Hands-On With iOS 14 Widgets, Custom Icons, and Home Screen Setup

Apple with iOS 14 introduced widgets on the Home Screen, leading to unprecedented levels of customization for the iPhone. Combined with Shortcuts that let you change an app's icon, iOS 14 lets you create a whole new look for your ‌Home Screen‌.



We've been following along with some of the creative alternative Home Screen designs that MacRumors readers have come up with and thought we'd even try to build out a custom app icon and home screen setup to mimic an old school Mac design. In the video up above, you can check out our superficial attempt at making iOS 14 look like Mac OS X Aqua, arguably one of the most iconic Mac looks.

Widgets are simple enough to use and hundreds of apps are now updating with innovative widgets that you can add to the Today Center and the ‌Home Screen‌ with just a few taps. ‌Widgets‌ run the gamut from weather to fitness to finance and travel, so there's a good chance most of your favorite apps have widgets you can incorporate into a design.

There are also apps that are dedicated just to making different customizable widgets with unique styles and functions, such as Widgetsmith, or Widgeridoo, which are essential to custom designs. We've used Widgetsmith for our OS X setup because it lets us create widgets with custom graphics.

‌Widgets‌ are simple enough to use, but taking a ‌Home Screen‌ design to the next level requires custom icons, something possible through Apple's Shortcuts app. Custom icons are more pretty than useful, and everything you create a custom icon for will route through the Shortcuts app, which is less than ideal.

iOS 14 home screen
We've seen custom designs that have taken hours upon hours to create, and even our own Aqua theme took quite some time to complete, so expect to invest some time if you want a unique ‌iPhone‌ ‌Home Screen‌. Our setup looks fantastic and is reminiscent of an old-school Mac, but it's worth noting that it's not particularly functional. Most of our widgets are really just for show, so creating a design that's nice looking and useful is a real effort.

If you want to recreate our "Mac OS X Aqua theme" for the ‌iPhone‌, we've got a link to the assets available here. All the elements, however, are really just a carefully crafted illusion. But we'd love to see a developer build functional Mac OS X Dashboard styled widgets, and for Apple to allow for transparency in icons and widgets.

Wondering how to set it all up? Just check out our how to on using Home Screen widgets and our how to on customizing app icons using Shortcuts.

Have you made an awesome ‌Home Screen‌ setup that you want to share? Post it down below in the comments, and feel free to share your icon skins, wallpapers, and widget setups.

Related Forum: iOS 14

Top Rated Comments

Harvey Zoltan Avatar
25 months ago
Looks awful, I'm surprised Apple allows this.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pdaholic Avatar
25 months ago
I would love it if Apple would just let us place icons wherever we want instead of making them snap to the upper left corner of the screen. 14 operating systems later and we still can’t position icons on the bottom of the screen (easier to reach one-handed) without putting apps above them to push them down.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SDJim Avatar
25 months ago
Gotta be honest - that home screen is hideous. Why would I regress to iOS 3?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JGIGS Avatar
25 months ago

Looks awful, I'm surprised Apple allows this.
Man are people so brainwashed by Apple these days that they feel like Apple should restrict and decide every aspect of what we can do with our own devices that we pay money for? If this is the case things really need to change. Mindsets need to change.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rafark Avatar
25 months ago
Wonder what would Jobs think of this
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tsuki415 Avatar
25 months ago
The whole “opening Shortcuts” for each app seriously turns me off. Everyone is so on board but loading Shortcuts to load an app isn’t a great implementation. I’m surprised that people enjoy doing this. But hey, to each their own...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iOS 15

Apple Seeds Fifth Betas of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday March 1, 2022 10:04 am PST by
Apple today seeded the fifth betas of upcoming iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new software coming one week after Apple seeded the fourth betas of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. Developers can download iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. iOS...
app store widget

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 Gain New App Store, Find My, Contacts, Sleep, Game Center and Mail Widgets

Monday June 7, 2021 1:43 pm PDT by
The iOS and iPadOS 15 updates that were released today introduce several expanded widget options, which can be used on the Home Screen or in the Today section of the Notification Center on the iPhone and iPad. Apple has created several new widgets for Apple products and services, as listed below: Find My - Track your friends and personal items from the Home Screen. Contacts -...
Google Widgets Custom Backgrounds Feature 2

