If you’re tired of seeing the same old app icons on your iPhone or iPad home screen, you can customize their appearance by creating new ones and “replacing” them. The trick is possible using Apple Shortcuts app, which allows you to use any image as an icon.
How it works?
Currently, it is not possible to truly replace an app icon on an iPhone or iPad. Instead, you can achieve a similar result by using the Shortcuts app. We’re going to create a custom shortcut that opens an app and then use a custom image as an icon on the home screen.
This technique has been possible since the introduction of Shortcuts in iOS 12, but it became popular after the release of iOS 14, which allows you to officially hide home screen icons in your Application library.
IPhone owners running iOS 12 or iOS 13, or iPad owners with iPadOS 12 or 13, can do this same trick and put the original icons they don’t want to see in folders. put them aside.
Preparing a replacement icon image
Before you start, you need to decide which app icon you are replacing, and you will need to locate or create the image you want to replace it with.
The ideal replacement icon will be a perfectly square image of approximately 512 x 512 pixels, although you will have the flexibility to crop any image to a square shape in the next few steps. For this example, we created a simple purple mail icon in an image editor using a simple envelope outline.
For your custom icon, you can use any image or photo you want, as long as it’s in your device’s photo library. Try to search for custom icon designs on Google and save them, or you can draw your own icon and transfer it to your iPhone or iPad using AirDrop.
“Replace” the icons of the iPhone and iPad applications with personalized patterns
First, open the “Shortcuts” application. If you don’t see it on your home screen, swipe down with one finger in the middle of your screen to open it Spotlight search. Type “shortcuts” into the search bar that appears, then tap the “Shortcuts” icon.
In the Shortcuts application, if you see the “Shortcuts” overview screen, tap the “My shortcuts” tab, and then select “All shortcuts”.
On the “All shortcuts” page, press the “+” button.
Then you will see a “New Shortcut” page where you will add the automation steps, much like a computer program. We will add a single step that opens an application. Press the “Add action” button.
When the actions panel appears, choose the “Script” option.
In the “Script” panel, select “Open Application”.
Back on the new shortcuts page, find the box for the “Open app” action. Press “Choose”.
In the “Choose an app” panel that appears, select the search bar and enter the name of the app you want to launch when you tap your custom icon. Then tap the name of the app from the results list. You can choose any app on your iPhone or iPad.
Next, tap on the three-dot menu button in the upper right corner. On an iPad, these dots are at the top center of the screen next to the name “New Shortcut”.
A “Details” panel will appear. Firstly, tap on “Shortcut Name” and name the shortcut as you want, so that it is correctly labeled in the Shortcuts app. Then press “Add to Home Screen”.
In the panel that appears, find the “Home screen name and icon” section. Select the placeholder icon to the left of “New Shortcut”.
From the pop-up menu that appears, select “Choose photo”.
Using the photo selector panel that appears, locate and choose the photo from your library that you want to use as a new custom app icon. Once you’ve selected it, you’ll be given the option to crop it to match the square of a standard app icon.
After that, tap on the name “New Shortcut”. Enter the label you want to use for the icon on your home screen. Ideally, this will be the name of the icon of the application you are replacing, for example “Safari” or “Mail”.
Finally, press the “Add” button and your shortcut will be added to your home screen.
Once the custom icon is on your home screen, you can move the app icon anywhere you want, including the Dock. To run the app, tap the shortcut icon you just created.
If you want to hide the original app icon (and you’re running iOS 14 or later), enter Jiggle mode by long-pressing an empty area on your home screen, then move the icon to your application library.
If you’re running iOS 12 or iOS 13, or if you’re using an iPad (which doesn’t have an app library), you can “hide” the original app icon by dragging it to a folder you want. can place on another screen.
The only downside to this technique is that when launching an app through your shortcut, you first take a quick detour through the Shortcuts app before the actual app appears. At the moment, this is a necessary drawback, but the behavior may change in a future update. Have fun personalizing your device!