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Can you change Colour of folders on Mac Big Sur?

Being able to customize the look and feel of your Mac is one of the great things about using a Mac. With each new version of macOS, Apple typically adds new visual customization options to allow users to make their Macs feel more personal. One common customization is changing the color of folders in the Finder. So can you change the color of folders on Mac Big Sur? Let’s take a look.

Changing Folder Colors in Mac Big Sur

The good news is – yes, you can change folder colors on Mac Big Sur! Apple has included the ability to customize folder colors for quite some time. This allows you to color code your folders for better visual organization. Here are the steps to change folder colors on Big Sur:

  1. Open the Finder and locate the folder you want to change the color of.
  2. Right-click on the folder and select “Get Info” from the context menu.
  3. In the Info window that pops up, click on the color well next to the folder name.
  4. This will open the color picker. Choose your desired folder color.
  5. Close the Info window. The folder color will now be updated.

That’s all there is to it! You can follow these same steps to change the color of multiple folders. This allows you to color code folders based on type, project, or whatever system works for your file organization.

Customizing Folder Icons in Mac Big Sur

In addition to changing folder colors, you can also customize folder icons in Mac Big Sur. This allows you to set a unique icon that visually represents that folder. To customize a folder icon:

  1. Right-click on the folder and choose “Get Info.”
  2. In the Info window, click on the folder icon in the top left corner.
  3. This will highlight the icon, allowing you to press Command+C to copy it.
  4. Open Preview and press Command+V to paste the copied icon.
  5. Double click on the icon in Preview to open editing mode. You can now edit the icon image however you like.
  6. When finished, copy the new edited icon and paste it back into the Info window to replace the original icon.

This takes a bit more work than just changing the color, but allows you full customization over the folder icon design. This can be great for creating visually distinct folders for important projects.

Cautions When Changing Folder Colors and Icons

While changing folder colors and icons can help you organize your Mac, there are a couple cautions to be aware of:

  • These visual customizations only apply on your local Mac. They won’t sync to other devices through iCloud or seen by other users.
  • Too many brightly colored folders can make the Finder look chaotic and cluttered.
  • Custom icons may not be clearly visible when folders are shrunken in list view.
  • Custom folder designs could get lost or revert back if system files get corrupted.

Just keep these limitations in mind as you customize your folders. Make sure to design a system that works for you without going overboard on colors and custom icons.

Other Visual Customizations in Big Sur

Along with folders, there are a few other visual tweaks you can make in Big Sur:

  • You can change the wallpaper to one of Apple’s designed images or your own custom image.
  • Dock appearance can be customized, including position, color, and icon size.
  • You can enable a light or dark menu bar to match your wallpaper.
  • Finder toolbar items can be added, removed, and reorganized.

Apple includes a number of standard customization options to let you tailor the look of your Mac. Third-party apps can unlock even more custom icons and interface changes too.

Third-Party Apps for Folder Customization

In addition to the built-in options, there are some third party apps that offer more advanced folder customization features including:


This app lets you create full custom icons with overlays, badges, and custom text. You can make folders really stand out.

Folder Color XYZ

Adds more predefined folder color options beyond Apple’s default colors.

Folder Icon X

Lets you change folder appearance, size, and add emblem badges.


Offers a drag and drop approach to theming folders with custom icons and folder colors.

These apps provide more customization flexibility compared to the built-in options. But they come at an added cost. Evaluate if advanced customization is worth the money for your needs.

Customizing Folders on Older Versions of MacOS

The ability to customize folders has been included in MacOS for many generations. Here’s a quick look back:

MacOS Version Folder Customization Options
Catalina Color change, custom icons
Mojave Color change, custom icons
High Sierra Color change, custom icons
Sierra Color change, custom icons
El Capitan Color change, custom icons
Yosemite Color change, custom icons
Mavericks Color change, custom icons

So the ability to tweak folder colors and icons has been included for at least the last 8 major versions of MacOS. The general process is the same as covered for Big Sur, just accessed through the Finder Get Info window.

Should You Customize Your Folders?

At the end of the day, is it worth customizing your Mac folders with colors and icons? Here are some pros and cons to help decide:


  • Makes important folders stand out visually
  • Can color code based on project, topic, or type
  • Fun way to add personal flair to your Mac
  • Custom icons help convey what’s in a folder


  • Time consuming to manually customize folders
  • Custom options don’t sync across devices
  • Too much customization can feel chaotic
  • Small icons lose recognizability

Overall, judicious use of folder coloring and custom icons can help create visual organization for your key folders. Just be careful not to go overboard and use the customization to accentuate your existing folder structure.


Customizing your Mac folder colors and icons on Big Sur is easy thanks to the built-in Finder options for changing folder appearance. While you can go wild with colors and custom designs, it’s best to use these visual tweaks selectively to accentuate your existing folder system. Aim for simple and clean customization that complements (instead of competes with) the overall look of your Mac. With the right folder customization approach, you can give your Mac a unique personal touch without going overboard.

In summary:

  • Folder colors are changed in Finder via the Get Info window
  • Custom icons can be created by editing the existing icon in Preview
  • Use colors and custom icons selectively to accent your setup
  • Be cautious about potential downsides of excessive customization
  • Additional customization options are available in third party Mac apps

With the power to customize folder colors and icons, you have the tools to add your own personal flair to any Mac running Big Sur or recent versions. Use this capability thoughtfully to enhance your workflow and filing system. Enjoy giving your Mac a touch of color and uniqueness through customized folder designs.