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How to customize your iPhone home screen and lockscreen on iOS

By Roland Udvarlaki August 3, 2022, 9:30 am
iOS 16 lock screens and home screen setups on iPhone 12 Source: Roland Udvarlaki, Pocketnow

iOS 16 introduced a lot of new features, namely the option to customize your lock screen. Aryan, from Pocketnow, went hands-on with the latest features and explained them in detail. iPhones were never known to be customizable, but that appears to be changing slowly, as Apple introduced widgets in iOS 14, and the company is continuously adding small touches to offer even more options.

While iOS 16 adds a lot of significant enhancements and neat new features to the lock screen, there are still a lot of improvements that could be made to the home screen as it doesn’t currently offer a lot of different ways for users to customize widgets. The option to move widgets anywhere is still severely limited by Apple.


Clean up

Before we get to the customization stuff, let’s not forget that Apple now allows everyone to remove icons from their home screen. To do this, users can remove applications the same way they used to delete them. Long press on an icon, then instead of uninstalling, users can select removing from home screen.

This can clean up a lot of junk, and there’s no longer a need to place everything in a folder called Junk. The App Library makes it easy to find these applications again if you later decide you want to move some back to your home screen.

Use app icons

iOS 14 app icons by traf Source: Twitter: traf

Before we talk about app shortcuts, it’s important to note that iOS 14 added the option to add shortcuts to your home screen. These shortcuts can be customized with personalized labels and icon images, which can help replicate the look of real application icons on the home screen.

There are many free app icon packs available on the internet, and many premium ones that let you change the icon for several hundred different and popular applications. We found the App Icons as a great website to offer a lot of free icons. There are a lot of artists on Etsy that offer premium icon packs for a small price. Many artists made a fortune when the option was added in iOS 14.

Use app shortcuts

Apple Shortcuts Source: Pocketnow

Shortcuts are an excellent way to get things done faster. It lets you trigger certain actions, such as sending a message to your family or friends when you get home or get in the car after work, turn off the lights, or in this case, open an application.

Shortcuts enable you to replace your icons on the home screen, and until Apple fully allows users to customize their home screens, this will remain a viable and only solution to fully personalize your device.

Follow these steps to make a shortcut for an application:

  • Open the Shortcuts application.
  • Tap the + in the top right corner.
  • Tap on Add Action button.
  • In the pop-up menu, search for Open App.
  • On the next page, tap on the App to select the application you want to open.
  • On the bottom, select the share menu (square with the arrow pointing up) and select Add to Homescreen.
  • Change the application's name, and select the icon from your Gallery or Files app that you want to use.
  • Tap on Add in the top right corner.
  • Tap Done in the top right corner.

You can repeat the same process for all the applications you wish to add to your iOS home screen. It’s a tedious and fairly long process to do for multiple applications, but it’s currently the only way to customize your icons on iPhone.

Use widgets (iOS 14 and above)

iOS 14 added the ability to add widgets to your home screen. It finally enabled the ability to further customize the home screen of your iPhone and tablet, and it also made it easier to keep up with news, control music, and see your smart home devices. Widgets are an excellent way to gain extra information at a glance, and we strongly encourage you to use them.

There are also several applications available on the App Store that let you customize the colors, shapes, and functionality of custom widgets. Some of the best-known apps are Widgetsmith and Color Widgets, both of which offer different small, medium, and large-size photos, calendars, text, and weather information to be added to your home screen.

Follow these steps to add widgets to your home screen:

  • Long press on an empty area on the home screen until the icons start to jiggle.
  • Tap on the + icon in the top left corner.
  • Select a widget, and choose from the different widget sizes.
  • When you have selected the widget you wish to add, tap on the Add Widget button at the bottom of the page.
  • Tap Done on the top right corner.

You can follow the same steps to add widgets to the Today View, which can be found when swiping all the way to the left from the home screen.

Use widget stacks

Widget stacks were introduced in iOS 14, allowing you to stack multiple widgets on top of each other. These can be added to your home screen or Today View. You can follow the same steps as adding a new widget to your home screen to access the Smart Stack option in the widgets panel. Alternatively, you can drag and drop a widget on top of another, assuming they’re the same size.

Change your lock screen setup (iOS 16 and above)

iOS 16 lock screen customization and colors.png
iOS 16 lock screen customization options and filters
Source: Roland Udvarlaki, Pocketnow

iOS 16 added brand-new ways to further customize and personalize your iPhone. One of these is the option to change the setup of your lock screen. iOS 16 allows users to change the wallpaper, add widgets, change the font and color of the clock and date, and so much more. It’s a new and intuitive way to get the most out of your iPhone, and we’re a fan of the added options and creative ways it can be used.

Follow these steps to change your lock screen on iOS 16 and above:

  • Lock your device, then use Face ID to authenticate yourself to remove the lock.
  • Once the lock is removed, tap and hold anywhere on the lock screen to bring up the setups you may already have saved.
  • Swipe to the right and tap on the + icon to add a new setup.
  • You can select from one of the recommended setups, or use the top bar to add a new photo, people, shuffle, emoji, weather, astronomy, or color. For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll select a Suggested Photo.
  • Once selected, you can swipe to apply different filters and tap on any widget to change or replace them. You can also tap on the top date or the time to replace the font, color, or information they display.
  • Once you’ve got the setup you like, you can tap Done.
  • You’ll be asked whether you want to save the setup as Wallpaper Pair, which applies the lock screen wallpaper to the home screen. Alternatively, you can further customize the Home screen wallpaper separately.
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