Let's get creative: Personalise your phone's home screen

Let's get creative: Personalise your phone's home screen

Published: Aug 29, 2021

Want that new phone feeling? One way to breathe new life into your device is to change the way your home screen looks and feels. Both Android and iOS (14 and above) come with many customisation options that help make your phone pop. Let’s find out more.

Choose a stunning wallpaper

Changing your wallpaper is a quick and easy way to give your home and lock screens a new aesthetic. Here are some fab apps for free wallpapers.

iPhone

  • Walli (iOS): Wide range of wallpapers, from photography to hand-drawn designs to abstract pieces. Free, with ads.

  • Vellum (iOS): Beautiful, curated wallpapers; features include blurring and daily exclusive wallpapers. Free, with ads.

  • Live Wallpapers for Me (iOS): Download animated wallpapers for your lock screen. Freemium model, with ads.

Android

  • Walli (Android): Wide range of wallpapers, from photography to hand-drawn designs to abstract pieces. Free, with ads.

  • Muzei (Android): Set tastefully blurred and dimmed art pieces as wallpapers that refresh daily. Free.

  • KLWP Live Wallpaper Maker (Android): Build your own live wallpaper that reacts to gestures and changes according to factors like time of day, battery percentage, weather, and many, many more. Note: this is a relatively complex tool to learn but has rich community support. You’ll also need a custom launcher to make full use of this tool. Free, with ads.

Set custom icons

Another way to spruce up your home screen is to change your app icon styles. Here’s how.

iPhone

iOS 14 finally gives you the freedom of customising your app icons without jailbreaking (and voiding the warranty of) your iPhone. To do so, you need Apple’s pre-installed Shortcuts app, which lets you set custom icons for shortcuts to apps. Have your icon pack at the ready—you’ll find plenty of app icon packs online; just do a quick search!

  1. Open the Shortcuts app and tap the Add button (+) in the top right corner.

  2. Tap Add Action.

  3. Search for Open App, then tap Choose.

  4. Choose the app you want to create the shortcut for.

  5. Tap the three-dot icon in the top right corner

  6. Tap Shortcut Name at the top and enter the app name (or whatever you wish).

  7. Tap Add to Home Screen.

  8. Under the heading Home Screen Name and Icons, tap on the app icon.

  9. Pick your desired image from the app gallery and press Choose, then tap Add to complete.

  10. Repeat for the other apps on your home screen.

Do note that this is, however, a workaround and makes opening an app slightly slower than usual. You’ll also need to apply your icons app by app, rather painstakingly.

Android

Themed icon packs for Android have existed for a while, and it’s easy to change the look and feel of your icons. Here are a few ways:

  • If you use a Samsung phone, changing your theme (wallpapers, icons and always-on display) is super simple with Galaxy Themes. Choose from free and premium themes and apply them with one tap.

  • Want more options? There are plenty of icon packs on Google Play. To apply them, you’d need to use a custom launcher, which you can also download from Google Play.

Create custom widgets

Besides icons and wallpapers, you can also use widgets, both preset and custom, to personalise your home screen. Home screen widgets let you view useful information at a glance without launching apps, for example, the weather or your total step count for the day.

iPhone

iOS 14 introduced fresh new widgets to the iPhone. Here are a few ways:

  • Choose widgets from apps like Apple Health or Apple Calendar.

  • Create custom ones using an app like Widgetsmith (free) that allows you to change the colours and fonts of your widgets, as well as the information displayed.

Android

Widgets have been available on Android since its earliest versions:

  • Choose widgets from apps like Google Calendar or Google Fit.

  • Create custom widgets using an app like KWGT Kustom Widget Maker (free/paid), which allows you to create your own widgets and customise their entire look and feel, from clocks and calendars to weather and music widgets.

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