How to Change Icon When Logging on on Mac

When logging on to a Mac computer, you may have noticed that the user icon displayed is the default one provided by macOS. This default icon is a generic silhouette and might not reflect your personal style or preferences. However, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily customize your user icon and change it to an image or photo of your choice. In this blog post, we will explore different methods to change the user icon when logging on to a Mac, and we will discuss their pros and cons.

Why You Need to Change Your User Icon

There are several reasons why you might want to change your user icon when logging on to your Mac:

  • Personalization: Changing the user icon allows you to add a personal touch to your computer and make it reflect your individual style.
  • Identification: If there are multiple user accounts on your Mac, changing the user icon will make it easier for you to identify your account visually.
  • Fun and creativity: Customizing your user icon can be a fun and creative way to express yourself and make your Mac experience more enjoyable.
  • Branding: If you are using a Mac for business or professional purposes, changing the user icon to your company logo or a relevant image can help reinforce your brand identity.

Now that we understand why changing the user icon is beneficial, let’s explore different methods to achieve this customization.

Video Tutorial:

Part 1. Changing User Icon from System Preferences

The first method we will discuss is changing the user icon through the System Preferences menu. This method doesn’t require any additional software and is relatively simple to follow:

Step 1: Open System Preferences by clicking on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and selecting "System Preferences" from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: In the System Preferences window, click on "Users & Groups."

Step 3: Click on your user account in the left-hand sidebar.

Step 4: Under the user account information, locate and click on the user icon.

Step 5: In the pop-up menu that appears, select "Edit Picture."

Step 6: You can now either choose one of the built-in icons provided by macOS or click on "Choose" to select an image or photo from your computer.

Step 7: If you choose to select an image or photo, browse through your files and select the desired image. Adjust the position and size of the image if necessary.

Step 8: Click on "Save" to apply the changes.

1. Easy and straightforward process to change the user icon.
2. No additional software required.
3. Provides the flexibility to select an image or photo of your choice.

1. The user icon is only changed for the specific user account and doesn’t affect other user accounts on the Mac.
2. Limited customization options within the user icon editor.
3. The size of the user icon may need to be adjusted manually to fit the desired dimensions.

Part 2. Using Third-Party Apps to Change User Icon

If you are looking for more advanced customization options and features, you can use third-party apps specifically designed for changing user icons on a Mac. These apps provide a wide range of icon options and allow for more intricate customization. One such app is LiteIcon:

Step 1: Download and install LiteIcon from the developer’s website.

Step 2: Open LiteIcon and click on the lock icon in the bottom-left corner to unlock the app for editing.

Step 3: Click on your user account in the left-hand sidebar.

Step 4: In the main window, you will see the current user icon. Click on it to select a new icon.

Step 5: In the pop-up menu, you can choose from the built-in icons provided by LiteIcon or click on "Import" to select an image or icon file from your computer.

Step 6: Once you have selected the desired icon, click on "Apply Changes" to update the user icon.

1. Offers more advanced customization options compared to the built-in macOS method.
2. Provides a wider selection of icons and images to choose from.
3. Can change the user icon system-wide, affecting all user accounts on the Mac.

1. Requires the installation of third-party software.
2. May not be as intuitive or user-friendly as the built-in macOS method.
3. Some apps may not be free or may have limited functionality in their free versions.

Part 3. Changing User Icon Using Terminal

For users who prefer a command-line approach or want more control over the customization process, changing the user icon using the Terminal app can be a viable option. Before proceeding, it is important to note that using Terminal requires knowledge of basic command-line commands and can be potentially risky if not done correctly. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Open Terminal by navigating to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

Step 2: Type the following command and press Enter:
sudo -v

Step 3: Enter your administrator password when prompted.

Step 4: Type the following command and press Enter:
sudo dscl . delete /Users/your_username Picture
Replace "your_username" with your actual username.

Step 5: Type the following command and press Enter:
sudo dscl . create /Users/your_username \
Picture "/path/to/your_icon_file.png"
Replace "your_username" with your actual username and "/path/to/your_icon_file.png" with the path to the image or icon file you want to use.

Step 6: Restart your Mac for the changes to take effect.

