Skip to main content

How to change app icons on your iPhone

Apple’s iOS 14 introduced a wide range of new features and functions for your iPhone, from the App Library to home screen widgets. It also introduced a feature that has flown a little under the radar: The ability to change app icons on your iPhone. This is a simple tweak to pull off, yet it’s not immediately clear how you can do it, with Apple under-publicizing the feature in comparison to other iOS 14 additions.

Fortunately, this article explains just how to change app icons on your iPhone, which involves adding shortcuts to your home screen that are disguised as the apps you want to change.

How to change app icons on your iPhone

There’s no option to change the actual icons used by your apps on the home screen. Instead, you have to create app-opening shortcuts using the Shortcuts app. Doing this gives you the ability to choose the icon for each shortcut, which effectively lets you change app icons.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Open the Shortcuts app. (Reinstall it first using the App Store if you’ve removed it from your iPhone.)

Step 2: Tap the button in the top-right corner of the screen. Next, tap the Search Bar at the bottom of the screen (it says Search for Apps and Actions). Lastly, type “open app” into the search bar, and then tap Open App once it appears under the Actions heading.

Step 3: Tap Choose under the Scripting heading. Now choose the app you’d like to change, and then tap the More button in the top-right corner of the screen.

Step 4: Tap Add to Home Screen. Next, under the Home Screen Name and Icon heading, tap New Shortcut to change the name of the shortcut (you can change it to the name of the app). Then, tap the icon next to the shortcut’s name, which brings up a sub-menu that lets you decide what to replace the default icon with.

Step 5: Tap either Take Photo or Choose Photo. If taking a photo, take the photo as normal, and then tap Use Photo. If choosing a photo, scroll through your previously taken photos, tap on the one you’d like to use, and then tap Choose. Finally, tap Add, which adds the shortcut to your home screen.

There you go — you now have a customized app icon on your home screen. However, keep in mind that this is not the app itself but rather a shortcut for the app, so tapping on it will briefly load the Shortcuts app before loading the app itself.

Some things to remember

Aside from the fact that you’re customizing the icons for shortcuts rather than the actual apps, there are a few other things worth keeping in mind.

Firstly, if the app whose icon you wanted to change was already on your home screen, it will remain on your home screen after adding a shortcut for it. This means you’ll effectively have the same app twice on your home screen. As such, you may want to tidy things up by tapping and holding on the actual app and then choosing Remove App from the sub-menu that appears. Next, choose Remove from Home Screen, which will send the app to your App Library. Don’t delete it; otherwise, your new shortcut (with the new app icon) won’t work.

Secondly, some people have been very inventive in creating new app icons to use via Shortcuts. For example, some have hand-drawn or painted new icons for their apps, photographed their handiwork, and then used these photos as the icons for their new shortcuts. In other words, the sky’s the limit when it comes to dreaming up new icons for your apps, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Chandler
Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London, UK. He covers technology and finance, contributing to such titles as Digital…
Here’s how iOS 18 is going to overhaul your iPhone’s email app
An iPhone showing the home screen in someone's hand.

We're just days away from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2024), which means we're about to get our first look at iOS 18. The new iPhone operating system is expected to get RCS texting in the iMessage app, more customization options for the home screen, and maybe a significant design change overall. Now comes word that changes will be made to the native Mail app.

According to AppleInsider, the Mail app is about to undergo a significant transformation. It's getting a powerful new search tool, Smart Replies, automatic sorting for different email types, and more. But the real excitement lies in the app's expected integration of AI functionality, a feature becoming a hallmark of iOS 18.

Read more
Best phone deals: Save on the iPhone, Galaxy Z Fold 5, and more
Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro cameras seen from the back.

Whether it’s time to trade in an old phone or add a new line to your phone plan, shopping the best phone deals can save you a few bucks along the way. All of the heavy hitters among the best phones have deals going on right now, including Samsung Galaxy S24 deals, Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra deals, Google Pixel 8 deals, and even iPhone 15 deals. But there are way more phones out there than that, and may of the best phone deals come from phones with a slightly lesser known name and phones that may be a generation old with still a lot to offer. With so much to consider, we thought we’d chip in and bring all of the best phone deals right to you. Reading onward you’ll find phone deals from Nokia, OnePlus, Motorola, Google, Samsung, and Apple, as well las some information on which of the best phone deals might make the most sense for you.

With previous phone generations holding up well these days you can find even more savings by checking out refurbished iPhone deals, iPhone 14 deals, iPhone SE deals, Samsung Galaxy S23 deals, and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra deals.
Nokia C210 (Unlocked) — $100, was $110

Read more
Best iPhone 15 deals: How to get Apple’s latest iPhone for free
The display on a green iPhone 15.

The iPhone 15 is Apple’s most recent iPhone release, and with its processing power, sharp camera, and access to the software ecosystem, it’s highly regarded among the best phones. And while there are some Samsung Galaxy S24 deals and Google Pixel 8 deals out there to compete with, iPhone 15 deals to have some savings to offer right now. With up to $830 in savings available on a new iPhone 15, it’s one of the best phone deals you can shop right now. The current iPhone 15 deals are scattered across retailers and carriers, so we’ve done the heavy lifting of organizing the details below.

You can also shop the best refurbished iPhone deals if you’re looking for ultimate savings, and there are plenty of iPhone 14 deals and iPhone SE deals to shop if having the most recent iPhone release isn’t of importance to you.
Today's best iPhone 15 deals

Read more