How To: Customize iOS App Icons Without Jailbreaking Your iPhone

Customize iOS App Icons Without Jailbreaking Your iPhone

Apple sells more iPhones than there are babies born in the world. In fact, they've done so in at least four financial quarters over the last 18 months. Last year alone, they sold over 125 million iPhones, just under the 135 million estimate of child births globally.

While extremely popular, the one major drawback of an iPhone is its heavily guarded OS and lack of customization. You can always jailbreak your iPhone, a process which has steadily become much easier over time. Still, only 10 percent of iPhone owners actually opt to do this in fear of voiding the warranty and potentially ruining there phone.

Image via

However, there are things a non-jailbreaker can do to customize his or her iPhone, like change the carrier name and logo, hide the Newsstand app, or hide all of Apple's stock apps. You can also personalize all of your app icons, which is exactly what I'm going to show here.

Making Custom App Icons on Your iPhone Without Jailbreaking

First, you will need to download and install the iPhone Configuration Utility on your computer, for either Mac or Windows.

After the installation is complete, go ahead and open it up. It should look like this:

From here, mouse down to Configuration Profiles in the menu on the left. Once selected, a blue checkmark icon titled New will appear in the top left of the menu. Click on it.

Once you click on the New icon, you'll be taken to a new menu with a few tabs on the left. The tab that will be open to you is called General. Here is where you're going to label your custom icon and add any other basic information you wish to include.

Only the Name and Identifier fields need to be completed, the rest is just information for you. Once you are done filling out that info, scroll down that left menu until you find Web Clips. Select it and then click Configure.

You'll be taken to screen shown below, where you'll put in your contact information and create an icon for the home screen.

The steps here are pretty straight-forward. In the Label field, type in the name of your icon. In the URL field, you'll need to find the URL of the app you want your custom icon to launch to.

You can find the URL of most apps here or here. In my case, I'm creating a custom icon for the Facebook app.

Next, select the image you wish to have for your new icon. I found one on the web and needed to save it as a bitmap file. Check the Precomposed Icon box and leave the Full Screen box unchecked.

Here is what my completed field looks like:

Once you have all the boxes and fields correctly completed, click on the Export icon—a small wooden box with and up arrow—located in the top left of the program menu.

There will be a drop-down menu, but ignore this and just click Export and Save the file to your computer or Dropbox.

  • NOTE: If you use Dropbox to host your image, you'll need an internet connection on your iPhone for the custom icon to show up correctly. The Dropbox method, covered in detail here, was created before this iPhone Configuration Utility was released. If you're doing this on a work, school, or borrowed computer, it may be useful.

Now connect your iPhone to your computer using the USB or Lightning connector. Your device will show up in the left menu under devices. Click on your device and a new menu will appear.

Click on the second tab, Configuration Profiles, and hit Install. If you have a passcode on your iPhone, you may see this message:

Just enter in your passcode and try installing again. When you click Install, your unlocked iPhone will display this screen:

The installation should only take a few seconds. When it's done, your custom icon will appear on your iPhone.

If you want further icon customization, you can also make icons transparent...

Making App Icons Transparent on Your Iphone

While not as cool or as functional as the custom icons I covered above, this transparent tweak is just kind of cool look, especially if you have a darkish wallpaper.

Before continuing, make sure to download Picup, a free file-sharing app, onto your iPhone.

Image via

Now, hold down any icon to enter "jiggle mode," and slide over to a blank page. You'll need to take a screenshot (Sleep/Wake + Home button) of a blank page.

Go back to the Picup app and upload that screenshot you just took.

Now, click on this link to open up the iEmpty website in Safari on your browser. Instead of clicking, you can also just type in into your preferred iPhone web browser. On the homepage, click Customize, and on the next page, click Custom Mode.

There will be an Upload option. Click this and you will then be prompted to choose where you want to upload from. Select via Picup and Picup will launch. From there, select the photo of the screenshot you've already saved (it will be located in Recent Uploads).

It should now take you back into your browser and continue to upload the screenshot there.

One it's done uploading, the page will tell you to tap Let's Go!, so scroll down and do just that.

You'll then be taken to a page with a bunch of blank icons showing where your icon will go on your iPhone. Just select the first one.

Now, click the Export icon, the third icon from the left on the bottom menu. Your image will pop up under Add to Home Screen. Add it, and leave the name blank when prompted.

Hooray, that overly complicated process should have given you something that looks like this:

Almost invisible right. Could use a little tweaking, but not bad.

That's it! Customized apps without jailbreaking!

Now that you have the iPhone Configuration Utility app on your computer, you can also go and add call and text shortcuts for specific contacts on your home screen.

Cover photo via iMore


Hi, sorry to go off on a tangent here, but you have an awesomely cool theme for your iPhone. Could I trouble you to share it's name and how you got it?


Ha. No worries, I searched forever to find a theme that I liked. It's called BlackOut HD. It is a dollar in Cydia. And if you are looking for a free one try 266 Icons, it's not bad.

thanks for finding the theme but like you said, its customized apps without jailbreaking! We don't have Cydia app here and how we got the theme?

I see your point, but the guide does shows you how to create a custom icon without jailbreak. While my phone has a jailbroken theme, the icon created with this guide can be used by any type of iPhone -- no jailbreak necessary.

I know this is old, but can this work for your folders? do folders have urls, and if so how can I find them?

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