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Why You Should Customize the Apps and Widgets on Your iPhone Home Screen

Make your iPhone your own.

customized apps on an iPhone
It's fairly simple to change the appearance of your iPhone app icons.
Angela Lang/CNET

This story is part of 12 Days of Tips, helping you make the most of your tech, home and health during the holiday season.

The background wallpaper isn't the only way that you can personalize your iPhone's home screen.

Thanks to a built-in application, as well as a third-party one that you can download for free from the App Store, you can pretty easily create themes for your home screen, allowing you to create your own unique app icons and widgets.

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If you really want to make your iPhone your own, you'll want to read on to learn how to customize your home screen.

For more about personalizing your iPhone, check out the best iPhone cases in 2022 and how to get rid of some of the most annoying features on iOS 16.

How to change your app icons on your iPhone

The applications that live on the home screen have their own logos, but you can use a native iOS feature to change the look of any app icon:

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone (it's already preinstalled).
  2. Tap the plus icon in the top right corner.
  3. Select Add Action.
  4. In the search bar, type Open app and select the Open App action.
  5. Next, tap App and select the app you want to customize.
  6. Then tap the downward-facing arrow next to Open App at the top.
  7. From the menu, tap Add to Home Screen.
  8. Where it says Home Screen Name and Icon, rename the shortcut to anything you'd like.
  9. Next, go into your web browser of choice and find a new icon image. You can search for something like "Facebook icon aesthetic." When you find an image you like, save it to your photos.
  10. Go back to the Shortcuts app and tap the icon under Home Screen Name and Icon. Select Choose Photo and tap on the image you just saved. You can zoom in or out on the image. Tap Choose.
  11. Finally, hit Add

Now you have a customized app on your phone (it's actually a bookmark). You can delete the original app from your home screen, but you'll easily be able to find it in your App Library.

There's really no better way to personalize your iPhone than with a colorful phone case. FireNova has a silicone case in a variety of colors -- sky blue, midnight green and teal -- for the iPhone 14.

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You're receiving price alerts for FireNova for iPhone 14 Case, Silicone Upgraded [Camera Protection] Phone Case with [2 Screen Protectors], Soft Anti-Scratch Microfiber Lining Inside, 6.1 inch, Blue

Customize the widgets on your iPhone home screen

Apps aren't the only think you can customize. With the help of this third-party app, you can also add a little flavor to your widgets:

  1. Download the Widgetsmith app on your iPhone.
  2. In the app, select the size of the widget you'd like to customize -- your options are small, medium and large.
  3. Tap the widget to customize it. You can change the font and colors. Go back once you're done and tap Save.
  4. Go to your home screen and hold and press down anywhere on the screen.
  5. Once you're in edit mode, tap the plus icon in the top left corner and search for Widgetsmith. Tap the icon.
  6. Select the widget size you'd like to add to your home screen and tap Add Widget.
  7. You can change the widget by pressing down on the app and selecting Edit Widget. That's all! Now your home screen has different-size icons for a customized look. 

You can create widgets for certain features and applications, including photos, time, date, Weather (paid), Health, battery, Calendar, Reminders, tides (paid), and astronomy.

Now playing: Watch this: iOS 16: Powerful Features You May Have Missed