Remove/Change Alias Badge Icon Catalina

nicolaselhani

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2015
43
26
Hi,

I have a lot of folders with Aliases on my Mac (some are aliases of folders on external drives, some on my mac's drive, etc). I've been able to get rid of that little black arrow Alias badge from back in the day of Leopard.

I'm aware that Catalina changed macOS' structure to a read-only file system for added security. But I've taken all the steps to be able to read/write macOS system files to get rid of the Alias badge in system files successfully but it's not being updated in the finder's actual alias folders.

Here are the steps I took:

1. Disable SIP (System Integrity Protection)
  • Restart your Mac and hold Command + R at restart to launch into Recovery Mode
  • When in Recovery Mode go to Utilities - Terminal and type csrutil disable; reboot
2. Enable Read/Write System Files
  • When back in macOS launch Terminal and type sudo mount -uw /
  • Enter your Password to confirm and then type killall Finder
3. Change Alias Badge in System Files
  • Go to /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/
  • Copy the GenericFolderIcon.icns to your Downloads folder
  • Rename it to AliasBadgeIcon.icns and copy it back to its original folder above
4. Re-enable SIP
  • Restart your Mac and hold Command + R at restart to launch into Recovery Mode
  • When in Recovery Mode go to Utilities - Terminal and type csrutil enable; reboot
5. Final Step
  • Re-create all Alias folders from scratch
  • Restart your Mac
After all those successful steps, Alias Folders still show that little black arrow.

If anyone has any tips that could help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Nick
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
6,988
1,862
ny somewhere
it's there, in the system files, if you open liteicon after rebooting with SIP disabled. i changed my alias icon, the finder, the trash... etc.
 
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nicolaselhani

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2015
43
26

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nicolaselhani

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2015
43
26
good point. thanks for all your help! I'll do a fresh install and try. if successful I'll update the instructions with liteicon in case someone does a search for this issue in the future!
 

nicolaselhani

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2015
43
26
haha that was an awesome save! Thanks for the warning! If I end up doing a fresh install for other reasons, I'll add this on my list of things to try and report back. Thanks for your help
 
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Purlot

macrumors newbie
Jan 19, 2020
1
0
haha that was an awesome save! Thanks for the warning! If I end up doing a fresh install for other reasons, I'll add this on my list of things to try and report back. Thanks for your help
Any update? I've been having the exact same issue with Catalina. Even after I replacing the AliasBadgeIcon.icns with a blank icon & clearing caches multiple time, I am still seeing the stupid arrow on all the alias icons. Driving me crazy!!!
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
6,988
1,862
ny somewhere
Any update? I've been having the exact same issue with Catalina. Even after I replacing the AliasBadgeIcon.icns with a blank icon & clearing caches multiple time, I am still seeing the stupid arrow on all the alias icons. Driving me crazy!!!
not sure why it disappeared from liteicon, so... also wondering what's up.
 

allan.nyholm

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2007
1,033
281
Aalborg, Denmark
Edit: Sorry about the obvious statement with the image below here:

The update to LiteIcon 4.1 described the Alias icon in Catalina as the following:
Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 07.46.10.png


Only thing is probably ask the author of LiteIcon for further insight or some other system level developer.
 
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nicolaselhani

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2015
43
26
Any update? I've been having the exact same issue with Catalina. Even after I replacing the AliasBadgeIcon.icns with a blank icon & clearing caches multiple time, I am still seeing the stupid arrow on all the alias icons. Driving me crazy!!!
Edit: Sorry about the obvious statement with the image below here:

The update to LiteIcon 4.1 described the Alias icon in Catalina as the following:
View attachment 889670

Only thing is probably ask the author of LiteIcon for further insight or some other system level developer.
Yeah seems like we're out of luck fellas. I've suspected this to be the case, as even when the AliasBadgeIcon.icns is changed or replaced, the little arrow still shows up. So it's pretty obvious that it's no longer the asset used by the System and it's now an asset in some core bundle burried deep somewhere.

Slightly annoying, as macOS security and customizability shouldn't be mutually exclusive. Like there's nothing wrong with taking the steps to disable SIP then to subsequently make the system partition writeable to change some system cosmetics and then re-enable SIP.

