How to Customize iOS 14

Make your phone's home screen uniquely yours

What to Know

  • Thanks iOS 14 capabilities, you can really customize your iPhone home screen to create an 'aesthetic' that reflects your style.
  • You can add custom widgets and app icons using third-party apps or the Shortcuts app in iOS 14 instead of downloading themes.

The article includes instructions for creating an 'aesthetic' or custom iPhone Home screen, including adding widgets, adding customized icons, and changing the background to reflect your style.

How to Change Your iPhone Background

The place to start when you're ready to create your custom iPhone aesthetic is with the background. This is the anchor for all that you'll do with your screen appearance, so choose the one which appeals to you most. Once you've decided on the image you want to use, follow these instructions to change your iPhone wallpaper. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep the wall paper simple. A busy wallpaper will make it hard to see your icons in most cases.
  • Choose something with muted colors. You could go all bright and wild, but again, you may find that your icons get lost in the design.
  • Choose something that really appeals to you. You could go minimalist and choose a solid color, or you might have a favorite image of a place or person you want to use. What's most important is that it's an image that appeals to you.

How to Add Widgets to the iOS 14 Home Screen

The real cornerstone of the iPhone aesthetic movement is the ability to add customized widgets to your Home screen. iOS 14 has a number of pre-made widgets you can add to your screen available, but what you really want are customized ones that match your wallpaper, and the best way to get those is with a third-party application. In our example below, we're going to use the app like Widgetsmith. The app is created by a very reputable developer and the app itself is very flexible. There will likely be other apps like Widgetsmith as time goes on, but you'll have to read the reviews to make sure it's the kind of app you want to use. For now, Widgetsmith is a great place to start.

Once you've downloaded and installed Widgetsmith, here's how to create custom widgets using Widgetsmith.

  1. Open the app and tap Add Small Widget, Add Medium Widget, or Add Large Widget. This example uses Add Small Widget.

  2. A new widget appears. Tap that widget to customize it.

  3. On the next screen, tap Default Widget or Add a Timed Widget. The timed widget option lets you add widgets like countdowns. For this example, Default Widget is the option used.

    Screenshots showing how to add a new widget in Widgetsmith.
  4. Scroll through the list of available widgets to choose the one you want to customize. When you find the right widget, tap it to select it. In this example, Custom Text is the select widget.

  5. Next tap the Aesthetic/Theme tab in the lower part of the screen to review available themes for your widget.

  6. When you find the one you want, tap to select it. This example uses the Relay theme.

    Screenshots of customizing a widget on the Widgetsmith app.
  7. Once you've selected your theme, tap Customize Theme to change the Font, the Tint Color (text color), Background Color, the Border Color, and the Artwork (border art) for the widget. On each tab, make your selection and then tap the tab below it to continue through the customizations.

  8. Once you've made all your selections, tap Save in the upper right corner.

    If you want to change something, or you're not happy with the widget that you've created, you can tap Reset to reset all the options back to default, or Cancel to cancel completely out of the widget you're creating and start back over from the beginning.

  9. You'll be prompted to decide how you want to use these settings. Click Apply to This Widget Only to apply the settings only to the widget you are creating or Update Theme Everywhere to apply to other widgets you've already created in addition to the new one you're creating.

    Screenshots of customizing a widget in Widgetsmith.
  10. You're returned to the previous screen. Tap the Text tab.

  11. This opens a text box where you can type your custom text for the widget. Once you've entered your text, tap the widget name (Small #2 in this example) in the upper left corner to return to the starting page for this widget.

  12. At the top of the screen tap Tap to Rename.

    Screenshots of finalizing a custom text widget in the Widgetsmith app.
  13. The title opens for editing, so you can type a new name that you'll recognize.

  14. When you're done, tap Save.

  15. You're returned to the main Widgetsmith page where you'll see the new widget.

    Screenshots of finalizing a custom text widget in the Widgetsmith app.

Adding the Custom Widgetsmith Widget to Your Home Screen

Once you've created the custom widget, now you need to add it to your Home screen. Widgetsmith widgets work a little differently from the widgets that are already available on your iOS device.

  1. Long press on an open spot on your Home screen until the apps start to jiggle.

  2. Press the + (plus) button to add a widget.

  3. Search for and select Widgetsmith.

  4. Select the size widget you have customized and tap Add Widget.

  5. Once the widget is placed on your screen, tap it and select the name of your custom widget from the list that appears.

    Screenshots of adding a Widgetsmith widget to the iPhone Home screen.

Once you have the desired widget on the screen, you can move it around just as you do any other widget.

Add Custom App Icons to Your Aesthetic

Part of what makes the aesthetic capabilities of iOS so much fun is that you can also add custom app icons to your home screen that match your background and widgets. Follow this guide to creating and adding custom app icons or this guide to creating custom colored app icons.

Once you've added your app icons in combination with your custom widgets and your personal background, you'll have an aesthetic to be proud of (and one that reflects your unique personality).

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