How to Convert Icon Files (.icns) to .png Files in macOS

This brief tutorial will show you how to quickly and easily convert macOS icon files (.icns) to .png files, without having to download or install any new software.

FYI – using this method you can also do the conversion the other way around (from a .png to an .icns). We’ll go over how at the end of this guide.

  1. Start out by copying the icon file (.icns) that you want to convert to a png to your Desktop.
  2. an icns file on the macOS Desktop

  3. Now open a Terminal by going to your Applications list, selecting Utilities and then double-clicking Terminal. From the command line, enter the following:
  4. 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 firefox.icns --out firefox.png

    My icon file – firefox.icns will be converted to firefox.png.

    a macOS Terminal with the command to convert an icon file to a png file
    click to enlarge

  5. A bit of text will appear in the Terminal window confirming that everything went as it should.
  6. a macOS Terminal with the command to convert a png to an icns
    click to enlarge

  7. Now you’ll have 2 files on your desktop – the icon file and the newly created .png file!
  8. a icon file and a PNG file on a macOS Desktop

  9. If you want to do the reverse – convert a .png to an .icns file – run the command: ​
  10. sips -s format icns png_file.png --out icon_file.icns


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