How to convert .icns files to .png files in OS X

This brief tutorial will show you how to quickly and easily convert Mac OS X Icon files (.icns) to .png files.

  1. Start out by copying the icon file (.icns) that you want to convert to png to your Desktop.
  2. Now open a Terminal by going to your Applications list, selecting Utilities and then double-clicking Terminal.

    From the command line, enter the following:

    cd Desktop

    and then hit the enter key.

    Now type:

    sips -s format png icon_file.icns --out png_file.png

    Where icon_file is the name of your icon file, and png_file is the name you want the resulting .png file to be.

    In my example (see screenshot below) I ran the command:

    sips -s format png iTunes.icns --out itunes.png

    My icon file – iTunes.icns will be converted to itunes.png.

    Hit enter.

  3. click to enlarge

  4. Some text will pop up in the Terminal window..

  5. click to enlarge

  6. .. and now you will have 2 files on your desktop – the icon file and the newly created .png file. Note: the PNG will be 512px by 512px.
  7. That’s it!
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • torgola December 5, 2011, 7:02 am

    This can be used in the opposite way?

    Ex.: sips -s format icns iTunes.png –out itunes.icns

  • Gabriel March 2, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Thanks a lot for your tip, very useful

  • Glutnix July 16, 2013, 6:25 pm

    The reverse can be done:

    sips -s format icns input.png –out output.icns

  • Eleni Sokos December 12, 2014, 9:21 am

    Just wanted to say thanks for this tip! Google found me a conversion app for $4.99. Clearly don’t need that!

  • Ken Forbes July 10, 2016, 8:34 am

    Open icns in preview and export works really well

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