Custom Thumbnails for Safari Top Sites

Discussion in 'macOS' started by kwissylawrencek, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. kwissylawrencek macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2007
    Hi all, thought I would post this seeing as I couldn't find a guide for it on the net. I used a bunch of techniques and worked it out myself. Basically I wanted a Speed Dial type situation except without any plugins.

    It IS possible to have your own thumbnails for Safari's Top Sites. Here is mine currently:

    OK here we go.
    1/ Edit all your top sites and pin them in place. Close Safari.
    2/ Open Finder, Press ⌘⌃G (Cmd+Shift+G) and type:
    and Go.
    3/ Open the Webpage Previews folder.
    4/ Select all and Delete.
    5/ Open Safari and let all the Top Sites thumbnails load. Close Safari.
    6/ Go back to the Webpage Previews folder. Now you will have fresh images for just the top sites which will make editing them easier. There will be a JPEG and PNG for each site.
    7/Open Terminal, Paste this and press enter:
    defaults write DebugSnapshotsUpdatePolicy -int 2
    This stops Safari from refreshing the thumbnails (to re-enable, remove " -int 2" from the end)
    8/ Now to edit the thumbnails. This requires a little patience. This was my method which I think was quickest, however you can make them whatever you want.
    9/ Just hit spacebar to preview the image to work out which site it is for. Drag both the jpg and png to an image editing program (I use Photoshop).
    10/ Drag the logo for the site into the one of the image windows, resize to fit.
    11/ Recolour background layer to suit and block out existing site preview.
    12/ Merge Visible. This will make the image a single layer, and save (it should just save over the original automatically. You may have to set the quality for the jpg)
    13/ Repeat for other preview.
    14/ Drag next 2 previews into Photoshop and repeat.
    15/ Once you have changed all your previews, open up Safari and admire your work.

    REMEMBER: Make sure you disable the thumbnail refreshing before editing, if you don't, Safari will update the thumbnails and delete your work.
  2. doctordjbrown, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012

    doctordjbrown macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2012

    This is brilliant. The irritation of the thumbnails is that they don't update reliably.

    Doing this is a bit of a hassle, but not difficult.

    A couple of quick comments:

    1) The command to "undo" the disabling of the Snapshot Update is:

    defaults write DebugSnapshotsUpdatePolicy -int 0

    (without the -int 0 the command creates an error)

    2) The smaller JPG file is the one you see in the Top Sites window. The PNG is the one used to to create the zoom effect when clicked. This means you can use simply edit the JPG file, which is slightly quicker.

    Thank you for a great little cheat.

  3. mar627 macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2013
    Image changed back?

    Any idea what i couldve done to allow one of the images to change back and format the work i did in the web previews folder? Only one has re-updated itself so far.
  4. mar627, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 24, 2013

    mar627 macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2013
    do you simply never re-enable the safari update feature?
  5. kwissylawrencek thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2007
    Yep, you don't re-enable the update. You only do that if you want to go back to normal (with the previews)

    I found that out the hard way too.
  6. mar627 macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2013
    Windows Command translation?

    Well thats works a charm thanks so much, BUT now for my windows computer and attempting to define the command that will function the same way, disabling safari's top site updating via command prompt?

    who can answer that one! it appears a fairly stressed issue over the internet :(
  7. garevans, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014

    garevans macrumors newbie


    Aug 26, 2008
    Safari 8.0

    Hey folks,

    I've been using for a while - but it takes a LONG time for the start page to load.

    Stumbled across this old thread.

    I've hit a snag with Yosemite and was wondering if any of you were experiencing something similar:

    the command:
    defaults write DebugSnapshotsUpdatePolicy -int 2
    doesn't appear to stop Safari updating the website previews (also, there are only .jpeg files to replace now)

    I've sort of gotten round the issue by giving my username read only access to the file and locking it with finder permissions.

    Safari will now load the correct icon in topsites, but when you load a page it still temporarily loads the wrong preview.

    When you quit and re-launch Safari it doesn't have write access to the .jpeg files so it loads the custom ones again.

    Any ideas how we can put the final nail in the coffin?

    P.S. In case you're curious, these are the topsite icons:

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