Google Working on Customizable Widgets With Custom Background and Themes

Monday June 28, 2021 6:43 am PDT by
Google introduced widgets for its iOS and iPadOS app following iOS 14 last fall. Now, Google is looking to give users more creative freedom with their widgets, allowing users to add custom backgrounds and themes. Discovered by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser, code within the Google Search app for iPhone and iPad says that users will be able to "Choose a theme to add color, Google Earth...
maxresdefault

Apple Shares 10 Helpful iPhone Tips and Tricks

Wednesday December 22, 2021 12:38 pm PST by
Apple today shared a new video on YouTube demonstrating 10 helpful iPhone tips and tricks that some users may not have known about. An overview of each of the 10 tips and tricks:If you accidentally enter a wrong digit in the Calculator app, you can swipe left or right at the top of the screen to erase the digit. Starting with iOS 15, you can pin content like web links in a Messages...
3rd party widgets feature 1

iOS 15 Lets Developers Hide Sensitive Information in Widgets on the Lock Screen Until iPhone Is Unlocked

Thursday June 10, 2021 8:23 am PDT by
On iOS and iPadOS 15, Apple is adding new functionality to WidgetKit, introduced last year, that will allow developers to classify information deemed as sensitive in their widgets, meaning that specific information will only become viewable on the lock screen when the user unlocks their device. iOS 14 introduced completely redesigned widgets for the lock screen and Home Screen. While there...
mac studio lifestyle shot

Apple Executives Discuss How Mac Studio Fills the Gap Between iMac and Mac Pro

Thursday March 17, 2022 9:54 am PDT by
Apple's new Mac Studio desktop computer will begin arriving to customers this Friday. Ahead of the launch, TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino spoke with a trio of senior Apple employees about the company's process of designing the Mac Studio. Just like the Mac Pro tower released in late 2019, the Mac Studio was born as a result of Apple's Pro Workflows Team that was created shortly after the...
tweetbot widgets

Tweetbot 6 Gains Support for Timeline Widgets, Multiple Windows on iPad, Shortcuts, Handoff and More

Tuesday August 17, 2021 12:15 pm PDT by
Tweetbot 6 designed for the iPhone and the iPad today received a major update, with Tapbots introducing several significant new features that are designed to make the app experience better than ever. There's now a Tweetbot 6 widget that can be added to the Today View or the Home Screen, and it shows the Twitter timeline. A single tweet can be shown in the smallest widget view, but there are...
yoink mac

Popular Drag-and-Drop Mac App 'Yoink' Gains Configurable Clipboard History Widget and Browser

Monday February 21, 2022 4:52 am PST by
Popular Mac drag-and-drop app Yoink received a substantial update on Monday that brings back a much-improved Yoink clipboard history widget with several highly configurable features. For those unfamiliar with the app, Yoink aims to simplify the action of dragging and dropping files and app-content on the macOS desktop by providing a temporary place for files to be dragged to. Yoink's shelf...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Purple

Apple Planning to Hold iPhone 14 Event on September 7

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:51 am PDT by
Apple is aiming to hold its first fall event on Wednesday, September 7, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The event will focus on the iPhone 14 models and the Apple Watch Series 8. The standard iPhone 14 models are expected to get few changes, but the iPhone 14 Pro models will include updated camera technology, the removal of the notch in favor of a pill-shaped and hole-punch cutout, an A16...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 With Bug Fixes

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:50 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 15.6.1, minor updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems initially released in September 2021. iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 come a month after Apple released iOS 15.6 and iPadOS 15.6 with new Live Sports features and bug fixes. The iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices...
10th Generation iPad Render

10th-Generation iPad With Major Design Changes Reportedly in Production Ahead of September Launch

Monday August 15, 2022 8:02 pm PDT by
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes. A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
Apple Watch Series 3 v 8 1

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch Series 8: 20 Major New Features and Changes for Customers Upgrading

Tuesday August 16, 2022 6:52 am PDT by
It's crazy to think about, but next month will mark five years since Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3. Despite being a severely antiquated smartwatch, the Series 3 has remained at the bottom of Apple's lineup for $199. Suppose you're still holding on to your Apple Watch Series 3. In that case, this article will list all the major new features and changes you'll get if you decide to...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday August 15, 2022 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...