Use Apple Configurator to create Custom iOS App Icons
The Icon Themer shortcut has been a great tool to create custom iOS app icons directly on the iPhone and iPad running iOS 14. However, I’ve found an alternative if you prefer not to have the Icon Themer shortcut do the job. About a couple of months ago, Apple released an update to the Apple Configurator 2 tool where it included support to configure Target Apps in Web Clips configurations. This effectively lets you use Apple Configurator to create custom icons for your iPhone and iPad.
There were a lot of concerns with the security of the Icon Themer shortcut since it automatically calls out external web URLs and APIs. While most of these were unfounded, it is a valid to be concerned. The shortcut also automatically updates itself, and even if the existing version is safe, a newer version might be compromised. As such, using the Apple Configurator 2 app is a perfect alternative to the Icon Themer shortcut. Furthermore, you can also keep a copy of the configuration profile and re-install it again without needing to go through the tedious steps with Icon Themer.
How to use Apple Configurator 2 to create custom iOS app icons
Time Needed : 5 minutes
Apple Configurator 2 app is typically used to create configuration profiles that automates the set up of an Apple device. To create the custom icons, we will be using Apple Configurator 2 to create configuration profiles that installs web clips with custom icons that opens up a target app on an iOS device.
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Install Apple Configurator 2 on your Mac
Simple go to the Mac App Store, search for Apple Configurator 2 and install it. This is a free tool that Apple publishes on the Mac App Store
Create a new configuration profile
Create a new profile by going to the Apple Configurator 2’s menu, select File -> New Profile.
On the Profile configuration window, set the name with any title you prefer. This will be displayed as the name of the profile. You can also leave the Identifier as-is, or edit it as you like.
Set up the Web Clip configurations
Scroll down the configuration options and click on Web Clips. This is where you configure the web clips with your custom icons. Click on the Configure button to start
Create the web clips to the target apps
The label will show up below the custom icon on your iPhone or iPad’s home screen. You can give it any label you like. If you want it to be blank, just put a space. It has to contain a character for the profile to be a valid one.
For the URL put in a space character. Like the label, it has to contain a character.
Of course, choose the app icon you want and add it to the Web Clip configuration.
Set the Target App for the custom icon
Lastly, search and select the target app for the custom icon. You will be able to search for all the available apps published on the App Store.
Optionally, add more web clips for multiple custom icons in a single profile
If you want to have multiple custom iOS app icons in a single configuration profile, click on the + button on the top right and repeat steps 4 and 5.
This is useful to create configuration profiles with a set of custom icons. This way, you will not need to deal with too many individual configuration profiles. Instead,
Save the configuration profile and sync it over to your iPhone or iPad
At this point, the configuration profile is completed. All you need to do now is to sync it over to your iPhone or iPad. I do that by simply saving it to a location on iCloud drive, such as the Download folder, which is synced to my iPhone.
Open the configuration profile on your iPhone or iPad
On the iPhone or iPad, just tap on the configuration profile file. It will automatically load it into the Profile settings for you to install it.
Go to Profiles in Settings
Head over to Settings -> General -> Profiles to install the configuration profile.
Install the custom icon configuration profile
Don’t worry when it says that the configuration profile is not signed. Just continue to install it. Since you are the one that has created the configuration profile yourself, it is absolutely safe to install it.
Enjoy your custom iOS app icons!
That’s it. You should now see your customised iOS on the home screen.
- Apple Configurator 2
- A Mac
- An iOS device
A video walkthrough
A guide is never complete without a video walkthrough 😄
Do drop me a note on Twitter if this guide has been useful to you in creating your custom app icons. I would love to see examples of how you’ve customised your iOS 14 home screen as well.
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