How to Customize an iPhone's Home Screen

Learn how to add custom widgets and change app icons.

What to Know

  • Open Shortcuts > tap plus (+) > Add action. Search for Open App > Open App > tap App > select app.
  • Next, in Open App field, enter name. Change color and icon > Done > Add to Home Screen > Add.
  • Create custom widgets: Download and install third-party apps available on the App Store.

This article explains how to use icons and custom widgets to make your home screen more eye-catching. Instructions apply to iPhones running iOS 14 and later.

How Do I Customize Icons on my iPhone's Home Screen?

When you create a shortcut to an app, you can give the shortcut a unique name and icon. Download icon images or icon packs and place them in Photos. You can also use any photo you have in the gallery as an icon’s image. Then, start customizing your home screen with these steps.

  1. From the home screen, open the Shortcuts app.

  2. Select Add (+) to create a new shortcut.

  3. Select Add Action.

    Opening Shortcuts app and adding shortcut.
  4. Search for Open App and select Open App.

  5. Tap App and select the app you want to open.

    Open App action in shortcuts
  6. At the top of the screen, tap in the Open App field to change the name of the new shortcut. You can also tap the icon to change the color or choose a different icon (glyph). Select Done to save your changes.

    Changing shortcut name and icon
  7. In the upper-right corner, select the three dots.

  8. On the Details screen, select Add to Home Screen and preview the screen name and icon. Tap Add.

    Selecting three dots > Add to Home Screen > Add
  9. The custom icon is now on your home screen and it will behave like any other app icon. To remove the icon, long press it and select Delete Bookmark from the menu.

How Do I Customize My iPhone Widgets?

iOS 14 allows you to add widgets for almost any iPhone app and display its information on the home screen. Also, you can group iPhone widgets into neat Smart Stacks to customize your iPhone home screen and glance at the most important information throughout the day.  

However, unlike icons, you cannot directly change the appearance of a widget. For instance, you may want to match the look of the widgets to the wallpaper and icons and create a consistent home screen. But there are several widget apps on the App Store that can help you design your widgets and choose the information they will show. 

How Do I Add Custom Widgets to My Home Screen?

An iPhone widget helps you see valuable information immediately without opening the app. Then, a custom widget allows you to add your own spin to how it looks. Widgetsmith is one of the most popular custom widget apps on the App Store, and we will use it to do this walkthrough.

  1. Select the size of the widget. You can choose from Small Widget, Medium Widget, and Large Widget

  2. Select the Default Widget and go through the different Styles. You can choose between assorted styles of the time, date, weather, photos, calendars, and more.


    For each type, you can also select the Default Widget or a Timed Widget. The latter replaces the default widget at a specific time. For instance, you can schedule upcoming calendar events to appear on the home screen only during the day. 

    Widgetsmith in iOS
  3. Use the series of menus below the Style to choose the Theme.  

  4. You can save the widget with this theme or customize it more with Font, Tint Color, Background Color, and Border Color, and Artwork.

  5. To save the theme, go back to the previous screen (select the arrow on the upper left corner) and select Save. To customize the theme further, tap Customize Theme.

    Widgetsmith customization in iOS
  6. When you get the exact look, go back to the previous screen to rename and save it.

  7. Add a Widgetsmith widget to the home screen the same way you'd add any other widget. Select an empty area on the home screen and long press to enter the jiggle mode. Then, use the Add (+) button to add the generic Widgetsmith widget. Tap and hold to Edit Widget. Choose your custom widget from the dropdown menu.

    Placing the Widgetsmith custom widget on the iOS home screen
  • How do I customize the lock screen on my iPhone?

    Just like the home screen, you can customize your iPhone's lock screen appearance. Go to Settings > Wallpaper > Choose New Wallpaper and choose a background for your iPhone lock screen.

  • How do I customize my Control Center?

    You can customize the Control Center to add and organize controls. First, go to Settings > Control Center. Then, tap the Insert button to add or remove controls or tap Reorder to drag a control to a new position.

Was this page helpful?