Using the Icon Themer shortcut to create custom iOS app icons
With iOS 14, you can now add Widgets on the Home Screen. This new capability however has inspired a lot of creative minds to fully customise the iPhone home screens. Not only are widgets used, matching custom iOS app icons are also added to create a seamless theme!
The most common approach to create custom iOS app icons has been to just use the Shortcuts app to create a shortcut that opens the target app. However, this approach will first open up the shortcut app before opening the app you want.
I’ve recently stumbled upon a different way to do this that would just open the target app! And I must say the creator of this approach is real smart cookie. Read on and find out more!
Creating custom iOS app icons with Icon Themer
Icon Themer is a custom shortcut that would run through the necessary steps to create a custom “app” that would load the target app on your iPhone and also any iOS devices for that matter. As you read from its descriptions below, this works best with iOS 14 but would still work on iOS 13.
If you don’t want to read the step-by-step guide, you can just check out the full video here. Otherwise, read on for the details of the steps.
Step 1: Allow Untrusted Shortcuts
To install the shortcut, you will need to first allow the use of untrusted shortcuts on your iPhone.
The video below shows how to set the Allow Untrusted Shortcuts setting on iOS 14.
Step 2: Add the Icon Themer Shortcut
Adding the Icon Themer shortcut is pretty simple. Just open your camera app and scan the QR code on the Icon Themer page (https://routinehub.co/shortcut/6565/) on RoutineHub. Alternatively, you can also just open up this link on your iPhone browser.
The video below will walk you through the whole process.
Only one key thing to note. As you’ve seen in the video above, it will ask which country’s App Store you would like to set up the shortcut for. By default, it would select the country as set in the regional settings. This is important as the shortcut will search for apps that are listed in that country’s App Store. This is generally not a problem but if you want to target apps that are only listed in a specific country, you will need to make sure the shortcut is set to that country as well.
Once done, you will see the Icon Themer shortcut listed on your iPhone. Now you are ready to create custom iOS app icons on your iPhone.
Step 3: Go forth and create custom iOS app icons!
Firstly, I would assume that you already have the set of app icons. If not, icons8 is a great place to find some good app icon designs to use. For this article, I’ve download one of the icons as an example to use.
The steps are pretty straightforward. There are some key items to take note of which I describe below.
This step to search of the app is self descriptive. Just a note as I’ve mentioned earlier, if you can’t find the app you want to target, it might be because its not listed in the country that was set for the Icon Themer shortcut. You could add another copy of the shortcut that is set to the country where the app is listed.
Here’s where you would select the custom icon you want to use.
By default the actual name of the app is used here. You can rename it to anything you want. But if you want to use a blank name, use a single space. It has to at least a single character for the icon label. If you don’t, the installation of the profile will fail.
The final step would be to install the profile. You will find that in the Settings app under General -> Profiles. After installing the profile, the custom app icon launcher will be on your iPhone’s Home Screen!
Here is a complete walkthrough in a video of the whole process.
A final note
If you install multiple custom iOS app icons, you will find that each one will list as its own profile in the Profiles settings.
And this can be confusing when you want to completely delete those icons. One tip is to basically take note of the id of the profile and note it down somewhere so you can remember which id corresponds to which icon. There is no way to rename the profile’s name at this point. This note that I strikethrough is no longer valid! Read on below and see what’s new now with the latest version of Icon Themer.
Updated again: The creator of the Icon Themer shortcut is actively updating the shortcut. With the latest update 0.4.4, the shortcut now uses the App name for the profile! This makes it really easy to delete the right profile when you want to.
Update: I missed out the fact that I could click on to the details of each profile and see what the specific profile was for. See the screenshot below. It shows that the profile is a Web Clip with the iOS App URL scheme of the target app.
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