You no longer have to look at a grid of icons every time you unlock your iPhone. Apple has finally given you the ability to customize your home screen layout. So instead of just repositioning the icons, you can totally to delete them through the application library. And with a full catalog of Home screen widgets, you can add more than apps as well.
But the personalization of the iPhone goes much further. By combining shortcuts with custom icons and widgets, you can make your iPhone look radically different. Here’s how to start making your iPhone truly yours.
First, grab some icons
Before you do anything else, you’ll want to grab some images to use as icons. There are plenty of places to find icons on the web, just search for “iOS icons” or “iPhone icons” and look for something that works for you. Some are free, others (like Traf’s popular minimalist icons) are a bit pricey, so spend some time looking around.
Once you’ve found a set that you like, you’ll want to add the icons to your photo library. On your iPhone, long press an image and choose “Add to Photos”. If you have a Mac, you can drag images into your Photos app and access them on your iPhone.
Then minimize your apps and home screens
In addition to hiding apps, Apple has given users the option to hide apps and even entire homescreens so you can quickly clean things up. To hide an entire Home screen, tap an empty part of the Home screen until the apps start to move. Then tap the pages icon above the dock. Images of all your home screens will appear and you can tap the circle below any of them to show or hide them. If you want to remove an icon, long press until menu appears and then press Delete the app. On the next screen, tap Remove from home screen.
Use shortcuts to replace apps
The key to replacing all of your app icons with your own designs is to replace your actual apps on your home screen with shortcuts.
Open the Shortcuts app (it is installed on your iPhone).
Press the + at the top right to create a new shortcut.
Faucet Add action.
Faucet Open application.
Tap the word Application and select the one you want this shortcut to open.
Tap the settings icon at the top right and select Add to home screen.
Give your shortcut a name (the app name is a good idea).
Tap the image to the left of the name and choose Choose photo. Select the image from your photo library that you want to use as a new iconm (If you want an actual icon photo, download one to your Mac and upload it to Photos.
Faucet To add at the top right, and you’ll see a pop-up telling you that the shortcut has been added to the home screen.
Back on your home screen, you can see your new shortcut. If the original app icon is still on the home screen, long press it, choose Delete the app, then Move to app library to remove it from your home screen.
Repeat this process for each app you want to keep on your Home screen and delete all the others, leaving them in your Apps library.
There are three caveats to be aware of when replacing your apps with shortcuts in this way. Firstly, you won’t get those little red notification badges in the corner of your shortcuts like you would on real apps. Second, when you launch an app from a shortcut, you will first see a brief shortcuts banner notification before launching the app. And third, you’ll lose the ability to long-press the app icon to access all the quick actions it has – the shortcut won’t have them.
To match your custom app icons, you’ll need custom widgets. New apps like Widgetsmith and Color Widgets are popular options.
You will use the app to design your own widgets, choosing what information to display, fonts, colors, borders, and more. Once you’ve created your widgets, it’s time to add them to your home screen.
Long press any blank area on your home screen until you switch to ‘motion mode’.
Press the + log in at the top left of the screen.
Select the Widgetsmith or Color Widgets app (or whatever custom widgets app you’ve used) and the size of the widget you’ve created.
Faucet Add Widget.
Position the widget on the home screen and, while staying in motion mode, tap it to change its options. You may need to choose the widget you customized.
Faucet Do top right to exit wiggle mode.
There are limits to what you can do with custom widgets at this time, but the capabilities of these apps continue to expand.
If you’re willing to accept the limitations of using shortcuts to launch your apps and using custom widgets, you can create some truly unique Home screen appearances!
I have written professionally about technology for my entire working adult life – over 20 years. I like to understand how complicated technology works and explain it in a way that everyone can understand.