I do a lot of writing in different languages and have keyboard input types set up with hot keys so I switch easily.

I'm currently in Taiwan studying Mandarin and added the "traditional" Chinese input type along with the "simplified" that I already had.

The problem I'm having is that the trad and simple input methods have the same icon and I sometimes don't know which one I'm on, and can easily mistake one for the other.

This isn't the end of the world, but if anyone knows a hack to change this (maybe just the color or something) I would be very happy.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Isn't it more effective if you ask this question over here: apple.stackexchange.com/questions
    – thinwa
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 4:33
  • Yes, you're probably right. I originally posted here in case there was a built-in method. Some of the asian input methods have a lot of options....
    – pixelearth
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 5:20

3 Answers 3


you can click on the icon, it should provide a drop-down menu with a bunch of preferences and options.

Select "Show Input Source Name" - then select your preferred keyboard language. It should come up with the icon, PLUS something like "Pinyin - Simplified".

This worked for me, hopefully works for you too!


Navigate to /system/library/input methods

Right click on TCIM.app and choose "show package contents"

Navigate to contents/resources/

There you will have the icon, named pinyin.tiff.

Make a backup of the icon. Make another icon, and replace this instance with your creation. Admin password needed. Kill TCIM to make it take effect.

Keep a copy of your icon somewhere else, as OS X updates will overwrite your changes.

Same applies to SCIM or any input method.

  • This was what I was looking for, but it looks like mac has special permissions on these files. $ sudo mv /System/Library/Input\ Methods/TCIM.app/Contents/Resources/pinyin.tiff /System/Library/Input\ Methods/TCIM.app/Contents/Resources/pinyin.bk.tiff Password: mv: rename : Operation not permitted benlieb@bens 05:27 PM ~/my_life/sites/2016/1099 >
    – pixelearth
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 9:32
  • $ sudo mv /Users/benlieb/Desktop/pinyin_new.tiff /System/Library/Input\ Methods/TCIM.app/Contents/Resources/pinyin.tiff override rw-r--r-- ....Resources/pinyin.tiff? (y/n [n]) y mv: rename Operation not permitted
    – pixelearth
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 9:32
  • Ah, of course. If you are really hell-bent on it, you can still do it: developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Security/…
    – user4452
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 12:15

Update: I was not able to find out how to change the actual icon, but a quick fix was to select the "show input source name" in the dropdown on the top bar. I was just seeing the icon before, and now I can see the full name. This is fine but takes up 4x more space in my crowded top bar that it needs to.

I'll consider it a shim.

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