But maybe it would be a good idea to reach out to the developer of LiteIcon to have a better idea of what's going on.
 

allan.nyholm

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2007
1,033
281
Aalborg, Denmark
Yeah seems like we're out of luck fellas. I've suspected this to be the case, as even when the AliasBadgeIcon.icns is changed or replaced, the little arrow still shows up. So it's pretty obvious that it's no longer the asset used by the System and it's now an asset in some core bundle burried deep somewhere.

Slightly annoying, as macOS security and customizability shouldn't be mutually exclusive. Like there's nothing wrong with taking the steps to disable SIP then to subsequently make the system partition writeable to change some system cosmetics and then re-enable SIP.

But maybe it would be a good idea to reach out to the developer of LiteIcon to have a better idea of what's going on.
Totally off topic. But, because of this and much other dialogue-window chasing I don't fancy macOS Catalina as much anymore.. I jumped on board quite quickly and internally and externally praised Catalina for the efforts on security but I can't sit idle and be imprisoned by not being able to edit files in the OS. I've said it many times that High Sierra was, for me, the last good macOS version for messing about. I'll probably end up there if most of my apps are compatible with that. I'll lose all Notes syncing and new apps, so thanks for that, Apple :rolleyes:

I agree about the SIP situation - disable SIP, modify, then enable SIP. No biggie.

I can't find any more AliasBadgeIcon.icns around in macOS Catalina and the latest ThemeEngine build can't open the 10.15.2 Assets.car file without crashing.
I suspected it might live in there. But, the app "Asset Catalog Tinkerer" doesn't see it either.

I've been using EasyFind to locate AliasBadgeIcon.icns but maybe it's called something else.There's just so many icns files lurking in the System directory in all sorts of sub-folders and what not. It could be that the Alias badge is inside one of the many Assets.car files also lurking about.
Turn on the Package Content search in EasyFind if you want to locate these too. Assets.car files looks to be the new thing for Apple to contain many graphic files. Even using CAAR formats for elements inside of these .car files.

Edited. Because of slightly poor wording and line breaks.
 
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nicolaselhani

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2015
43
26
Totally off topic. But, because of this and much other dialogue-window chasing I don't fancy macOS Catalina as much anymore.. I jumped on board quite quickly and internally and externally praised Catalina for the efforts on security but I can't sit idle and be imprisoned by not being able to edit files in the OS. I've said it many times that High Sierra was, for me, the last good macOS version for messing about. I'll probably end up there if most of my apps are compatible with that. I'll lose all Notes syncing and new apps, so thanks for that, Apple :rolleyes:

I agree about the SIP situation - disable SIP, modify, then enable SIP. No biggie.

I can't find any more AliasBadgeIcon.icns around in macOS Catalina and the latest ThemeEngine build can't open the 10.15.2 Assets.car file without crashing. I suspected it might live in there. Asset Catalog Tinkerer doesn't see it either. I've been using EasyFind to locate AliasBadgeIcon.icns but maybe it's called something else.There's just so many icns files lurking in the System directory in all sorts of sub-folders and what not. It mightbe that the Alias badge is not insideone of the many Assets.car files also lurking about. Turn on the Package Content search in EasyFind if you want to locate these too. Assets.car files looks to be the new thing for Apple to contain many graphic files. Even using CAAR formats for elements inside of these .car files.
I agree with you Allan, I mean I've been on High Sierra (even skipping Mojave) since it came out. And have been holding off jumping into the brave new world that apple has created with the many changes that have popped up the last few years. It can be the small things like the new Apple Music app without the column browser (thank God they brought it back in 10.15.2!) and the new horizontal artwork of the Apple TV app (I have over 650 movies I've been collecting for decades with regular vertical posters) and yes I manually changed every one of them. But even though the transition and adapting to the new OS has been a bumpy ride, I realize that there are so many benefits of speed, stability and bugs that have been quashed that still live on in previous OS's. But I definitely understand your frustration. Hell, I even made posted a video a few months ago expressing my frustration with Catalina, which I eventually unlisted since some of my concerns have been addressed (seriously thank God for the column browser being back).

