How to Change App Icons on Your Phone

May 4, 2023 • April Miller


Are you tired of seeing the same icons every time you look at your phone? Do you want to customize them to match your aesthetic, but you can’t quite figure out how? Changing the appearance of the apps on your home screen can be tricky. Most phones have different ways to do it, but you can change the app icons on your phone pretty easily.

What to Know Before You Begin

Update your phone before you begin to ensure everything works as it should. It might seem like it doesn’t matter, but it affects how you can change your icons if it isn’t up to date.

For example, Google Pixel’s Android 12 removed a customization ability — the option to choose the shape of icons — in 2021. Apple also did something similar with a system update that made changing the appearance of apps on an iPhone possible. While these cases are from a while ago, they represent how it’s important to install new system updates when they drop. You can install updates in settings if you’re behind on any. 

Creativity features may be somewhat limited depending on what phone you have. For example, Samsung lets you change the theme and color of icons directly, while Apple doesn’t allow many customization options on its devices. Even though it takes time to personalize the apps on your home screen, each process is pretty simple. 

How to Change App Icons on iPhone

You’re not alone if you’re wondering how to change app icons on an iPhone. Although Apple doesn’t have a way to change them directly as of 2023, you can use shortcuts as a workaround. To start, open the “Shortcuts” app and press the “+” on the top right. Press the blue button with the words “Add Action” and type “open app” in the search bar at the top. Selecting it brings you back to the previous screen. 

It’ll say “Open” in bold lettering and “App” in a faintly highlighted box right next to it. Select “App” and choose whichever you want to edit from the list that pops up. Once you’ve picked your app, select the “Open App” option above the one you just clicked on. 

It’ll show a small menu with a few choices. The “Choose Icon” option shows you plenty of symbols and colors to choose from if you want something pre-generated. If you want to use your own pictures, tap the “Add to Home Screen” option, select the app icon and pick a photo. Once you’re done, tap “Add” at the top right to put it on your home screen. 

How to Change App Icons on Samsung

You can change your app icons on Samsung by pressing and holding any empty space on your home screen. Tap on the three horizontal lines to go to the menu, then select “My stuff” and “Icons” to see all your options. 

You can download more by swiping up if you’re only able to choose the default. Many sets will be free, but there are also paid options. Once you find one you like, simply tap it and choose to “Download” it. You’ll be prompted to pay if it costs something, but if not, you can use it immediately. 

You can also change your icons by downloading themes, although those will also change more than just the appearance of your apps. Start by pressing and holding empty space on your home screen and select the paintbrush icon called “Themes” that comes up. From there, you can browse available choices until you find one you like. 

Unlike icon sets, many themes cost something. They’re pretty inexpensive, but it’s good to keep in mind if you’re just looking for a change for your icons and don’t feel the need to spend extra on an entire theme.

How to Change App Icons on Google Pixel

Changing your icons on Google Pixel is relatively simple because it only takes a few steps. You won’t be able to use a custom icon pack, but you still have options. Open settings, scroll until you see the “Wallpaper and style” option and turn “Themed icons” on. 

The colors are tied to your wallpaper, so you can switch them up by switching your wallpaper. You can also choose from some of the predetermined color schemes. It doesn’t let you get too creative, but it still gives you some fun options that blend well with your background. 

How to Change App Icons on Motorola

Most generations of Motorola phones will differ slightly in how they customize app icons, but some versions let you change icon layout, shape and color. Your phone likely has a four-by-five default layout, but you can change it to five other types. There are also five shapes to choose from. 

Navigate to your settings and tap “Personalize” to view your options. You won’t be able to stylize your icons much, but the themes on your phone may allow you to change their color slightly. Some phones will give you more customization options than others by displaying a hue slider. 

Third-Party Launchers

People wondering how to change app icons might be let down by the lack of creative freedom from their default launchers. If you feel that way, you may want to try a third-party launcher. It gives you customization options you won’t get otherwise. Most have a wide selection of icon styles, colors and designs for whatever aesthetic you’re going for on your home screen. You can download many for free straight from the Google Play store. 

However, they have a few downsides. While many are safe to use, some can access sensitive information or track interactions on your phone to collect data on you. You can still download them if you’d like, but it’s best to research and read reviews to make sure you can trust them. 

What to Do If It’s Not Working

If you can’t get your icons to change or it’s not working correctly, you may have to restart your phone. Restarting fixes many common issues, so it might help to do one quickly. If you’ve done that and it’s still not working, you might have issues with your third-party or default launcher.

There’s also a chance that your default launcher doesn’t support changes certain apps. For example, some Google Pixel phones will let you apply themes but don’t cover every app. If you notice certain ones aren’t changing, it might be because they don’t support it.

Changing App Icons on Your Phone

Depending on your phone, you can use your default launcher, a third-party launcher or a creative workaround to update your home screen’s look. It also might be worth it to download an icon set from the app store if you want a quick and easy solution. You may have to mess around in your settings for a while, but you should be able to customize your icons to your liking.