Easy Steps on How to Change Folder Color on Mac for Customized Organization

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Introduction to Mac OS and Changing Folder Colors

Mac OS, with its intuitive and sophisticated operating system, has a strong user base worldwide. Its user-friendly interface and customizable features make handling day-to-day tasks a breeze. Among the myriad of customization settings the Mac offers, changing the color of folders stands out. Whether it’s to enhance the visual look of your desktop or to improve organization, the process of changing the color of your folders can be a game-changer.

Prerequisites for Changing Folder Color on Mac

Before you plunge into changing the color of your folders, there are a couple of things to check.

Checking your Mac version compatibility

Ensure your Mac OS supports this feature. Usually, versions starting from OS X Yosemite or later support the change of folder colors.

Select the Folder

Identify the folder(s) you wish to color-code. This could range from a single folder to multiple folders depending on your organization requirements.

Step by Step Guide to Changing Folder Color

There are two main ways to change the color of your folders – through system preferences or by using third-party applications.

Via System Preferences

Navigate to System Preferences

Click on the Apple icon located on the top-left corner of the screen, then select System Preferences. From the drop-down, opt for ‘General’ settings.

Adjust the General Appearance

Under ‘Appearances’, there’s an option to change the color of the highlight effect, which indirectly changes the color of your folders.

Using Third-party Applications

Why Use Third-party Applications

To enjoy a wider selection of color options, using third-party applications is a good choice. Some of these applications also offer add-on features like tagging and icon customization.

Review of Third-party Applications

Applications like Folder Color, XtraFinder, and SideFX offer foolproof and powerful folder customization solutions.

Using a Specific Third-party Application

For this guide, let’s consider ‘Folder Color’. Download and install the app from the Mac App Store, select the folder to edit, click on the color wheel in the toolbar, and choose your preferred color.

Considerations and Limitations in Changing Folder Colors

While we revel in the fun that color customization equals, it’s essential to understand the caveats too.

Compatibility Issues

Some versions of Mac OS – particularly ones older than OS X Yosemite – may not support folder color changes.

Limited Color Options

Directly using the system’s appearance settings offers a limited color scale.

Impact on System Performance

Changing folder color generally has negligible impact on system performance. However, using third-party applications could affect performance based on the app’s efficiency and the system’s resources.

Alternative Ways to Customize Folder Appearance

Creating Custom Icons

Use any image editing software to create a .icns icon and change the folder’s look entirely.

Applying Tags

Instead of changing colors, you can apply color-coded tags visible in the sidebar of Finder.

Sorting and Organization Hacks

Use smart folders and spotlight comments to enhance your file organization.

General Tips and Tricks for Mac Customization


Learn and use keyboard shortcuts for faster navigation.

Widgets and Features

Make use of convenient widgets and productivity-boosting features like split screen and hot corners.

Other Customization Options

Explore screen savers, desktop backgrounds, and dock customization options.


Mastering the art of folder color change can significantly improve your Mac experience by offering a better visual appeal and increased organization. As always, remember that customization is an instrument, and its effectiveness relies on your unique needs and usage patterns.


Why can’t I change my folder color on Mac?

If you’re unable to change the folder color, it may be because your current version of Mac OS doesn’t support this feature. Upgrade your operating system or use a third-party application.

Does changing folder color slow down my Mac?

Ordinarily, changing the folder color has little to no impact on performance. However, if you’re using third-party applications, the impact varies based on the app’s efficiency and your system’s resources.

Why doesn’t my changed folder color appear on other devices?

Color changes are local to your machine unless synced via a third-party application.

Which third-party apps do you recommend for changing folder colors?

Apps such as Folder Color, XtraFinder, or SideFX are all reliable options for changing folder colors on Mac.

Can I change back to the original color of the folder?

Yes, you can restore the original color using the Reset button in the folder settings.

Is color-coding folders a good organization strategy?

Yes, color-coding your folders can improve visual cognition and boost productivity by making file navigation easier.

What other customization options does Mac provide to its users?

Apart from folder color change, Mac offers customization options like desktop background changes, dock customization, and the application of screen savers.