A good example is this alias thing, it's terribly annoying, we pay so much money for our Macs, and honestly, a relative portion of why is because of the care put into the design and aesthetics of the hardware and the interface, so imposing a small detail like a black arrow where it used to be easy to change is annoying, especially since it has absolutely no implication on the integrity and security of the system.

Hopefully a solution can be discovered soon!
 

allan.nyholm

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2007
1,033
281
Aalborg, Denmark
I agree with you Allan, I mean I've been on High Sierra (even skipping Mojave) since it came out. And have been holding off jumping into the brave new world that apple has created with the many changes that have popped up the last few years. It can be the small things like the new Apple Music app without the column browser (thank God they brought it back in 10.15.2!) and the new horizontal artwork of the Apple TV app (I have over 650 movies I've been collecting for decades with regular vertical posters) and yes I manually changed every one of them. But even though the transition and adapting to the new OS has been a bumpy ride, I realize that there are so many benefits of speed, stability and bugs that have been quashed that still live on in previous OS's. But I definitely understand your frustration. Hell, I even made posted a video a few months ago expressing my frustration with Catalina, which I eventually unlisted since some of my concerns have been addressed (seriously thank God for the column browser being back).

A good example is this alias thing, it's terribly annoying, we pay so much money for our Macs, and honestly, a relative portion of why is because of the care put into the design and aesthetics of the hardware and the interface, so imposing a small detail like a black arrow where it used to be easy to change is annoying, especially since it has absolutely no implication on the integrity and security of the system.

Hopefully a solution can be discovered soon!
I read your comment and was in agreement right away as of course there's benefits to using the latest OS for security and performance reasons. Let's see how long I last on High Sierra before coming to terms with; "It's me, not you" with regarding macOS Catalina.

Mojave was, just okay. But, it also showed the path for what Apple was going to clamp down on; Editing system files.
I've also been blasted for claiming that I get why Microsoft is not keen on allowing editing the theme on Windows. It's the brand. It should be easy to recognize Windows 10 from a glance. As such it should be easy to recognize macOS just by glancing.
If I edit the whole system then their brand is down by 1 percent.
 
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nicolaselhani

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2015
43
26
I read your comment and was in agreement right away as of course there's benefits to using the latest OS for security and performance reasons. Let's see how long I last on High Sierra before coming to terms with; "It's me, not you" with regarding macOS Catalina.

Mojave was, just okay. But, it also showed the path for what Apple was going to clamp down on; Editing system files.
I've also been blasted for claiming that I get why Microsoft is not keen on allowing editing the theme on Windows. It's the brand. It should be easy to recognize Windows 10 from a glance. As such it should be easy to recognize macOS just by glancing.
If I edit the whole system then their brand is down by 1 percent.
100%. let's just hope it's not going down the iOS path where nothing is customizable and it's a fortress. I emailed the developer of LiteIcon to see if they have any insights as to why the Alias Badge cannot be edited and what changed in Catalina in that regard. It could potentially give us the key to unlocking customization not just for Catalina but many macOS systems to come.
 

scoble2

macrumors newbie
Mar 26, 2020
5
3
Hawaii
Good News everyone. I have solved this issue and will post how I removed the alias badges below.

First of all, disable SIP and mount the drive from steps 1 and 2 as written in the original post. You can also just create root user and modify the file system that way. I will include that as well.
1. Disable SIP (System Integrity Protection)

  • Restart your Mac and hold Command + R at restart to launch into Recovery Mode
  • When in Recovery Mode go to Utilities - Terminal and type csrutil disable; reboot
1.5. Create a root user following this website. Once a user is created, log into the root user. Then go to the resource folder listed below. Select Get Info, at the bottom, click the lock. Then add your main user to the list and give it read/write premissions. This will allow you to edit the file without having to move it.


