Replace Your Boring iTunes Icon With Currently Playing Song’s Album Art [How-To]

Replace Your Boring iTunes Icon With Currently Playing Song’s Album Art [How-To]

If you liked that tip earlier today about adding track information to your iTunes dock icon, here’s another great tip for you: it’s easy to replace the boring old iTunes icon in the dock with the album art for whatever track is playing. Here’s how.

To use this trick, you’re going to want to download DockArt, a free iTunes plugin that works in version 10.4 or above.

Once you’ve downloaded Dock Art, you’re going to want to follow the following instructions from OS X Daily:

1. Unzip the DockArt2.zip file to a folder.

2. From the OS X Desktop, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up the “Go To Folder” window and enter the following directory path:

~/Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-Ins/

3. Drag the ‘DockArt.bundle’ file into that folder

4. Relaunch iTunes and start playing a song

Once you do, you should see the album art replacing the iTunes icon for any playing song. If there’s no cover art, the regular iTunes icon will pop up instead.

Want to play with DockArt’s options? No problem. In iTunes, just go to View > Visualizer > Dock Art, make sure it is selected, then go there again and select Options. From there, you can change the way the cover art is displayed, tick off a badge notice for unplayed podcasts and more.

Fantastic stuff. Between this tip and our previous tip about displaying track information right over the iTunes icon, who needs any other app?

  • sampers

    great! and it also works in the ‘cmd + tab’ shortcut 

  • Tom

    What are all the apps you’ve got in that dock image?

  • Brandon Christensen

    What’s with the numbers on the itunes icon after installation?

  • Brandon Christensen

    Figured it out. It’s your unread podcasts

  • AlterThending

    Awesome. Thank You!

  • Greg W

    A co-worker pointed this mention out to me. Thanks for the writeup. While the current version of DockArt is for iTunes 10.4 and up (a complete re-write necessitated by iTunes going Cocoa and 64-bit) the page linked above also has a download for DockArt 1.3 in the System Requirements section, which should work with iTunes versions from 4.1 through 10.3.

    Please do consider donating to Fidelco (an organization that raises and trains guide dogs for blind people) as mentioned in the read-me and feel free to write to support at splook dot com with feature requests and other feedback.

  • bakajiji

    It doesn’t work for me. I followed the instructions, but nothing in the View menu and no change in the iTunes icon. I’m using iTunes 10.5.1

  • bakajiji

    I got it working. When I dragged the DockArt.bundle file into the iTunes Plug-Ins folder, it was shown as an alias. So I tried again using copy and paste, and it showed as a bundle. Now it works OK.

  • Greg W

    Would recommend that you double-check the spelling of the folder where you put it. You want a folder named iTunes in either your own Library or the one at the root of the hard drive, and then inside that one named “iTunes Plug-ins” exactly. And as the article notes, it’s important to restart iTunes afterward, because it only looks for plugins at launch.

  • BCE

    Im curious too! I only know Chrome, uTorrent, Evernote, and of course iTunes and Finder. 

  • Mini mac

    Wait what??!!! I’m not the only one whonuses steam on mac? Hahahah

  • Regert

    Does it work for Windows XP SP3?. If yes, how do I get it installed?

  • Mitchell Busby

    Really?

  • Mitchell Busby

    I’m guessing Lastpass for the key one, the Domo one is some sort of messenger app (probably Adium), and Writeroom is the WR in a bubble :)

  • Lol, ^this guy^

    Riveting. 

  • thewiccaman

    Works perfectly …

  • thewiccaman

    I’m wondering the same.

  • thewiccaman

    Ha, it’s a case of RTFM: [from the website]
    Show Unread Podcasts

    Check this box to display a badge in the upper-right corner showing the number of podcasts that have not been played.

  • Carine Bejjani

    Get à Mac!

  • Albert

    Does this work on both snow leopard and Lion?

  • brownlee

    iTunes, uTorrent, Adium (with Domo-Kun custom icon), Woopra (Cult of Mac traffic stats app), 1Password, Steam, Chrome, Writeroom, Evernote

  • MacHead84

    Its a plug-in for iTunes so I dont think the OS should matter

  • Ed_Kel

    Does WinXP have a dock?

  • mizsec

    I’m running Snow Leopard and neither the dockart or track info plug-ins are working

  • Albert

    Thanks; I was able to get it to work on both SNL and Lion:)

  • Itunesu

    Doesn’t work at all.
    Tried both ~/ itunes plugin directory and regular / itunes plugin directory.Snow Leopard and Itunes 9.2.1
    Oh well.

  • Mohammad Natsir

    work on leopard. thanks. ;)

  • Daibidh

    I really liked this but ended up having to uninstall it.  For some reason it was causing spinning beach balls from hell a lot of the time.  All fixed now.  :-(

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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