Animated icons in the Dock.


I was just thinking that the Print Center icon in the dock should animate when printing so that you could have visual feedback when something is printing. This would be useful for situations where the printer is in another room like on a network. In 9 the desktop printer icon would put a document on it to indicate it was printing. The Print Center's Dock icon could actually show the printer printing :).

What do you think? I'm sending this as feedback to Apple.
Great idea! Animating stuff like this is one of the many excellent features of the dock that apple needs to take more advantage of.

Do we even know if the Dock will support an animation? I mean, the bounces are just icon positioning adjustments, not an actual animation. And, it's the same thing with the hide all move. About the only thing I think might justify as an actual animation is the genie, but i think even that is just a shift pixel redraw trick.

Anyway, i do think it's a good idea, and I'm not trying to bash it, but I am curious to know if there is even support for it.
NekkoOnDesktop is a small application which puts cartoon cats on your screen. They romp and play. It's a cute diversion.

When the app is active, its Dock icon is animated.

It shows a statistical graph for each cat; when it switches cats the graphs scroll vertically.

What with this app's scrolling / animation,'s changing icon, launching icons' bouncing, and CPU Monitor's scrolling system state -- it's pretty clear that Dock icons can be totally cool.
Fire flashes it icon when you get a message. When you minimize a QT movie it plays in the dock. If you minimize a terminal window it will update it self in the dock (noticed this when I minimized a term window that was running dnetc). The Dock is more than capable. Apple might implement my idea if they get enough feedback; however, I doubt it would be at the top of the list of things to do ;),
The coolest dock animating is the quicktime player. If you minimize a movie while it's playing, it continues to play in the dock. Cool.

Hmmm. That's not exactly the same thing as having the app icon be animated.

Oh, and the Mail app updates its icon to reflect the number of unread messages--very nice. Not exactly animation either, come to think of it.

I'm 0 for 2.

how about having dock icons that are thumbnails redraw or refresh ever 20 seconds or so. Every day, when i use omniweb, when i tell a page to load, ill minimize so that i can do other things while i load it, but when i minimize the thumbnail is of the old screen , so i don't know which one is my browser window. This is would also be helpful with minimizing installation bars.
Matrix Agent, I like your idea. I think it's up to the application to keep its icon up to date (like does), so we'll have to bug our favorite app vendors to include that feature.

Of course when I say "bug" I mean "politely ask."

for all those interested it seems like you can update a programs icon by calling a single method:
[NSApp setApplicationIconImage:anImage];

So it is fairly simple in cocoa at least. Anyone no if it is even possible in a carbon app?

Please guys. I want to contact with any of you that know or can help me to do this animated icons. I do these stuf for Windows but I can find a software to can use my PNG sequences to do animated icons that can work on desktop or at least on the dock.
Please check my stuff on It could be fantastic and unique. Thanks!
You revived a 8 years old thread about Mac OS X dock icons to ask for help for Windows software? :)
No no... I want to do the same that I already do for WIndows but now I want to do it also for Mac. I want to do animated icons for Mac OSX.
There is no such thing as "animated" icons in the Dock. You can change a Dock's icon to display useful information, and, if you wish for a "hack," you can simply change the icon over and over again in a loop to give the illusion of animation. Plenty of programs do this -- Adium (a chat program) does this.

If you still wish to pursue this, read up on what monty posted. It's the Objective-C call for changing a Dock's icon within a program.

With that being said, you cannot create an "animated" icon outside of a program. Icons themselves are static by nature. You would have to create a full-fleged Mac OS X application in order to create an animated icon for that application.
I see... well, the idea is that icons play a image sequence when mouse is over. In DesktopX (unfortunately only for Windows) I use an static png image (ie. 96x96 px) for the icon and for the mouse over I do a PNG file pasting frame by frame, side by side doing the sequence (96x480 px). So the program Play the images creating the illusion.
You mentioned about to create that "simply changing the icon over and over again". And THAT is my point! How do that? I can't find a sowtware to do these things in Mac and I can't believe it. Mac environment is by far vary much solid than Windows...
It doesn't appear that there is software for Mac OS X that will take static icons and allow you to replace them with animated ones.

The only way to do this would be to create your own program, using the XCode IDE, and create a program that has an animated icon. You would do this by creating a new Mac OS X application, importing your icons, then calling the [NSApp setApplicationIconImage:anImage] method over and over. This is usually not used to animate icons; rather, it's used to place status badges and what-not on the icon... like the Mail icon's number of unread messages badge.

If you're not a programmer, and you're not familiar with the Objective-C language, then you're at a dead-end. You will not and cannot animate icons in OS X, then.

I think what you're trying to do is replace icons in Mac OS X with animated versions of those icons -- you cannot do this. You can only control the animation of an icon in a program that you created.
Interesting... well I think I should to hire a programmer for this. But you gave me a good idea... may be if I create a program with many icons (with animation on mouse_over), one icon by each application... and if each of those customized icons can run the application... just like a shortcut... could be great.
Let me ask you... what I need to search? a cocoa programmer, Xcode programmer, or what?
Thanks for your advice, man.
XCode is an IDE, meaning you can use any number of languages with it (C, C++, Objective-C, Java, etc.).

More than likely you'll need someone proficient in Objective-C.