Alfred 4 System Preference Icons Featured Image

TL;DR

  • Certain System Preference panes have missing icons when accessed via Alfred
  • Missing icons can be corrected by using an image asset within the .prefPane file
  • Mount your root volume to make it read/write
  • Apply the image asset to the .prefPane file the same way you would give an app, file or folder a custom icon
  • This was tested on Catalina, but should function on older Mac OS X versions, as well

The problem with the Alfred icons

I love the macOS app Alfred, but as a power-user, it has always bugged me that certain System Preference panes have missing icons when pulled up via Alfred. Most of the preference panes do show accurate icons, but the following categories incorrectly show a generic white file icon:

  • General
  • Apple ID
  • Bluetooth
  • Internet Accounts
Generic White System Preference Icons
The generic white System Preference file icons shown via Alfred
Correct System Preference Icons
The correct System Preference icons shown via Alfred

Up next are the steps needed to fix the missing icons. I will be following up with a post on why this issue exists and how I came to the solution.

How to fix the missing System Preferences icons in Alfred

1-Disable SIP

The first step is to disable System Integrity Protection. This is necessary so that we can make our root volume read/write. It will be reenabled after our icon tweaking is done.

To disable SIP, first boot into Recovery Mode. With your machine off, hit Command-R (⌘-R) immediately after pressing the power button and seeing your screen illuminate. Continue holding CMD-R until the Apple logo appears, at which point you can let go.

Once in Recovery Mode, open Terminal, which is located under Utilities in the menu bar. Enter the following command to disable SIP:

csrutil disable

Then reboot the computer.

How to disable System Integrity Protection while in Recovery Mode

2-Make your root volume read/write

Once you have rebooted and are logged in, open up Terminal and paste the following command:

sudo mount -uw /; killall Finder

This command allows us to make file edits on our root volume.

3-Save the following PNG image

We will use General for our example, but this process can be replicated with any System Preferences category. Save the image below to your computer. Be sure to click the thumbnail first so that the full size image opens up.

General Icon
General-Icon.png

4-Navigate to the folder where the .prefPane files are located

In a Finder window, navigate to Go > Go to Folder (⇧⌘G). Paste the following into the window that appears and click Go:

/System/Library/PreferencePanes/Appearance.prefPane
Go to Folder
Go to Folder (⇧⌘G)

5-Open the saved image and Copy it

Open General-Icon.png, and Copy it (⌘C).

6-Apply the image

With Appearance.prefPane selected, choose File > Get Info (⌘I), click the white file icon at the top of the window, and hit ⌘V to paste the copied image.

Appearance.prefPane – Get Info (⌘I)
Appearance.prefPane – Get Info (⌘I)

7-Restart Finder and Dock

Open up your Terminal and paste:

killall Finder; killall Dock

8-Check your results

Now search for the General preferences via Alfred and you should see the correct icon!

General System Preferences Correct Alfred Icon.png
Correct General System Preferences pulled up via Alfred

9-Rinse and Repeat

Repeat the process for any Preference Pane with the generic white icon. Most likely they will be:

  • Apple ID
  • Bluetooth
  • Internet Accounts

Below are their PNG icons. Again, click the thumbnail first so that the full size image opens up.

10-Finalize your work

Once you have finished fixing the icons, reboot to Recovery Mode (as explained in Step 1) and reenable SIP by opening Terminal (located under “Utilities”) and typing:

csrutil enable

If you have read through this whole article, then most likely you are as particular about your machine as I am. I hope this has been helpful, and feel free to comment with any questions. Thanks for reading.

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