1. Allows for granular control over the customization process.
2. Can be used to change the user icon system-wide.
3. Enables the use of custom icon files or images.

1. Requires familiarity with Terminal commands and syntax.
2. There is a risk of making mistakes or accidentally modifying other system settings.
3. May not be as user-friendly or intuitive as other methods.

Part 4. Using Online Services to Generate User Icons

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to generate user icons without the need for specialized software or technical knowledge, online services can be a convenient option. These services typically allow you to choose from a variety of pre-designed icon templates and provide customization options based on your preferences. One such service is Flaticon:

Step 1: Visit Flaticon website ( and create an account if necessary.

Step 2: Browse through the available icon templates and select the one you like.

Step 3: Customize the icon by selecting its color, size, and other parameters.

Step 4: Download the customized icon to your computer.

Step 5: Follow the steps outlined in Part 1 to change the user icon using the downloaded icon file.

1. Requires no specialized software or technical knowledge.
2. Provides a wide variety of icon templates to choose from.
3. Allows for customization based on personal preferences.

1. Relies on internet connectivity.
2. The quality and customization options may vary depending on the chosen online service.
3. Limited control over the design and creation process.

What to Do If You Can’t Change Your User Icon

If you encounter any issues or difficulties while trying to change your user icon, don’t worry. There are alternative solutions available:

1. Reset User Icon to Default: If you are unable to change the user icon using the methods mentioned above, you can reset the user icon to the default one provided by macOS. Simply follow the steps in Part 1 and select the "Default Icon" option when editing the user picture.

2. Contact Apple Support: If none of the methods are working for you or if you encounter any technical difficulties, it is recommended to contact Apple Support for personalized assistance and guidance.

3. Seek Community Support: Online forums and communities dedicated to Mac users can be a valuable resource for troubleshooting and finding solutions to specific issues. Posting your problem and seeking help from the community can provide insights and alternative methods to change your user icon.

Bonus Tips

Here are some bonus tips to enhance your user icon customization experience:

1. Use Customized Folder Icons: Along with changing your user icon, you can also customize the icons of folders on your Mac. Third-party apps like LiteIcon (mentioned in Part 2) offer options to change folder icons, allowing for a more cohesive and personalized desktop experience.

2. Explore Icon Design Tools: If you are interested in creating your own custom icons from scratch, consider exploring icon design tools like Adobe Illustrator or Sketch. These tools provide powerful features and functionalities specifically designed for icon design.

3. Regularly Update Your User Icon: To keep things fresh and prevent visual monotony, consider changing your user icon periodically. This will provide a sense of novelty and allow you to experiment with different designs or themes.

The Bottom Line

Changing your user icon when logging on to a Mac is a great way to add a personal touch, reflect your individual style, and enhance your overall user experience. Whether you choose the built-in macOS method, third-party apps, Terminal commands, or online services, the customization options are plentiful. It’s important to choose a method that suits your technical abilities, preferences, and desired level of control. Feel free to experiment, have fun, and create a desktop environment that truly represents you.

5 FAQs about Changing User Icon

Q1: Can I change the user icon for multiple user accounts on my Mac?

A: Yes, you can change the user icon for each individual user account on your Mac. The methods mentioned in this blog post allow you to customize the user icon for a specific account or system-wide, depending on your preference.

Q2: What image formats are supported for user icons?

A: The supported image formats for user icons include PNG, JPEG, and TIFF. Make sure to use an image or photo in one of these formats to ensure compatibility.

Q3: Will changing my user icon affect the functionality of my Mac?

A: No, changing your user icon will not affect the functionality of your Mac. It is purely a visual customization and does not impact the system’s performance or core operations.

Q4: Can I revert back to the default user icon after changing it?

A: Yes, you can revert back to the default user icon provided by macOS at any time. Simply follow the steps outlined in Part 1 and select the "Default Icon" option when editing the user picture.

Q5: Are there any limitations to the size or dimensions of the user icon?

A: There are no strict limitations on the size or dimensions of the user icon. However, it is recommended to use an image or icon file with a square aspect ratio to ensure the best visual representation when displayed on the login screen and in other system areas.