How to Change App Icon on iPhone or iPad


At some point we’ve all wanted to change at least one of the app icons on our iPhone or iPad to something else. Maybe you’ve even wanted to give some of your app icons a theme, like super heroes. While it does require jumping through some hoops, Apple does make it possible for you to change the app icons on your iPhone or iPad. The only caveat is that this will create a shortcut version of the original app, and the original app will still be on your home screen. So if you do this and you want to keep your home screen as clean as possible, you may want to create a folder where you store all of the original apps to keep them out of sight and out of the way. Examples of all instructions in the steps can be seen in the YouTube video below.

YouTube player

Steps to Change App Icon on iPhone or iPad

  1. Navigate to your iPhone or iPad home screen, and then swipe right to access the Search screen.
  2. Search for the Shortcuts app, and then tap to launch the Shortcuts app.
  3. Tap the “Plus” icon at the top of the screen to create a new shortcut.
  4. Tap “Add Action.” The Add Action window pops up.
  5. Search for “Open App,” and then tap “Open App” in the list of actions that are returned. You’ll return to the New Shortcut screen where you’ll see the Open App action has been added.
  6. Tap “Choose” to bring up a list of apps you can open with this shortcut, and then tap the app you want to change the app icon for. In this example I’ll choose Angry Birds.
  7. Tap the ellipses located at the top of the screen to access the Details screen.
  8. Enter a name for your new app shortcut you can use to identify it in the Shortcuts app. Note that this won’t be the name for your shortcut app, and we’ll do that in the next step. Tap “Add to Home Screen.”
  9. Navigate to the Home Screen Name and Icon section, and first change the name of the app shortcut you want to be displayed with it on the home screen. In this example I’ll name the app Angry Birds. Now, tap the app icon to bring up a menu, and then tap “Choose Photo” or “Choose File” in the menu to navigate to where you have the image you want to use as the app icon. In this example I’ll tap “Choose Photo.”
  10. Select the image you want to use as your app icon, crop the image if necessary, and then tap “Choose.” You’ll see a preview of your new app icon.
  11. Tap “Add.” You’ll be routed back to the Details screen. Tap “Done.” You’ll see an on-screen note that your shortcut has been added to your iPhone or iPad home screen. You can navigate to your home screen to confirm your app with the custom icon has been added.

As a reminder, the original app will still be on your home screen in its original location. To keep your home screen as clean as possible you may want to create a folder for any of the original version of the apps you create shortcut apps for with a custom icon.

Reasons to Consider Changing the App Icon on Your iPhone or iPad

1. Personalization

Changing app icons enables individuals to create a truly unique iPhone or iPad experience. By doing so, they showcase their personality, tastes, or interests. Custom icons allow users to break free from the default look provided by the device manufacturer. As a result, users enjoy a tailored experience that sets their devices apart from others. The personalization of app icons often reflects the user’s hobbies, favorite colors, or inspirations.

2. Aesthetic Appeal

A cohesive home screen enhances the visual appeal of a device. Users often modify app icons to match a specific theme or color scheme. By doing this, they create a harmonious and visually pleasing layout. Aligning iPhone or iPad app icons with a particular design concept elevates the overall appearance of the device. Users find satisfaction in creating a beautiful, well-organized screen that stands out and pleases the eye.

3. Improved Organization

Users with numerous apps on their devices benefit from custom icons for easier app identification. Changing app icons enables better organization, making it simpler to locate specific apps quickly. For instance, users may choose icons that represent an app’s function or content, making them more intuitive. This streamlined organization reduces the time spent searching for apps and boosts overall efficiency.

4. Accessibility

Custom app icons cater to the needs of users with visual impairments or specific requirements. For instance, larger or high-contrast icons aid in distinguishing apps and navigating devices more easily. By modifying iPhone or iPad app icons, users can create a more accessible environment tailored to their needs. Consequently, this customization helps ensure that technology remains inclusive and user-friendly for everyone.

5. Branding

Developers and businesses occasionally update their app icons to align with new branding strategies. A fresh icon can signify a revamped logo, product launch, or company rebranding. This change helps maintain consistency across all platforms and reinforces brand recognition. A modernized app icon can also pique users’ interest, encouraging them to explore the updated app or newly launched product.

6. Seasonal or Holiday Themes

App icons reflecting holidays, seasons, or special events add a festive touch to users’ devices. By customizing icons to celebrate occasions like Christmas, Halloween, or Valentine’s Day, users bring a sense of fun and spirit to their home screens. This seasonal customization allows users to express their enthusiasm for specific events and immerse themselves in the festivities.

7. Nostalgia

Some users desire the appearance of older app icons or designs from earlier iOS versions. Customizing iPhone or iPad icons to resemble previous designs evokes a sense of nostalgia, reminding users of past experiences or devices. This throwback approach allows users to relive memories associated with older designs while still enjoying the benefits of newer technology.

8. Hiding Apps

Users may opt to change app icons to make certain apps less noticeable or hidden. Privacy concerns or the desire to limit usage can drive this customization. By altering the icon, users can disguise apps, making them harder for others to identify. This strategy offers a subtle way to maintain control over one’s device and its contents.

About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you click one of the product links I may receive a small commission. This helps support my content, and enables me to continue creating content like this. Thank you for the support!