How to change the Mac boot logo WITHOUT 3rd party software (by hand)

This is going to be a short post about how to change your Macintosh boot logo/start logo without using software like BootXChanger. Since this software is open-source, I was able to figure out what it was doing and able to replicate it without using the software at all. Whats the point of this you may ask? Why not just use the software? Well its because I’m curious. And its interesting. And I don’t like using shady software, even if it is open-source. Unless I spend the time to figure out what its doing.

BUT FIRST, a warning: Don’t attempt this unless you know your Mac pretty well. I’m not responsible for anything that happens to your Mac, you, your neighbor, your pet fish, or anything else because of these instructions.

The first step is to find an image you want to replace the standard boot logo with. This image MUST be in PNG (portable network graphics) format. It can be any size, but on some Macs (like mine) it will be squished to fit the square space the old logo was in so I recommend using a square image.

The next step is to put the logo in the place where the OS will find it. But FIRST name the logo “BootLogo.png” without the quotes of course. Then you will need to move this logo into “/System/Library/Core Services/”. It will most likely get mad and say you don’t have permission so just put in your password and it should copy in fine.

The next step is to tell the OS that you want a different logo. That can easily be achieved by going into the folder “/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration”. Then go to File>Get Info. At the bottom of this you will need to change the permissions so that you can edit the files in this folder. Click the lock at the bottom and enter your password. Click the plus sign and select your user name. Then in the table, change the permissions so that you have read & write privileges. Then click the lock again to save the changes. Then do the same process of changing the permissions to a file in this folder named “com.apple.Boot.plist”. Now open that file in a text editor. TextEdit will work fine. Now add these lines in between the “<dict>” line and the “<key>Kernel</key>” line:

<key>Boot Logo</key>
<string>\System\Library\CoreServices\BootLogo.png</string>

And before each of these lines add in an indent so that these lines line up with the lines below them. Now save this file (it should work because you changed the permissions but it might complain a little).

That should be all you need! Now restart your computer and it should have the custom boot logo instead of that boring grey logo that Apple wants us all to use.

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7 thoughts on “How to change the Mac boot logo WITHOUT 3rd party software (by hand)

  1. Little tip for the file hack: you do not need to change the permissions of the folder (this can always be a security risk when you don’t change them back, and do so cost’s more time 😛 )

    Just copy the file on any place (e.g. the desktop), then manipulate it the way he said. And now you can just copy it back and replace the old one (your password is also required for this).

    Oh, and you should make sur to keep a backup of the original file. You should do this always if you manipulate a file of your mac that is not created by you.

    btw: the tip is very nice, thx!
    Do you also know a way to change the back color of the boot screen as BootXChanger can do?

    Regards
    Sandro

  2. Seems the steps are the same for Yosemite because i just used an app called DarkBoot and then checked the CoreServices folder and sure enough there is a BootLogo.png file there with the new logo i added. The only annoying thing now is, sure my custom logo is there but just before the login screen appears it switches back to the Apple logo. I suspect the login screen is its own seperate application or something and its getting the Apple logo from there, not sure where else to look…any ideas?

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