iCondubber: Tweaking Your Mac’s Icons for Free

Wouldn’t it be great if Apple released an app that we could use to customize the look of the operating system? Just imagine that for a bit. Think of how you’d tailor your experience. Think of the abundance of different themes that people would post on the internet for everyone else to use. Hey, think about how many roundups we would write up!

Sadly for us, the ability to theme our system’s interface has never been an easy or flawless task. Sure, we had Manifique and a few apps like it, but now they are gone. That’s why icon customizers are still interesting, since tweaking icons is one of the best ways you can still tweak your Mac experience.

iCondubber is dubbed as the “definitive icon/theme manager”, and while it probably isn’t the “definitive” icon manager, it is without a doubt a helpful and useful tool. Let’s take a look, and see if it’s worth trying out.

The Icon/Dock Customizer

Icondubber

iCondubber allows you to customize a sea of icons throughout your Mac, as well as the dock and some other smaller pieces of UI. Some of these icons you’ve probably never seen, but others will be familiar to you. Upon selecting the icon you want to change, you can drag and drop the new icon to replace the older one. You don’t even need to worry about what kind of file it is. Once you are done replacing icons, simply hit install and you’re done. Your computer won’t need to reboot or logout, it’ll only reload your desktop (it may quit some applications in the process, though).

Icondubber

Switching just about any icon in your system is painless, but iCondubber does have its issues here and there. For instance, when you want to change an individual folder’s icon, there seems to be no easy way to achieve this. The website does say that you can do this, even outside of the app, but I can’t seem to find how. What I did instead was to change a random icon and then select “assign as thumbnail to” from the settings and pick the folder that I wanted. Odd, right?

Icondubber

This is perhaps one of iCondubber’s biggest pitfalls. The lack of guidance, assistance, and user friendliness is tremendously frustrating. Usually when playing with any new application, the application itself can be forward and easy to use, or the application’s website has a few tutorials or samples of what you can do, but iCondubber is not very well documented. This isn’t particularly horrible for most applications, but for one that is tweaking things that otherwise shouldn’t be touched, it makes you feel less daring.

Although your learning process will be a bit daunting because of the lack of documentation, as you get comfortable with the application you will be able to use this app to create themes that you can then mix and match to turn your normal-looking UI into something unique.

Icondubber

Which brings me to a rather personal observation. Upon installing iCondubber, you are presented with the message in the image above. Now, a lot of apps probably have this somewhere in the agreement, but for the developer to put it in huge red letters, front and center, it only makes me think that perhaps I shouldn’t even be installing this application in the first place. This message can turn many people off, but those that know what they are doing will probably ignore it.

The Looks

Icondubber

While iCondubber’s UI is simple, it honestly doesn’t have the same eye candy that other apps like it do. Discovering all the icons on your system is easy, though, and they are even displayed nicely with animation, but they aren’t exactly self explanatory.

Once you start to mess around with it, you are gonna have to do a bit of trial and error to figure out what the end product is gonna look like. There is no visual aid to help you with how your dock will end up looking. This may lead to many desktop restarts until you get use to the layout.

The Verdict

iCondubber isn’t perfect, but it does get the job done, and it’ll only cost you zero dollars. Ultimately, it really comes down to how easy of an experience you want to have. All the icons listed on the app can be changed with ease, but going beyond that can be a learning curve some won’t want to undertake. Nevertheless, if you’ve wanted a free way to tweak the icons on your mac, iCondubber may be just the app for you.


Summary

A free icon/theme manager for OS X.

8
  • Felix

    Do you have good ressources for icons?

  • http://www.perezfox.com Prescott Perez-Fox

    I just got really excited, then installed it, then got really disappointed.

    The principal reason I need an app like this is so I can create some alternates to the grey Finder sidebar icons in Lion+. I was hoping and expecting to find a section called “sidebar icons” since that has been a major point of contention with those who like to tweak with the Mac OS X UI, but it isn’t there. The icons are buried within the various pages and sections, but in a very disorganised and non-intuitive way.

