Customize Your iPhone Home Screen With Aesthetic Apps and Widgets


It’s fairly simple to change the appearance of your iPhone app icons.

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple’s iPhone has always lagged behind Android phones in terms of customizing its home screen, but last year’s release of iOS 14 changed quite a bit. iPhone users now have the ability to create home-screen themes filled with their own unique app icons and widgets.

When paired with custom wallpaper, personalized themes can create quite an aesthetic effect. And with the new focusmode in iOS 15, you can design completely unique home screens for different locations or times of the day.

CNET Tech Tips

Kelsey Adams/CNET

Setting up these custom widgets and app icons requires two iPhone apps — one lesser-known native app and one third-party app that’s free in the App Store. Read on to learn how to customize your home screen on either iOS 14 or iOS 15.

For more, learn how to tweak your iOS 15 settings like a power user, seven ways to Android-ify your iPhone and 10 hidden iOS 15 features you might have missed.

How to change your app icons on your iPhone

The applications that live on home screen have their own logos, but you can use a native iOS feature to change the look of any app icon:

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone (it’s already preinstalled).
  2. Tap the plus icon in the top right corner.
  3. Select AddAction.
  4. In the search bar, type open app and select the Open-App action.
  5. Next, tap apps and select the app you want to customize.
  6. Then tap the hamburger icon in the upper right corner.
  7. From here, tap Add to Home Screen.
  8. Where it says Home Screen Name and Icon, rename the shortcut to anything you’d like.
  9. Next, go into your web browser of choice and find a new icon image. You can search for something like “Facebook icon aesthetic.” When you find an image you like, save it to your photos.
  10. Go back to the Shortcuts app and tap the icon under Home Screen Name and Icon. Select Choose Photo and tap on the image you just saved. You can zoom in or out on the image. Tap Choose.
  11. finally hit Add.

Now you have a customized app on your phone (it’s actually a bookmark). You can delete the original app from your home screen, but you’ll easily be able to find it in your App Library.

Customize the widgets on your iPhone home screen

Apps aren’t the only think you can customize. With the help of this third-party app, you can also add a little flavor to your widgets:

  1. Download the Widgetsmith app on your iPhone.
  2. In the app, select the size of the widget you’d like to customize — your options are small, medium and large.
  3. Tap the widget to customize it. You can change the font and colors. Go back once you’re done and tap Save.
  4. Go to your home screen and hold and press down anywhere on the screen.
  5. Once you’re in edit mode, tap the plus icon in the top left corner and search for Widgetsmith. Tap the icon.
  6. Select the widget size you’d like to add to your home screen and tap Add Widget.
  7. You can change the widget by pressing down on the app and selecting Edit Widget. That’s all! Now your home screen has different-size icons for a customized look.

You can create widgets for certain features and applications, including photos, time, date, Weather (paid), Health, battery, Calendar, Reminders, tides (paid), and astronomy.

Now playing:
Watch this:

Try a custom home screen using iOS 14