As the trend of customizing your home screen becomes popular in the aftermath of the release of iOS 14, some users are choosing to add custom app icons to their home screen using the Shortcuts app.

custom icons

Custom home screen posted by @BenZhu8. Custom cloud icons from icons8.

Replacing default app icons with images of your choosing allows you to freely customize the look of your home screen. Before you follow this guide, you will need to find or make an image for your new home screen app icon, and there are plenty of alternate looks available for download online.

The following steps explain how you can add a custom icon, for any app of your choosing, to the home screen. The process effectively involves creating a Shortcut to open an app, and then adding an image to that Shortcut on the home screen.

Widgets and App Icon Tutorial Video

We've also made a video that walks through the topic of widgets, home screens, as well as custom app icons.


If you want to skip to the section where we go step-by-step on how to customize your App Icon, it's at timestamp 3:58. But before embarking on this plan, you should understand there are two major limitations in this technique.

Limitations

  • Tapping Custom App Icons launch Shortcuts first, and then the App
  • No Notification badges

If you feel that being kicked to and from the Shortcuts app whenever you open an app with a custom icon is a nuisance, it may be best to only create Shortcuts for apps you use infrequently, or not at all.

Shortcuts can be a complex app to use, as it allows users to create multi-step processes to run on their device, but in this instance, the Shortcut only involves one basic component.

  1. Launch the Shortcuts app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the + icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Add Action.
  4. home screen icons how to 1

  5. Use the text field to search for Open App.
  6. Select Open App.
  7. Tap Choose.
  8. home screen icons how to 2

  9. Use the search for the app you want to change the icon of, and select it.
  10. Tap the three dots in the top-right corner.
  11. Tap Add to Home Screen.
  12. home screen icons how to 3

  13. Tap the placeholder app icon.
  14. From the drop-down menu, select Take Photo, Choose Photo, or Choose File, depending on where your replacement app icon image is located.
  15. Select your replacement image.
  16. In the text field, rename the app as you want it to appear on the home screen.
  17. Tap Add.
  18. home screen icons how to 4

  19. Tap Done. Your Shortcut has now been created.
  20. Return to the home screen.

home screen icons how to 5

If you already had the app on your home screen, you will now have two icons. In order to keep only your newly-created icon, simply move the old icon to the App Library. You must not delete the original app.

Since this process can be quite time-consuming, especially when it includes finding or making custom icons, you will likely not want to do it for every app.

Related Roundups: iOS 14, iPadOS 14
Related Forum: iOS 14

Top Rated Comments

motm95 Avatar
11 months ago
This really is a terrible workaround for what could be simple - iOS native ability to change app icons and icon packs in the app store.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newyorksole Avatar
11 months ago
I’m all for options and customization, but to me a lot of what I’m seeing people post looks tacky Lol.

I’m very much a “default home screen / wallpaper” guy. I like the way things look as is.

But again, people seem to be loving it so that’s great.

EDIT: Also, this just seems like sooo many steps. ?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lucas284 Avatar
11 months ago
Thanks.



Attachment Image
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tkermit Avatar
11 months ago
Limitations


* Tapping Custom App Icons launch Shortcuts first, and then the App

that sounds incredibly annoying.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tha_man Avatar
11 months ago

Sorry but this just looks awful. Apple shouldn’t allow it. Looks cheap and android.
Yes, it should also not allow to put the iPhones into cheap case, other than the Apple one. And while we're at it, government shouldn't allow us to dress into cheap clothing from H&M and only allow us to drive black premium limos from now on...

I think it's great to be able to customise the look of your device. Some people are more than just simple users, they are enthusiast and enjoy doing stuff like this. If you want the default look on your device, nothing is stopping you to not change absolutely anything.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattopotamus Avatar
11 months ago

This really is a terrible workaround for what could be simple - iOS native ability to change app icons and icon packs in the app store.
I wouldn't be shocked if 1 of two things happens:

1) Apple realizes this is popular and allows it with future updates

2) Apple kills of this feature in shortcuts.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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