    I felt genuinely scared to mess with any of these icons. Lacking the drag-and-drop interface of CandyBar (for example), this basically feels like a pretty wrapper for haphazardly poking around in your System/Library folder, which can be very dangerous indeed.

    I hate to cut a brother down for creating a software title — lord knows I don’t have these skills — but this feels like an open-source application: heavy with features, light on intuition and usability. I consider myself an expert Mac user and I am steering clear of this.

    • Dilbert Asended

      Both this comment and the review were very useful.

      Thanks.

    • http://htrdesign.net Rodrigo Leon

      Great point. I felt just as scared.

    • Frederic

      Finder sidebar icons just cannot be changed under Lion due to some technical reasons I can explain, if you want.
      iCondubber HAS drag ‘n’ drop, and installing icons can ONLY be made modifying system files: fortunatley, it has a “restore” option. :)

  • Frederic

    Finder sidebar icons just cannot be changed under Lion due to some technical reasons I can explain, if you want.
    iCondubber HAS drag ‘n’ drop, and installing icons can ONLY be made modifying system files: fortunatley, it has a “restore” option. :)

  • B30

    This one feels a bit rough-and-ready. If you wanna mess around with your system icons use Candybar (still the best out there), or do it manually (only if you know what you are doing).

  • Frederic

    Candybar and iCondubber have just a few common points: iCondubber can look a bit less intuitive since it has lots of additional features.
    Replacing icons by hand is not the way to go since you’ll almost certainly mess your permissions, you won’t clear icon caches properly so icons won’t update on the screen and so on.

  • Pr0toc0L

    Hey guys. Its a very simple process. You should download Simbl found here http://www.culater.net/software/SIMBL/SIMBL.php

    Simbl functions as a system tweak whereby any tweak that is packaged in a bundle can be literally drag and dropped into the into the path directory that they’ve highlighted on the link above.

    Just download the Snow Leopard version (it works with Lion) and install Simbl.

    Once you’ve done that, then you can go to this link
    http://cooviewerzoom.web.fc2.com/colorfulsidebar.html
    and download the color sidebar bundle that the developer made and simply drag n drop the bundle.

    Plugins can be copied into /Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins for all users, or ~/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins for just your account.

    Another way in which you can install your own icon to your folders icons is to simply open any icon in preview, whether it is png, jpeg, or other formats. Then press command a to highlight what you want. Then press command c to copy it. Then just go to any folder you wish to change and double-finger select it and chose “get info”. Once the window opens displaying the info regarding that folder, then at the very top left corner you will see the folder. Simply double-finger select it which will highlight it, and then simply press command v to paste the icon into the folder. Thats it and now your folder is now represented by your icon of choice.

    This method works for every type of file. So if you wish to change the icon of an application for a better looking icon of the same application, then simply perform this process by going to the application folder and selecting get info for whatever app you wish to change and then select the icon on the top left corner and paste the icon you have selected and copied from preview and it will change it. However since it is a system change, it will ask you for your password in order to change it.
    I’ve changed my original App store icon for a way cooler app of the same app store icon as well as my finder icon and terminal

  • IBeMe

    This app has a lot of real potential, but I don’t think it’s quite ready to be really useful, yet. Nonetheless, I do think it’s worth watching; eventually, it could a worthy challenger to Candybar (which hasn’t been substantively updated in quite some time).

    • Egon

      Why do you think it’s not really useful yet? What does it miss, in your opinion?

    • Egon

      What do you think it’s missing?

  • Rollins

    I think LiteIcon is another good alternative to check out.

  • Tim

    I must be one of the few people that actually like the monochromatic sidebar icons. It makes the Finder feel more cohesive to me.
    What I absolutely HATE is that incredibly terrible linen pattern that now exists throughout both iOS and Mac OS. It looks like a web page background from 1997.
    I miss the days of OS 9, where you could change any aspect of the OS you wanted to by using ResEdit.

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