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How to change the app icons on your iPhone or iPad

William Antonelli   

How to change the app icons on your iPhone or iPad
Tech2 min read
  • You can change nearly any app icon on your iPhone or iPad using the Shortcuts app.
  • The Shortcuts app lets you create new app icons that will launch the apps you picked when tapped.
  • Once you've made new app icons, you can hide your original app icons in the App Library.

If you use the same few apps every day, there's a good chance that their icons have been burned into your memory. This is great for building muscle memory, but not very visually interesting.

Luckily, new versions of iOS and iPadOS include a feature that lets you change nearly any app icon to any picture you want. You can even rename the apps, which is great if you have nicknames for your favorites.

Here's how to change your iPhone's app icons using the Shortcuts app.

How to change your app icons on iPhone and iPad

Before anything, make sure:

  • You've updated your device to at least iOS 14 or iPadOS 14.
  • You have the Shortcuts app installed.
  • You have the pictures that you want to use for new icons saved on your device.

Once you're ready:

1. Open the Shortcuts app and tap the plus sign in the top-right corner.

2. Tap "Add Action."

3. In the menu that opens, search for "Open app" and select it when it appears under "Actions."

4. Tap the "Choose" placeholder and select the app you want to make a new icon for.

5. Tap the three dots in the top-right corner to open an options menu.

6. Tap "Add to Home Screen" and then give your shortcut a name. You can make this the actual name of the app, or a nickname.

7. Tap the default icon next to the name to choose your new app icon. You can pick "Take Photo" to snap a new picture, "Choose Photo" to use a picture you've saved to your Photos app, or "Choose File" to pick a picture in your device's Files app.

Quick tip: If you don't have a picture prepared, you can also return to the previous options menu and tap the default icon next to the default name. This will open a page where you can pick from a few default icons and colors. You'll still have to use the "Add to Home Screen" menu to give it a name and add it, however.

8. Tap "Add" in the top-right.

You've now got a new and fully functional app icon on your home screen. You can move it around like any other app, but just note that if you delete it, the app will stay on your device until you delete the original app icon.

And if you want to hide the original app icon so it doesn't clog up your home screen:

1. Press and hold your finger on the original app icon.

2. Select "Remove App," and then "Remove from Home Screen."

You'll be able to find the original in your App Library, the last page of your home screen.

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