Can you help me get back my old sys tray icons?

One change that plasma 6 brought which probably will make plasma customisation make a bit more sense to new users is that the sys tray icons are no longer pulled from the plasma desktop theme and instead from the icon theme. However, I’m not a new user, I already spent a lot of time getting everything to look like I want it to, including those sys tray icons.

I know I can probably change them back by creating an icon theme to apply in plasma settings that only has those icons and inherits the rest from the icon theme I want to use (which is already an icon theme that only has folders and inherits the rest from another theme, idk if that works like that), but looking at the files, icon themes seem to be quite complex with lots of folders and subfolders and a gigantic index file, whereas my previous modification was basically dumping a bunch of svgs into a pre-existing folder called “icons” and be done with it.

What is the minimum I have to do to get this folder with the bunch of svgs to be an icon theme that I can apply in the settings?

The icon theme I use was just not built to support this new use, I think, because it looks bad.

(Also, do you think a switch in the systray settings - Edit: or the desktop theme settings since it affects more than the systray - where the user can decide between the icons supplied by the plasma theme and the icons supplied by the icon theme would be worth proposing as a feature request?)

Edit: sys tray icons for a lack of a better term, it also affects, for example, the shutdown button and such in the kickoff launcher, etc.

Hi E

Are you referring to custom programs that show in the tray or the stock icons like from volume?

The majority of the icons in my tray are from my programs and only 3 or 4 stock programs are set to always show.


I’m referring mostly to volume, clipboard, battery and all that stuff and also session and power management icons that show up in kickoff, in the logout timer screen and the lockscreen.

The tray icon of a program should be the program’s business, I think.

No it won’t, someone spent a lot of time refactoring it to use the system icons. We won’t reverse the decision, much less make it an option.

I understand that this was a lot of work, but have you actually tried it with any of the most downloaded or highest rated icons on the kde store? Because it just doesn’t work well with any of them. The only icons that I’ve tried that this new behaviour works with well is breeze.

Currently, using papirus, I get a mix of normal icons, symbolic icons and breeze symbolic icons. It’s just a mess. If it would at least use the symbolic icons only, that would be a step in the right direction, though still a step back from plasma 5 (because I don’t like papirus’ symbolic icons and they clash with breeze’s, but probably have to fall back on them).

Papirus has symbolic icons and even specifically panel icons, plasma just doesn’t use them for some reason. And yes, that’s probably something papirus’ creators can fix on their end and once plasma 6 is released they probably will, but they’re not the only icons that this change doesn’t really work with and most icons, I assume, will not be updated. For those, let’s call them “legacy icons”, that’s probably a death sentence on plasma.

My only hope now is that I can either figure out how to get the old icons back on my system or that the breeze redesign comes fast and looks so good that I don’t want to use other icons anymore.

I get that this was requested by users and it’s understandably frustrating to still hear complaints after someone relented and did all that work to change a behaviour that was honestly working fine enough. Most of the people I saw complain on reddit, etc. where all new users that just complained because it didn’t work like it does on insert other desktop, without spending a second to consider that it worked like that on plasma for a reason.

Plasma 6 will almost certainly break those themes, so I don’t see why another breakage is worse.

Papirus will have to update their icon theme as outlined in How all this icon stuff is going to work in Plasma 6 – Adventures in Linux and KDE.

It isn’t that hard to rename the icons and make new symlinks, even people without icon experience could do it with enough effort.

Sorry but you’re kinda missing the point. This isn’t some kind of “lone wolf” decision, and was brought up publicly on our GitLab instance (which anyone can comment on, including theme developers): [Approved] Plasma 6 proposal: remove the concept of icons in the Plasma theme (#82) · Issues · Plasma / Plasma Desktop · GitLab. It was also brought up during the Plasma sprint this year, which is made up of the core Plasma team and a few others - that’s why it says “approved” on it :slight_smile: (And Nate also went into more detail with their reasoning in the comments.) I would consider that spending “more than a second” on this issue.

Please remember that Plasma 6 isn’t even properly released yet, so please hold your horses as everything 3rd party is expected to break. If this was suddenly dumped on during the 5.x I would understand the frustration…


I have no other theming related issues, aside from the colour scheme not getting correctly applied to some qt5 apps. For me transition to the plasma 6 alpha then beta has been mostly smooth.

Thank you for that Link, that’s very helpful. I must’ve missed that even though I actually added Nate’s blog to my rss reader. If I understand this correctly I can just rename my old icons and place them inside the papirus folder, maybe. I thought it would be more difficult (and maybe it is, I’ll find out).

Of course, but Nate also refers to user confusion in this merge request as part of the reason for doing this and those users are who I was talking about when I said they didn’t think about this enough, because it wasn’t actually that confusing. Back when this was decided I had the impression that the user reports/requests/complaints were what primarily led to that change.

Btw. at least Nate didn’t rule out an option in the desktop theme kcm according to that second link of yours. (I’m not saying “so you have to do this!”, I’m saying so if someone wants to implement it it has a chance of getting merged and that is cool)


But my primary concern was never that the correct papirus symbolic icons aren’t applied, it was that I cannot figure out how to get the icons that I put in my desktop theme to continue to be used as my icons for the desktop theme and that has nothing to do with plasma 6 being in beta, because this was intentionally removed. I think I am allowed a little frustration in this case.

In KDE 5 you can always make your own icons or you can use different icons from other themes. You can also use BreezeEnchaced theme. Custom themes icons are easy to change between eatch other, you can even choose which one of then you want to keep, if you want to keep old ones.

You need to make sure in Dolphin you select “show hidden stuff” and in your Home directory you have to enter the folder names “.local” under the plasma you will find your themes and a specific folder named “icons” in every theme folder. You can try different plasma themes, to see which sys tray icons looks better and you can move these between your themes. I ended up with “mac big sur dark plasma icons” because they are a bit “bold” and it is easier to see them and also looks more aestethic in my Nord Theme config, works also with translucent kde panel.

Not sure if you still need this but I made an account just to help.