cunning folks.

I think this occured after doing an 'apt-get update' and then 'apt-get upgrade' which I thought would keep elementary OS among other applications, up to date. After a restart, I was presented with fugly Ubuntu icons and generic application icons. Any idea whatsoever how I can revert back to elementary OS' icons? I'm sure they're available, I just don't get why the Ubuntu theme replaced these icons. Did the 'apt-get upgrade' somehow think that I wanted the latest of the Ubuntu environment? Both the Wing panel, Dock among icons for Photos, Calendar, Mail and so on were affected.

Note that no other applications were installed through the upgrade, only the useless change of theme.

Screenshot showing disappeared elementary OS icons

2 Answers 2


Try running this in a terminal:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme 'elementary'

You may potentially need to log out and log in again for the default icons to reset.

Alternatively, you could install the Papirus icons. They look great.

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/papirus/papirus/ubuntu xenial main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/papirus-ppa.list"
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com E58A9D36647CAE7F
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y papirus-icon-theme libreoffice-style-papirus
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme 'ePapirus'

I can't comment yet (not enough reputation) so hope this is the right answer...

Do you still have the icons in /usr/share/icons/elementary? If so then you should be able to switch back to them using dconf Editor (install it if you don't have it already).

Start dconf Editor then browse to org --> gnome --> desktop --> interface and from there look for icon-theme, it should be set to elementary. Whilst you are there you may want to check the other options like cursor-theme.

  • For which apps did you lose the icons? Are they second party apps you installed or base elementary apps. If they are second party it could be and issue with the .desktop files and where they are pointing to for the icon.
    – pretz
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 11:53

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