2. Enable Read/Write System Files

  • When back in macOS launch Terminal and type sudo mount -uw /
  • Enter your Password to confirm and then type killall Finder
-You will also need the modified version of Theme Engine that works with MacOS 10.15 located here. If you would like to see the thread on the offcial github page to how it was patched to work with Catalina visit this site. (see MUI68K comment on how to fix if you choose to compile it yourself the link to the zip is also in the comments)
-I also used a blank .icns image to replace the AliasBadgeIcon within core services. I do not know if changing the name will also do the trick but here is mine. (feel free to also google one as well if you like.)
-You will also need LiteIcon. Simply to clear out the icon cache. there may be a way within terminal but (See command below) the app is great anyways and everyone should have it.

So after you have meet the required items from above.
~First replace the AliasBadgeIcon with the blank one within /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/.
~(only if you disabled SIP, if you choose the root user route, you will not need to move this) Next you will need to copy assets.car from the same directory, to another directory. I used my downloads folder, feel free to use whatever as long as it is a folder you have permission for.
~I highly suggest you make a copy of assets.car as well and put it somewhere safe. You are not doing a whole lot of editing but just in case, it will save you from a clean install.
~Open the assets.car you moved using the theme engine app downloaded. The second choice under elements is "alias badge". Select it and it will show you all the icons. Next select each one individually and change Opacity, (right column) to .0. (this did not work for some, but dragging and dropping the blank icon over each icon seem to work as well. If Opacity does not stay at .0 give that a try) Do this for all the icons in the window.
~Next close the window and when it prompts you to save say yes. Move the edited assets.car file back to the original location and replace the existing one. (I could not edit the assets.car in the directory as it would not let me save it since I did not have premissions. I am able to replace it since finder will let me type my password in)
~After this is done I would open up Terminal and run the command
Code:
killall Finder; killall Dock
May not be neccessary but I did it. It did not change the icons though.
~Last, open LiteIcon, in the menu bar select Tools-Clear Icon Cache. It will force you to log out. Once you log back in your Alias Badges should be gone. I did not have to recreate the alias itself for this to take effect. You can also use following command in Terminal if you wish.
Code:
sudo rm -rfv /Library/Caches/com.apple.iconservices.store; sudo find /private/var/folders/ \( -name com.apple.dock.iconcache -or -name com.apple.iconservices \) -exec rm -rfv {} \; ; sleep 3;sudo touch /Applications/* ; killall Dock; killall Finder
Anyways, Sorry if this write up is super messy but I hope it helps a few people out there. Maybe someone who blogs can write up a better walk-through with pretty pictures and all. I am not a programmer but I can try and help if you have any questions. I can also upload my assest file if needed but figured, teach a man how to fish thing. Anyways, good luck.

Edit: Thanks to @yacob841 for helping me with some code and testing. I have updated this to reflect other things.
 
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nicolaselhani

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2015
43
26
Good News everyone. I have solved this issue and will post how I removed the alias badges below.

First of all, disable SIP and mount the drive from steps 1 and 2 as written in the original post.

-You will also need the modified version of Theme Engine that works with MacOS 10.15 located here. If you would like to see the thread on the offcial github page to how it was patched to work with Catalina visit this site. (see MUI68K comment on how to fix if you choose to compile it yourself the link to the zip is also in the comments)
-I also used a blank .icns image to replace the AliasBadgeIcon within core services. I do not know if changing the name will also do the trick but here is mine. (feel free to also google one as well if you like.)
-You will also need LiteIcon. Simply to clear out the icon cache. there may be a way within terminal but the app is great anyways and everyone should have it.

So after you have meet the required items from above.
~First replace the AliasBadgeIcon with the blank one within /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/.
~Next you will need to copy assets.car from the same directory, to another directory. I used my downloads folder, feel free to use whatever as long as it is a folder you have permission for.
~I highly suggest you make a copy of assets.car as well and put it somewhere safe. You are not doing a whole lot of editing but just in case, it will save you from a clean install.
~Open the assets.car you moved using the theme engine app downloaded. The second choice under elements is "alias badge". Select it and it will show you all the icons. Next select each one individually and change Opacity, (right column) to 0. Do this for all the icons in the window.
~Next close the window and when it prompts you to save say yes. Move the edited assets.car file back to the original location and replace the existing one. (I could not edit the assets.car in the directory as it would not let me save it since I did not have premissions. I am able to replace it since finder will let me type my password in)
~After this is done I would open up Terminal and run the command
Code:
killall Finder; killall Dock
May not be neccessary but I did it. It did not change the icons though.
~Last, open LiteIcon, in the menu bar select Tools-Clear Icon Cache. It will force you to log out. Once you log back in your Alias Badges should be gone. I did not have to recreate the alias itself for this to take effect.

