bootcamp instead of virtual desktop like parallels desktop.

  • cc62

    What a Nice 3D (skeuomorphic?) icon. I wish that Apple used that style a bit more. I’m not a fan of the Miffy (Nijntje) style by mr. Ive.
    Classic Dock for OS X please!

  • michaelmoves

    Does anyone know how to extract stock iOS app icons (like Phone, Music, Notes, etc)?