Add photo speed-dial icons to your iPhone Home screen

Great idea, poor execution. Custom Dial 6 is a bargain at 99 cents, but for now it's too buggy and limited to be of much value.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Custom Dial 6 adds up to six photo-enhanced speed-dial icons to your Home Screen.
Custom Dial 6 adds up to six photo-enhanced speed-dial icons to your Home Screen. Nuvus Technology

Over the years I've seen various hacks and apps that let you add speed-dial icons to your iPhone's Home screen. But not many of them let you customize those icons to include photos.

Custom Dial 6 does exactly that, giving you six quick-dial icons with the photos of your choice. Unfortunately, the end result is disappointing.

It's easy enough to set up your icons: just tap one of the six numbered slots, then tap the photo icon to choose an image from your collection. Alas, the app doesn't allow you to snap a new photo on the spot, a feature that could easily have been included.

Sometimes, tapping a desired photo took me to a "move and scale" screen; other times it didn't. And for each and every photo I selected, the resulting thumbnail looked squashed. There's simply no excuse for that.

After you've chosen a photo, you type in a title for the icon (usually the person's name) and a phone number. Custom Dial doesn't tie to your address book, though, so you can't choose a number from it.

Finally, you tap Create Custom Icon, which drops you out of the Custom Dial app and into Safari, where you tap the + sign and add the page to your Home screen.

Presto! Now you've got a speed-dial icon adorned with the person's picture. Tap it and...wait several seconds while Safari pops up again, the screen goes blank, and then the phone finally dials the number. Weird, but it works.

Ultimately, I can't recommend Custom Dial 6--not until the developer solves the issue with the squashed thumbnails. Hopefully an upcoming update (which I'm told will raise the curious 6-icon limit to 30) will address that and other irksome bugs.

Update: The developer has informed me that the app now supports 30 dialers and no longer exhibits the aspect-ratio glitch. It's still not perfect, but at least worth checking out now.