Anyways, Sorry if this write up is super messy but I hope it helps a few people out there. Maybe someone who blogs can write up a better walk-through with pretty pictures and all. I am not a programmer but I can try and help if you have any questions. I can also upload my assest file if needed but figured, teach a man how to fish thing. Anyways, good luck.
@scoble2 wow thanks so much for taking the time to do this write up. I haven't yet tested it out on my end. But I will go ahead and test it out now and report back. I had all but given up. It really is a lot of loops apple is making us jump through... Stay safe everyone!
 

yacob841

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2012
3
0
@scoble2 Thank you! I've been trying to figure this out! I have a couple of tweaks that should make this easier for you.

First is if you enable the root account you can do things like mounting the drive as RW without needing recovery mode but the best part of enabling root (besides it fixes a major vulnerability in MacOS since if it's not enabled anyone can enable it using Single User Mode and take over your computer) is that you can modify RW permissions for system folders. Now when you log back into your main account, go to the Get Info of the Resource folder, click the lock, type in root credentials and now you can add your user with RW permissions.

Second I have a terminal command that clears cache for you:
Code:
sudo rm -rfv /Library/Caches/com.apple.iconservices.store; sudo find /private/var/folders/ \( -name com.apple.dock.iconcache -or -name com.apple.iconservices \) -exec rm -rfv {} \; ; sleep 3;sudo touch /Applications/* ; killall Dock; killall Finder
Now, for some reason, I was not able to get it to work changing Opacity to 0, it kept reassigning the value to 1. What worked for me (it still reassigned a few times but worked eventually) was dragging and dropping my transparent .icns file over the different icon images.
 

scoble2

macrumors newbie
Mar 26, 2020
5
3
Hawaii
@scoble2 Thank you! I've been trying to figure this out! I have a couple of tweaks that should make this easier for you.

First is if you enable the root account you can do things like mounting the drive as RW without needing recovery mode but the best part of enabling root (besides it fixes a major vulnerability in MacOS since if it's not enabled anyone can enable it using Single User Mode and take over your computer) is that you can modify RW permissions for system folders. Now when you log back into your main account, go to the Get Info of the Resource folder, click the lock, type in root credentials and now you can add your user with RW permissions.

Second I have a terminal command that clears cache for you:
Code:
sudo rm -rfv /Library/Caches/com.apple.iconservices.store; sudo find /private/var/folders/ \( -name com.apple.dock.iconcache -or -name com.apple.iconservices \) -exec rm -rfv {} \; ; sleep 3;sudo touch /Applications/* ; killall Dock; killall Finder
Now, for some reason, I was not able to get it to work changing Opacity to 0, it kept reassigning the value to 1. What worked for me (it still reassigned a few times but worked eventually) was dragging and dropping my transparent .icns file over the different icon images.
Thanks for the tweaks. I will update it. I do not know why yours Opcaity did not stay at 0. I just pulled mine up again. It says .0 on all of them. Not sure if that makes a difference but maybe. I did make an icon set of the blank icon but I do not remember dragging them onto each one. I will update it so both ways show.

Edit: So upon further review, the way I have my log in screen set up, it does not allow me to enter root as user. I have users as list. Since I only have one user, I just have to enter my password. I could change it but if I need to use the root access. I will include how for those who do not want to disable SIP. and always good to set up a root password even if you do not use it.
 
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scoble2

macrumors newbie
Mar 26, 2020
5
3
Hawaii
So I started a thread of a full walkthrough. Feel free to look at it to see if it makes sense and I didn't miss anything. If anyone finds errors let me know and I will update it as needed.

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