How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts

Oct 27, 2020 - 3 Comments

How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts

Did you know that you can set a custom icon for any app that you want to launch on your iOS or iPadOS device? Thanks to the Shortcuts app that comes preinstalled on iOS and iPadOS devices, you can actually use any image as an app icon. This lets you effectively change icons of apps on your home screen, and if you get really committed to it you can basically theme your device screen this way.

With the recent release of iOS 14, home screen customization has become increasingly popular, mostly due to the fact that you can now add widgets to your home screen of iPhone. Several users are interested in replacing default app icons with custom ones to make their devices stand out. However, there’s a catch. We’re not replacing the icon for the app itself. Instead, we’re creating a shortcut that launches the installed app and adding it to the home screen to make it seem like an app with a custom icon.

Interesting in customizing your home screen with a unique set of icons? We’ve got you covered as we’ll be guiding you through the procedure to change app icons in iPadOS and iOS 14 (or later) with Shortcuts.

How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts

First of all, make sure your device is running the latest iteration of iOS/iPadOS before going ahead with the procedure. Let’s take a look at the necessary steps.

  1. Launch the “Shortcuts” app on your iPhone.

  2. Head over to the “My Shortcuts” section of the app and tap on the “+” icon at the top-right corner of your screen.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  3. Next, tap on “Add Action” to get started with a new shortcut.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  4. Now, type “Open app” in the search bar and choose the “Open App” action, as shown below.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  5. Here, tap on “Choose” to select the app that you want to launch with the shortcut. Tap on “Next” when you’re done.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  6. Give a name for your new shortcut and tap on “Done” located at the top-right corner of the menu.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  7. This should take you back to the All Shortcuts section of the app. Here, find the shortcut that you just created and tap on the triple-dot icon as shown below to get started with the customization.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  8. This will take you to the shortcut edit menu. Here, tap on the triple-dot icon located to the right of your shortcut’s name to continue.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  9. Here, tap on “Add to Home Screen” to add the shortcut to your iPhone’s home screen.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  10. Now, you’ll have the option to customize the icon for your shortcut. Tap on the icon next to your shortcut’s name and select “Choose Photo” from the dropdown menu. Find the image that you want to set as the app icon.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts
  11. Once you’ve selected your preferred image, tap on “Add” to make the changes to the shortcut’s icon on your home screen.

    How to Change App Icons in iOS 14 with Shortcuts

There you go. Now, if you go back to the home screen, you’ll find the shortcut with the custom icon.

Let’s talk about the one issue with using Shortcuts to the launch an app on your iOS device, because this may be a dealbreaker to many users. When you tap on an app launch shortcut on your home screen, it will not directly launch the app itself. Instead, it’ll open the Shortcuts app for half a second and then take you to the app. That can make the device performance feel slightly slower.

This minor delay is due to the fact that Shortcuts has to be open on your screen to be able to run the required shortcut that you have set. It’s possible that Apple will address this by allowing actions to be executed while the Shortcuts app is running in the background and directly take you to the app itself, but that isn’t possible yet.

Regardless, for those who enjoy customization, even this Shortcuts approach can be a game changer, and there are already many icon packs available like these highlighted at Dribble to customize your home screen – just be aware that many of the icon packs are charging money, so if you want a free solution you’ll have to make one yourself, search around, or get creative.

Although we were focusing primarily on the iPhones, you can follow these exact steps and use Shortcuts to customize the app launch icons on your iPad in a similar way too.

App Icon customization is just one of the many useful things that you can do with Shortcuts. For example, this app can be used as a workaround to add your Chrome bookmarks to the home screen of your iOS/iPadOS device, since only Safari supports this feature natively.

Were you able to take full advantage of the Shortcuts app to customize the app icons on your home screen? What do you think about this nifty workaround to customizing your home screen? Share your valuable thoughts and opinions in the comments!

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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

3 Comments

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  1. Jeff Siegel says:

    can you post a link to that iconset? It’s exactly what I have been looking for. tx

  2. Liz says:

    Absolutely love the shortcuts app and have set up my most used apps in it and it works perfectly and opens them really quickly and now I only have the shortcuts app on the dock and all other apps in it have been removed to just one folder on the Home Screen. Simply brilliant

  3. robertD says:

    Thanks for your tips about iOS 14. To be honest I can’t find anything useful about any of the new “features” which just seem like gimmicks to make things look different. I guess I just don’t “get it” and I can accept that but this is a really disappointing update. What iOS 14 has done is made my iPhone 6S far less useful due to rapid battery drain. Battery health is at 92% (I had a new battery put in 2 yrs ago) and it worked perfectly good on iOS 13.7. Updating was a big mistake. If Apple doesn’t fix this I will need to buy a new phone but will be reluctant to buy Apple again.

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