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10.6: Change Safari (and other) app icons
Authored by: palahala on Oct 06, '09 10:36:02PM

Earlier I wrote "Quick tests changing the icon for iTunes, Safari and Activity Monitor show no problems with Code Signing". True: just pasting a new main icon using Finder's Get Info does not seem to break anything.

However, actually changing program resources (so, not just the application's main icon for Finder, but all icons an application uses) using third-party tools MIGHT break the signatures. Now, I don't know if that is a problem or not. Apparently, CandyBar (at least the old versions) breaks the signatures, but no problems seem to have been reported. Up till recently, MacUpdate showed a very old comment (dated January 10th 2008), from one of its developers:

As for changing your application icons by hand, you are more than welcome to do so! As a warning: if Apple enables the built-in code signing in a future Mac OS X minor update, your applications will simply no longer launch. This is what we're trying to safely avoid by disabling that feature until we get a sense from Apple of their plans.

This comment has now been removed, so I assume that Panic investigated (or even stalked Apple to get an answer) and did not find any problems either. I have not tested the new release of CandyBar to see if it still breaks the code signing. After installing any third-party tool, one can test using:

codesign --verify --verbose /System/Library/CoreServices/
codesign --verify --verbose /System/Library/CoreServices/

Maybe warnings like "a sealed resource is missing or invalid" are not as bad as "code or signature modified"?

As a side note: Ars Technica suggests that the code signing might (only?) have been introduced for the iPhone (in which applications might indeed not run or even install if the code signature is broken):

And let's not forget the "Mac OS X" technologies that we later learned were developed for the iPhone and just happened to be announced for the Mac first (because the iPhone was still a secret), like Core Animation and code signing.

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