5 Easy Ways to Get Custom App Icons on iPhone

July 21, 2023 • April Miller


Everyone eventually gets the itch to update the look of their home screen. iPhone users may be unable to instantly update their apps’ appearances with a single App Store download, but there are still plenty of personalization opportunities. Are you looking for quick solutions? Take a look at these five ways to get custom app icons on your iPhone. 

1. Widgets

There may be better ways to get custom app icons on iPhone than widgets, but they can work just as well. They perform the app’s most valuable actions while adding flair to your phone. Remember, you’ll only see personalization options for things you have installed. 

To get started, press and hold an empty space on your home screen until everything starts jiggling. Tap the small grey “+” on the top left of your screen and scroll until you find something you like. You can swipe through each widget t

Some even have extra customization options if you tap on them. For example, Venmo lets you change the background of your QR code to plants, rainbows or oranges. You can play around with each one to see what you prefer.

You can also download apps from Apple’s App Store for even more choices. For example, Widgetsmith changes multiple features of apps on your home screen. It lets you edit their layout, size and color. Also, it gives you more aesthetic flexibility, an essential function for those who want a cohesive theme on their home screen. Switching between home screens becomes simple, as well, because you can make quick changes depending on which one you use. 

2. Folders

Although folders look somewhat simple, you can give them custom labels and organize the apps inside them for a unique appearance. For example, you could fill one only with icons of a single color. It’s like having a mini mosaic window on your phone. 

Folders are the same size as the regular apps, so they’ll look right at home. They help keep things organized, too, which is super helpful. Plus, you can even rename them using emojis, symbols or numbers.

Even if you’d rather use original shortcuts or icon packs, it’s still an excellent way to personalize your home screen. It gives you some extra flexibility. Plus, nothing is stopping you from pairing your folders with other customization options for maximum creativity.

3. Shortcuts

Apple doesn’t have a way to directly get custom app icons on iPhone as of 2023, so Shortcuts is your next best option. Although the app’s primary purpose is to make actions faster, it also lets you change apps’ appearances permanently. It offers a small range of colors and images to choose from, but you can also upload your own from your photos.

Simply open the app, press the blue plus sign at the top right of your screen and tap the “Add Action” button. Type “open app” in the search bar at the top and select the option under “Scripting.” Here, you’ll press the word “App” and choose the one you want from a list. 

You can tap the icon at the very top to change it. You’ll have 15 shades and hundreds of symbols to choose from. There are a ton of fun and colorful combinations you can make. Plus, everything is in separate categories so you can easily find what you’re looking for. 

If you want more customization options, press the small “v” next to it to get a small drop-down menu. Press “Add to Home Screen” and then the shortcut’s icon to choose different images. You could add pictures you took yourself or use something you downloaded online. When you’re done, hit the “Add” button up top. 

Are you wondering how to get around the shortcut notification on your iPhone? People who don’t prefer this method just don’t like the pop-up they get whenever they open their apps. Although an iOS update deactivated it for most, there’s a workaround for those who still need it. 

Press “Automation,” “Create Personal Automation” and the “App” option. Select “Is Opened” and choose the app you’re making a shortcut for. Tap “Next” and “Add Action,” then type “nothing” in the search bar. After you tap it, make sure to unselect “Ask Before Running” before hitting “Done.” That’s it — you’ve just turned off the annoying shortcuts notification for good.

3. Icon Packs

You’ll install icon packs using the shortcut method, but they get their own category because they involve separate steps. Basically, they’re a collection of pre-made custom app icons for iPhone. They usually contain multiple PNG files that all follow the same aesthetic or theme. They’re super handy because they shorten the shortcut process. 

You can install them from various sources — you’ll find most from a simple Google search. You can either use an app or download them directly. Make sure you’re getting them from a trusted source. Be mindful that only some results are free. Keep an eye out for sign-up, download or subscription costs. 

Most options are affordable, but you don’t have to pay for anything if you find the right website. For example, Canva has many free templates matching every aesthetic you could think of. Some are from the official Canva account, so you can feel confident downloading them onto your phone. Their 1024 x 1024 pixel size makes them look clear despite their small size. 

5. In-App

Although most people prefer to create their own custom app icons on iPhone, some processes can be tedious. Have you ever wanted to make only minor changes to the app’s design? Plenty of people prefer keeping familiar symbols on their home screens. Luckily for you, many have options in their settings that allow for some personalization. 

Several on the App Store offer in-app customization options. Usually, you have to go into their settings to change how they look. However, each one will have slightly different steps. You can experiment with various apps on your iPhone to see which ones offer personalization.

Changing an icon in its settings will update its appearance throughout your phone, including in your menus. Other options — like shortcuts — will only affect your home screen. Even though many apps may not have extensive customization options, you get a bit more use out of them. 

Personalize Your iPhone

Apple doesn’t give its users many customization options, but plenty of excellent workarounds exist. You can easily get custom app icons on your iPhone using widgets, folders, shortcuts, icon packs or app settings. However you choose to do it, you’ll have a phone that better fits your personality when you’re done.