Computers, Laptops & Tablets Apple How to Change the Mac OS X Mail Dock Icon Customizing the look by Heinz Tschabitscher Writer A former freelance contributor who has reviewed hundreds of email programs and services since 1997. our editorial process Heinz Tschabitscher Updated on July 21, 2020 Apple Macs iPad Tweet Share Email The hawk-in-flight against the blue background of a postage stamp is a no doubt familiar sight for users of Mac OS X Mail. But many Mac users may find that their Mail icon just doesn't fit with the rest of their desktop's aesthetic. If you aren't a fan of the default option, you can change Mail's icon in your Dock. Here's how. These instructions apply to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and later. Anil Bolukbas / Getty Images How to Change the Mail Dock Icon in OS X 10.6 to 10.10 You could change the icons for built-in apps way more easily in versions of Mac OS X preceding El Capitan (10.11). Here's how to do it if you haven't upgraded yet. Close Mail if it's open. Ctrl-click (or right-click) on the Mail Dock icon, highlight Options, and then select Show in Finder. Your Applications folder will open with Mail selected. Select Get Info from the File menu. The keyboard shortcut for Get Info is Command-I. Expand the Sharing & Permissions menu. Click the lock icon. Enter your administrator password to authorize changes and click OK. Make sure Read & Write is selected for everyone. Find the desired icon in Finder. Again, select Get Info from the Action drop-down menu. Click on the small icon in the info dialog of the icon file to highlight it. Select Edit > Copy from the menu. Now click on the small icon in the Mail Info dialog. Select Edit > Paste from the menu. Click the lock icon. Alternatively, once you've adjusted the permissions, you can open the Info windows for both the icon you want to use and Mail. Drag the new image over to the Mail icon and drop it How to Change the Mail Icon in Mac OS X El Capitan and Later Newer versions of Mac OS X and macOS have a protocol in place to prevent you changing the icons on the included apps. It's a security feature, but it will stop you from quickly changing the Mail icon. Follow these steps to make it possible to change system icons. Shut down your Mac. Restart the computer while holding Command+R to enter Recovery Mode. Click Utilities & Terminal. Type csrutil disable and press Return. Reboot your Mac and follow the instructions above to change the Mail icon. Follow these instructions again, but type csrutil enable in Utilities & Terminal to turn the protections back on. How to Restore the Default Mac OS X Mail Dock Icon (OS X 10.6 to 10.10) To bring back the default hawk icon to Mail: Open the Mail Info dialog. Make sure Read & Write is selected for everyone following the steps above. Highlight the small icon image in the dialog and select Edit > Cut from the menu. Change the permissions back to Read-only for everyone. Close the Mail Info dialog. In Mac OS X 10.11 and later, you'll need to disable csrutil following the steps above before following this procedure. If Your Icon File Has No Preview To convert a PNG, TIFF, GIF or JPEG image to the proper .icns format, you can use the iConvert Icons online conversion tool. If you do have a .icns file but it still lacks the preview necessary to copy the icon to Mail, you can create it with Image2icon.