I saw this post on Mastodon, and it got me thinking.

Screenshot 2023 02 08 at 4 26 58 AM

Are there any other hardcoded folder names in macOS? Where would I even start looking?

Well, based on what I know, every program on macOS is a directory that ends with .app, which means all I have to do is to find Finder’s location.

That should be pretty easy!

antranigv@zvartnots:~ $ cd /System/
antranigv@zvartnots:/System $ find . -type d -name Finder.app 2>/dev/null
./Library/CoreServices/Finder.app
./Volumes/Data/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app

Well, that was easy to find! Don’t worry, /System/Library is the same as /System/Volumes/Data/System/Library, Apple has a weird way of doing mount points, and I’m not here to judge. Well, at least not today!

Next I have to dig into Finder.app’s content, let’s see what we have.

antranigv@zvartnots:/System $ cd Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/
antranigv@zvartnots:/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app $ find . -type f -name 'Developer*'

Weird. Nothing at all?

I wonder what type of files we have here? I already know that I wanna see all the file types except Mach-O.

$ find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 -I% -L 1 file -b "%" | sort -u | grep -v 'Mach-O'
ASCII text, with no line terminators
Apple binary property list
IFF data, AIFF audio
Mac OS X Code Directory version 20100 - 203 bytes
Mac OS X Code Directory version 20100 - 213 bytes
Mac OS X Code Directory version 20100 - 215 bytes
Mac OS X Code Directory version 20100 - 217 bytes
Mac OS X Code Requirement Set - 76 bytes
Mac OS X Code Requirement Set - 84 bytes
Mac OS X Code Requirement Set - 88 bytes
Mac OS X bill of materials (BOM) file
Mac OS X icon, 114423 bytes, "ic13" type
Mac OS X icon, 1162872 bytes, "ic12" type
Mac OS X icon, 23712 bytes, "ic13" type
Mac OS X icon, 30805 bytes, "ic13" type
Mac OS X icon, 37834 bytes, "ic13" type
Mac OS X icon, 72729 bytes, "ic13" type
Mac OS X icon, 76602 bytes, "ic13" type
XML 1.0 document text, ASCII text
XML 1.0 document text, Unicode text, UTF-8 text
data

Okay! we’re getting somewhere!

According to Magic file directory on FreeBSD, the filename is usually .icns

I think the rest will be easy, let’s try this again!

$ find /System/Library -type f -name 'Developer*.icns' 2>/dev/null
/System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/DeveloperFolderIcon.icns

Bingpot!

What else do we have there?

$ find . -type f -name '*Folder*.icns'
./UsersFolderIcon.icns
./DocumentsFolderIcon.icns
./SidebarHomeFolder.icns
./ApplicationsFolderIcon.icns
./PrivateFolderBadgeIcon.icns
./GenericFolderIcon.icns
./PicturesFolderIcon.icns
./SidebarDesktopFolder.icns
./PublicFolderIcon.icns
./SidebarGenericFolder.icns
./SystemFolderIcon.icns
./ServerApplicationsFolderIcon.icns
./LibraryFolderIcon.icns
./ReadOnlyFolderBadgeIcon.icns
./SidebarBurnFolder.icns
./OpenFolderIcon.icns
./SmartFolderIcon.icns
./BurnableFolderIcon.icns
./SidebarDownloadsFolder.icns
./SidebarMoviesFolder.icns
./SidebarPicturesFolder.icns
./UtilitiesFolder.icns
./SidebarSmartFolder.icns
./HomeFolderIcon.icns
./SidebarApplicationsFolder.icns
./MovieFolderIcon.icns
./SidebarDocumentsFolder.icns
./DropFolderBadgeIcon.icns
./DownloadsFolder.icns
./GroupFolder.icns
./SidebarUtilitiesFolder.icns
./SidebarMusicFolder.icns
./DeveloperFolderIcon.icns
./NewFolderBadgeIcon.icns
./MusicFolderIcon.icns
./DesktopFolderIcon.icns
./SitesFolderIcon.icns
./SidebarDropBoxFolder.icns

These are good! Let’s look at them!

I wrote a script that converts all these .icns files to proper PNGs using the iconutil program.

#!/bin/sh

for icns in *.icns;
do
  iconutil -c iconset "${icns}"
done

for iconset in *.iconset;
do
  cp "${iconset}/icon_512x512@2x.png" "${iconset}-icon_512x512@2x.png" ||
    cp "${iconset}/icon_32x32.png" "${iconset}-icon_32x32.png"
done

Here are the ones that we see basically every day!

Here are some of the exotic ones that we don’t always notice, in an alphabetical order.

The Burnable folder! Still supported even on macOS Ventura!

BurnableFolderIcon iconset icon 512x512 2x

The Developer folder! If you don’t know where you should put your code, this is the right place for it!

DeveloperFolderIcon iconset icon 512x512 2x

The Group folder!

GroupFolder iconset icon 512x512 2x

The Library!

LibraryFolderIcon iconset icon 512x512 2x

The Public folder! Want to share something with your local network? Put it here!

PublicFolderIcon iconset icon 512x512 2x

The Server Applications Folder! Wait, what? I’ve never seen this before. If you know what this is, please leave a reply 🙂

ServerApplicationsFolderIcon iconset icon 512x512 2x

The Sites folder! If you’re new to macOS, this is a kindly reminder that macOS ships with Apache2. Yes, and ~/Sites is the default UserDir, i.e. http://localhost/~yourusername

$ grep '^UserDir' /etc/apache2/extra/httpd-userdir.conf 
UserDir Sites

SitesFolderIcon iconset icon 512x512 2x

The System folder!

SystemFolderIcon iconset icon 512x512 2x

The User folder!

UsersFolderIcon iconset icon 512x512 2x

And finally… the Utilities folder which lives inside the Application folder!

UtilitiesFolder iconset icon 512x512 2x

As sad as it is, these are the old icons, i.e. pre-Ventura (I think). I wish if there was a way to click on a switch and change it back, since it’s all here anyway!

That’s all folks…

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