How to Customize Your iPhone Home Screen with Widgets and App Icons

Even though everyone has an iPhone, you can still make yours stand out from the crowd. We’ll show you how to customize your iPhone’s home screen with widgets and unique app icons so that it truly reflects your style.

For the first time ever, iOS 14 made it possible to add widgets to an iPhone’s home screen. A widget is a light version of an app that displays information and allows you to interact directly on the home screen. With the release of iOS 16, you can even add widgets to your lock screen.

You can customize your iPhone’s home screen with widgets for almost any Apple app and a growing selection of third-party apps. To add one:

  1. Tap and hold in an empty space on your iPhone’s home screen to enter shake mode.
  2. In the top corner, tap the Add (+) icon to view your available widgets. Search or scroll through the selection to find the widget you want.
  3. After selecting a widget, swipe left and right to view different versions of it, then tap Add widget.
  4. Drag and drop to move the widget around your home screen just like any other app. You can even drop it on another widget of the same size to create a widget stack.
  5. Tap Done or click the Home button to exit shake mode.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our roundup of the best iOS widgets.

Resize your widgets

Most iPhone widgets come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. To change the size of an iPhone widget, you need to remove it from your home screen and then add it back in a different size.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Tap and hold in an empty space on the home screen to enter shake mode.
  2. Press minus (–) icon on a widget and confirm you want it remove the. You can also tap and hold a widget and then tap Remove widget from the quick action menu.
  3. Finally, tap the Add (+) icon to re-add the widget in a different size.
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Adjust widget settings

Many iPhone widgets let you tweak some basic settings to change the way they work. This may mean changing the location shown in the Weather widget or changing the list shown in the Reminders widget.

If you create a widget stack, you can also enable Smart Rotate or edit the arrangement of widgets in the stack. You can change them as follows:

  1. Tap and hold a widget until a quick action menu appears.
  2. choose to Edit widget or, if available, Edit stack.
  3. Change the relevant settings and return to the home screen. For a widget stack, tap a widget to view its settings or drag it to reorder.

Hide apps from your iPhone’s home screen

Apple has also made it possible to hide apps from your home screen with the release of iOS 14. This means you can personalize your home screen layout by including only the most important apps. Here’s how:

  1. Tap and hold an app until a quick action menu appears.
  2. choose to Delete App.
  3. Then choose Remove from home screen.

When you delete an app from the home screen, it goes to the app library. This means that it will remain on your iPhone despite disappearing from the home screen. If you choose to Delete App instead, it disappears completely from your iPhone.

To view the app library, swipe to the right, past your last home screen. You should automatically find every app on your iPhone categorized into smart folders. You can also tap the search bar to search for an app or view them all in an alphabetical list.

Hide entire home screens

Instead of sending each app individually to the app library, you can also choose to hide entire home screens on your iPhone. When you do this, your iPhone saves the home screen layout so you can easily bring it back if you ever change your mind.

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Here’s how to hide or change the home screen layouts:

  1. Tap and hold in an empty space on the home screen to enter shake mode.
  2. Press Points on the home screen at the bottom of the screen. You should see a zoomed out view of all your iPhone home screens.
  3. Tap the check marks to select or deselect each home screen and choose whether to hide it or not.

Since the launch of iOS 14, we’ve seen a lot of stylized iPhone home screens that use custom widgets and iOS app icon packs to create an inventive new look. Creating a custom home screen like this can be a time-consuming undertaking, but it pays off in style.

Create custom widgets for iPhone

There is a range of apps available in the iOS App Store that serve no other purpose than letting you create custom widgets. You can use them to choose color schemes, icons and widget sizes.

Most of these apps are initially free to download, but offer in-app purchases or subscriptions to unlock more customization options. By far the most popular widget customization app is Widgetsmith.

Here’s how to use it to create custom widgets on your iPhone’s home screen:

  1. Open Widgetsmith and tap a small, medium, or large widget to edit it.
  2. Scroll through the widget to choose the type of widget you want to create. There are options that cover everything from photos to astronomy.
  3. After choosing a widget type, use Theme and other tabs that appear to customize other aspects of your widget.
  4. When you are done customizing the widget, tap Save.
  5. To add Widgetsmith widgets to your home screen, go to shuffle mode and tap the Add (+) button, then search for Widgetsmith. Choose the widget size for which you created a widget.
  6. After adding a generic Widgetsmith widget to your iPhone, press and hold to Edit widgetand then choose your custom widget from the drop-down menu.

Create custom app icons

While you may have seen what look like custom app icons on the home screen of someone else’s iPhone, these are really just shortcuts for those apps, created using the Shortcuts app. When you do this, you can choose your own icon and name for the shortcut before adding it to your home screen.

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The end result is a custom shortcut that looks like an app.

You must first design or download the app icons that you want to use and save them to your iPhone. Of course, custom app icon design can be incredibly difficult, so we suggest looking for pre-made icon packs to download instead.

When you use a shortcut to open an app in this way, it adds a noticeable delay to apps opening as each app has to be launched via the Shortcuts app first.

If you still want to customize your app icons on iPhone, here’s how:

  1. Download or create the app icon you want to use.
  2. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
  3. Press Add (+) to create a new shortcut.
  4. Tap Add action and look for the Open app action, then tap app and select the app you want to open.
  5. Use the i to open the menu, then tap Add to home screen.
  6. Tap the app icon and use the pop-up menu to select the custom icon you want to use in the Files or Photos app on your iPhone.
  7. Give your shortcut the name of the app, then tap To add to add it to your home screen. You can move it around the home screen just like any other app.
  8. Repeat this process and create a new shortcut for each app you want to customize.

Find even more ways to customize your iPhone

Customizing the home screen is just the first step to personalizing your iPhone. To make a truly unique device, you should also change the wallpaper, choose your own ringtone and buy a case to make sure your iPhone is as stylish as possible.

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