Have you ever wanted to make your iPhone your own, with your individualized style and flair? Sure, you can change your home screen wallpaper. But if you really want to personalize your phone, why not create your own app icons?
Itâ€™s doable, using Appleâ€™s built-in Shortcuts app. You actually wonâ€™t be replacing the icons that the apps came with â€” rather, youâ€™ll be creating separate Shortcuts that lead to the app. Itâ€™s a tedious and time-consuming process, but in the end, you can have a fully customized iPhone home screen.
Hereâ€™s how you do it:
- First, find and tap on the Shortcuts app. Itâ€™s pre-installed; if you canâ€™t see it immediately on your home screen, swipe left until youâ€™re at the App Library and start typing â€śShortcutsâ€ť into the top search bar.
- Once youâ€™re in the app, tap on the â€śplusâ€ť sign in the upper-right corner, and then on â€śAdd Actionâ€ť
- There are a lot of interesting things to try out in Shortcuts. But right now, what we want to do is switch app icons. Type â€śOpen appâ€ť in the search bar and then tap on the â€śOpen Appâ€ť link.
- Tap on the word â€śChoose.â€ť Youâ€™ll see a list of your apps; pick the one you want to customize and youâ€™ll be taken back to the New Shortcut page.
- Select the three dots in the upper-right corner. Youâ€™re now in the Details page. Give your shortcut a name and tap â€śAdd to Home Screen.â€ť
- Youâ€™ll now see a preview of the icon (which will be a standard, uninteresting icon that Shortcuts automatically adds). Donâ€™t worry, weâ€™re going to make it better. Select Add in the top-right corner.
- Now itâ€™s time to find your substitute icon. There are a bunch of icon sources online (Flaticon, for example), or if youâ€™re artistic and / or ambitious, you can create your own. Whether you use someone elseâ€™s or your own, save the image to Photos.
- Now go back to the Shortcuts preview area. (You can find it again by going to the Details section and tapping on â€śAdd to Home Screen.â€ť) Tap on the icon under â€śHome Screen Name and Icon.â€ť Youâ€™ll have the choice of either taking a photo, choosing a photo, or choosing a file. Assuming youâ€™ve already saved an image in Photo, tap on â€śChoose Photoâ€ť and select the photo you want to use.
- On the next screen, a highlighted area will indicate what part of the photo will appear as an icon; you can move the photo around until youâ€™re happy with the section indicated. Tap â€śChooseâ€ť in the lower-right corner.
- Now, youâ€™ll see your new icon. Tap Add.
- You should see your new customized icon on your home screen. Congrats!
- Thereâ€™s the possibility you may see two new icons on your home screen: one with the first boring icon, and one with your wonderful new icon. If thatâ€™s the case, just press and hold the icon that you donâ€™t want, and then select â€śDelete bookmark.â€ť Remember, this (and the other you created) is a bookmark / shortcut â€” not the original.
- You can also hide the original app icon so youâ€™ll just have the new one visible. (You donâ€™t want to delete it completely, of course; that would delete the app.)
- Long-press on the original app icon and select â€śEdit Home Screenâ€ť
- Tap on the minus sign. On the pop-up menu, tap â€śRemove from Home Screen.â€ť The original icon wonâ€™t be deleted, just hidden; you can always find it in the App Library.
One note: when you use your new icon to go to the app, you will occasionally get a small drop-down notice that tells you what the original app is called and to remind you of the fact that it is a shortcut. But the drop-down will only last for a second or two, so it shouldnâ€™t be much of a bother.