How To: Always-Updated List of Apps That Let You Change Their Home Screen Icons on Your iPhone

Always-Updated List of Apps That Let You Change Their Home Screen Icons on Your iPhone

Apple's Shortcuts app lets you make and use custom icons for any app on your iPhone or iPad, but it won't actually replace any icons. If your goal is to change the official icon for the app itself without any redirects, it's possible, but only for some third-party apps found in the App Store.

While the Shortcuts option works well and gives you complete control over an icon's design, the custom icons you make are just shortcuts to the real apps you've (hopefully) hidden from your Home Screen. That clutters your list of shortcuts and gives you duplicate entries for the app in your App Library.

Jump to a List:

User-Selectable App Icons

To make an app's icon different than its official one, the developer must include the functionality directly in the app using the setAlternateIconName method. The built-in alternative designs are called user-selectable app icons, and they've been available to developers since March 2017 with the introduction of iOS 10.3.

Many developers will avoid implementing user-selectable app icons since each alternative app icon must abide by the same rules that the primary icon has to follow. Each replacement icon needs a collection of images in varying sizes to appear correctly throughout the system — on the Home Screen and in the App Library, Spotlight, Settings, Notifications Center, etc.

For apps that include alternative app icon designs and themes, you're the only one who can change their icons on your device. Each time you do, iOS or iPadOS will confirm the change. However, some developers have found ways to bypass the requirement. For example, when you apply a new theme in SwiftScan, the app's icon will follow the theme's colors, but no icon change confirmation appears.

Confirmation examples in CARROT (left), Working Copy (middle), and NHL (right).

The extra work involved for user-selectable icons means that few apps include them. For many of the ones that do, new icons are locked behind paywalls (in-app purchases, revolving subscriptions) to help compensate for the additional labor. However, some apps do have free substitute app icons, while others offer free and paid options.

How to Change Your App Icons

While the list of apps that allow you to change their icons is relatively small, developers can implement the option in any of the following ways.

  • Change via an in-app settings menu
  • Change via preferences in the Settings app
  • Change via quick actions on the Home Screen or App Library (by long-pressing the app icon)

Developers can also get creative with how they implement icon changes. For example, the preferences could be hidden behind a secret menu or unlocked after moving the device in a certain way.

Most apps will use in-app settings menus, but occasionally you'll see a different implementation. As you can see below, MyLight's option is in the Settings app, and HQ once had it tucked away in the quick actions on the Home Screen.

Cake's in-app settings (left); MyLight's iOS settings (middle); HQ's quick actions (right).

Every iOS App with User-Selectable App Icons

The lists below are short, but we're continually finding apps that offer user-selectable app icons. Plus, you can help! Let us know if we're missing any apps, and we'll confirm and add them.

Totally Free

Free Apps with Free and Paid Icons

  • Bear - Markdown Notes — via in-app Themes menu (there are 7 free icons; need to pay $19.99/year for a Premium subscription or $39.99/year for an Ultra subscription)
  • BuzzFeed - Quiz, Trivia & News — via in-app Settings menu (there are 3 free icons; need to pay $2.99/month for a BuzzFeed+ subscription to get the rest)
  • CARROT Weather: Alerts & Radar — via in-app Settings menu (there are 3 free icons; need to pay $1.49/month or $14.99/year for a Pro subscription to get the rest)
  • Pocket Casts — via in-app Appearance menu (there are 8 free icons; need to pay $0.99/month or $9.99/year for a Plus subscription to get the rest)
  • PCalc Lite — via in-app Settings menu (there are 2 free icons; need to pay a $0.99, $1.99, $4.99, or $9.99 tip or switch to the full app for $9.99 to get the rest)
  • Reddit — via in-app Settings menu (some are free for a limited time; need to pay $6.99/month or $59.99/year for a Premium subscription to get the rest)
  • TickTick:To-Do List & Calendar — via in-app Appearance menu (there are 2 free icons; need to pay $2.99/month or $27.99/year for a Premium subscription to get the rest)
  • Working Copy - Git client — via in-app Settings menu (there are 2 free icons; need to pay $19.99 for the Pro version to get the rest)
  • YNAB (You Need A Budget) — via in-app Settings menu (all icons are free when on a free trial; need to pay for a $14.99/month or $98.99/year subscription afterward to use the app)

Free Apps with Paid Icons Only

  • Anybuffer — via in-app Settings menu (need to pay $4.99, $6.99, or $9.99 for the Pro version)
  • Apollo for Reddit — via in-app Settings menu (need to pay $4.99 for the Pro version; $4.99 to unlock community icons; $4.99 to unlock the SPCA icon; and/or $0.99/month, $9.99/year, or $39.99 once for Ultra subscription and icons)
  • Drafts — via in-app Theme Selection menu in the Editor settings (need to pay $1.99/month or $19.99/year for a Pro subscription)
  • Fiery Feeds: RSS Reader— via in-app Appearance menu (need to pay $1.99/month or $14.99/year for a Pro subscription)
  • GameTrack — via in-app Settings menu (need to pay $0.99/month, $7.99/year, or $40.99 once for a GameTrack+ subscription)
  • Hello Weather — via in-app Settings menu (need to pay $1.99/month, $12.99/year, or $44.99 once for a Pro subscription)
  • Overcast — via in-app Premium menu (need to pay $9.99/year for a Premium subscription)
  • SwiftScan - Document Scanner — via in-app Settings menu (need to pay $7.99/month, $39.99/year, or $199.99 once for a VIP subscription)
  • Tinder — via in-app Settings menu (need to pay for a one-month, six-month, or yearly premium Gold, Platinum, or Select subscription)
  • Tweetbot for Twitter — via in-app Settings menu (need to pay $0.99/month or $5.99/year)
  • Twitter — via in-app Feature Settings menu in the Twitter Blue settings (need to pay $2.99/month for a Twitter Blue subscription)

Paid Apps

Etsy's are all free (left); Reddit's are free and paid (middle); SwiftScan's are all paid and change with the theme (right).

Combined List

Apps That Used to Have Icons but Don't Anymore

When we hear or see a new app that offers user-selectable app icons, we'll be sure to add it to the list above. So make sure to bookmark this page and keep checking back to see how you can add a little Home Screen customization to your iPhone or iPad without any jailbreaks or elaborate hacks.

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Cover photo by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks; screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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13 Comments

Cake Browser lets you

Wordpress allows you a couple different app icons including a pride one for free

Outlook Email

YNAB as of a few days ago

Few missing that I know of : Actions, Timepage, GoodTask, Drafts, HEY , Twitter , Telegram

Nice! Thanks for sharing. I've just added them all.

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