If you are tired of seeing the same old app icons on the home screen of your iPhone or iPad, you can customize their appearance by creating new ones and replacing them. The trick is possible using Apple's Shortcuts app, which lets you use any image as an icon.
How does it work?
At this time, it is not possible to actually replace the application icon on an iPhone or iPad. Instead, you can achieve a similar result using the Shortcuts application. We will create a custom shortcut that will open an application and then use a custom image as an icon on the home screen.
This technique was made possible by the introduction of shortcuts in iOS 12, but became popular after the release of iOS 14, which allows you to officially hide the home screen icons in the App Library.
IPhone owners who use iOS 12 or iOS 13 - or iPad owners with iPadOS 12 or 13 - can do the same trick and place the original icons they do not want to see in folders.
Prepare the image that will become your new icon
Before we get started, you need to decide which application icon to replace with and you need to locate or create the image you want to replace it with.
The ideal replacement icon should be a perfect square image of about 512 x 512 pixels, although you will be able to crop any image into a square in the next steps.
"Replace" iPhone and iPad app icons with custom designs
First, open the "Shortcuts" application. If you do not see it on the Home screen, swipe down in the center of your screen to open Spotlight Search. Type "Shortcuts" in search bar that appears, then tap the “Shortcuts” icon.
In the Shortcuts application, if you see the "Shortcuts" overview screen, tap the "My Shortcuts" tab, then select "All Shortcuts".
On the "All Shortcuts" page, press the "+" button.
Then you will see a "New Shortcut" page where you add them steps. We are going to add a single step that opens an application. Click the "Add Action" button.
When the action panel appears, select the "Scripting" option.
In the "Scripting" panel, select "Open App".
Return to the new shortcut page, locate the "Open App" action panel. Click "Choose".
In the "Choose App" box that appears, select the search bar and enter the name of the application you want to launch when you click the custom icon. Then tap the application name in the list of results. You can choose any application on your iPhone or iPad.
Then press the three-dot menu button in the upper right corner. On an iPad, these dots are at the top screen next to the name "New Shortcut".
A "Details" box will appear. First, click "Shortcut Name" and name the shortcut whatever you want, so that it is highlighted correctly in the Shortcuts application. Then tap "Add to Home Screen."
In the table that appears, locate the "Home Screen Name and Icon" section. Select the icon to the left of "New Shortcut".
In the context menu that appears, select "Choose Photo".
Using the photo selection panel that appears, locate and select the photo in library you want to use as the new custom application icon. Once you have selected it, you will have the opportunity to crop it to fit the square footage of a typical application icon.
After that, click on "New Shortcut". Enter the label you want to use for the icon in home screen your. Ideally, this would be the name of the application icon you are replacing, such as "Safari" or "Mail".
Finally, click the "Add" button and your shortcut will be added to your home screen.
Once the custom icon is on your Home screen, you can move the app icon wherever you want, including the Dock. To run the application, tap the shortcut icon you just created.
If you want to hide the app's original icon (and running iOS 14 or later), enter Jiggle mode and by tapping and holding on an empty area of the home screen, move the icon to the App Library.