This powerful iOS shortcut allows you to create custom app icons

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MacStories blogger Frederico Vitticci has created an incredibly robust iOS shortcut called Home Screen Icon Creator, which lets you create custom buttons that look different and, if you want to be fancy, fine-tune what happens when you open an app. It also allows you to create customizable icons for iOS shortcuts and icons for calling people from your contacts.

While it has many possible uses, the most attractive (and fun) thing this shortcut can do is create a new app button that replaces the default image with any other icon on the App Store. I will say right off the bat that it sounds more complicated than it is, but once you get the hang of it, you can easily set new icons for each of your apps.

To do this, click on the shortcut and hit “Launch app with URL scheme”, which will display a text box asking you to enter, you guessed it, a URL scheme. A “pattern” is part of the URL – especially the part at the very beginning before the colon – http:// (Where https://) on most websites. In this case, however, we are not searching the internet, we are calling an app. So instead of writing http://, you type the name of the app you want to open at the icon, followed by a colon and two backslashes.

Facebook: // opens Facebook, Twitter: // opens Twitter, etc. (Screen capture: Mike Epstein)

Then the app asks for an “order title”, which is a fancy way to ask for whatever name you want to give the app. You can give it the same name as the app you are replacing, or call it something more appropriate …

Picture I probably won’t call him that… would I? (Screen capture: Mike Epstein)

Then you will receive a prompt asking you to search the App Store for the icons to use. Type what you want to search for and hit the Done button above the search bar (not the keyboard one). From there, you’ll get a landing page showing the name and icon.

To add the icon to your home screen, tap the Share button on the bottom menu bar (the box with an arrow sticking out of it) and select “Add to home screen”. From there, you’ll have another chance to rename it: when you’re ready, hit “Add” and…

Picture I did them both! HA! Real talk, though: you want the names to be as short as possible. Use a maximum of 12 characters. (Screen capture: Mike Epstein)

There ! Here is your new improved app icon.

The shortcut, as written, does not allow you to create your own app icon or use any image other than an app icon. However, Vittici shortcut failure explains how you can change its shortcut to select an image in the Photos app instead of the App Store if you’re tinkering around a bit.

Speaking of which, let’s talk a bit more about what else you can do to customize your app launcher. By allowing users to type in a URL instead of just choosing an app, Vittici has left the door open for you to customize what happens when you click on an app’s icon. By adding to the channel, you can make tapping an app icon open a specific menu, perform a specific search, or otherwise automate the thing you want. always do when you first open it.

For example, this URL will just open Twitter – twitter://

But one of them will open Twitter and send me straight to a new tweet textbox – twitter://new

This process, as you might expect, can get quite complicated and code heavy, depending on the application and the nature of the task, but it is often not as difficult as you might think. If you want to experiment, the first section of this primer Application Developer Contrast has a few examples that can help you understand the basic cadence of writing non-web URLs.

The shortcut also gives you the option to create home screen icons for shortcuts with icons pulled from the App Store, icons that will call, text, or specific FaceTime contacts using the photo that was given to them. assigned as an icon, or create a blank, color-coded icon that you can use to space your apps or personalize your homescreens.

Unlike using modifying an existing app, these are all very straightforward. So play around, find cool icons, and enjoy this exciting new level of aesthetic freedom on your iPhone and / or iPad.


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