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macOS – Change Application Display Name in Toolbar

Changing the name an application displays in the Mac OS X toolbar has no functionality but is still a great geek prank to play on an unsuspecting friend.

Note: This trick may not work for system apps or primetime apps like Google Chrome.

When you run an application in Mac OS X you’ll notice that the name of the application is displayed on the top left of the toolbar in Mac os X:

mac application name in toolbar

A a great geek prank to play on someone if anything, you can change the name that is displayed in the toolbar when running an application. It will also change the name of the application when looking at the “current application” in network administration tools such as Apple Remote Desktop:

application name changed mac os x

How to change the name an application display in the Mac OS X toolbar:

  • Right click on desired application.
  • Click “Display Package Contents“.
  • Make sure the account you’re using has both Read and Write permissions on the folder called “Contents” (see video for details on how to change the folder’s permissions).
  • While in the contents folder, pen the “info.plist” file with textedit (you may have to right click on info.plist and choose “open with”).
  • Press command F on your keyboard to bring up a search box.
  • Search for: CFBundleName
  • On the line just below where CFBundleName is located, you’ll see the current application name.
  • Change the name to whatever you’d like the new name to be.
  • Save the file.

Now, anytime that particular application is opened, the new name will be displayed in the top toolbar.

Note: This name not work with some system application because you don’t have proper permissions. Also the info.plist file may be in a different locations for applications that can be run in multiple language.

This article was originally published in 2011 but in 2017 a video was added and the print content was completely updated.

Anson Alexander

I am an author, digital educator and content marketer. I record, edit, and publish content for AnsonAlex.com, provide technical and business services to clients and am an avid self-learner. I have also authored several digital marketing and business courses for LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com).

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