The iPhone has a beautiful home screen, but it looks the same as every other iPhone out there. If you want a phone that’s truly yours, here’s how to customise the look of your home screen from top to bottom.
Photo by Nicemonkey (Shutterstock)
Every week, we share our favourite custom home screens from readers, complete with all the tweaks they use to make them more practical, productive, or just plain pretty. However, most of our featured home screens are Android-based, and that simply ain’t right! So we’ve compiled this guide to customising every inch of your iPhone or iPad’s home screen.
IMPORTANT: Note that for all the tweaks below, you’ll need to be jailbroken. There’s no real way around it. While you can customise a few small elements of the iOS interface without jailbreaking, true customisation can only happen with jailbroken apps. Don’t yell at us; that’s simply the Apple way.
Theme The Lock Screen And Icons
- Open up Cydia and install Winterboard. Restart your phone when prompted.
- Download your theme of choice. If it’s in Cydia, you may have to add a new repository to download it. If the author gives it to you in a
.themefolder, install an iPhone Explorer such as iFunBox and copy the
.themefolder from your computer to
/Library/Themeson your device.
- Open up the Winterboard app. Tap on “Select Themes” and choose the theme you just installed. Some may include multiple selections in Winterboard, and you can mix and match whichever ones you want (for example, you can turn on the lock screen part of a theme, but leave off the icon theme that goes with it). Tap the Respring button, and when it’s done you should see the lock screen theme in place.
Note that many lock screen themes may require you to install other tweaks, such as Lockscreen Clock Hide, in order for them to work properly. If that’s the case, you’ll see it in the description of the theme, and you can install those other tweaks as needed. Home screen by rshroff2 on MyColorScreen.
.themean iPhone Explorer like iFunBox
For example, if you don’t like the wallpaper that came with your theme, open up the
.theme folder, find the wallpaper, and replace it with your own. You can even replace the images for the lock screen slider, replace specific icons, or change the
LockBackground.html (if you’re comfortable editing code). You can change fonts, change the size of text, and even move elements around. When you’re done, drag that
.theme folder back onto your device, re-select it in Winterboard, and check out your changes. The world is your oyster.
Lastly, if you want a more intense overhaul of your lock screen and home screen, check out Dreamboard. It works similarly to Winterboard, but it’s designed to completely change the look of your home screen in ways Winterboard cannot, and it isn’t as open to customisation and mixing and matching different themes. It’s worth checking out, but if you want to build a new, custom home screen from the ground up, Dreamboard probably isn’t the way to go. Lock screen by falcon212 on MacThemes.
Tweak The Home Screen Layout
- Choose from different home screen and lock screen animations
- Add more icons to the dock, or give it a cover flow effect
- Change the lock screen wallpaper when charging, hide the slider, change the slider’s label
- Hide icon labels, clear icon badges with two taps, resize icons, or hide apps that you don’t like
- Add a close button to folders, disable the folder animation, or put a dock in your folders
- Remove pagination from the app switcher, make the app switcher work in landscape mode, or enable a brightness slider in the app switcher
- Change your carrier label in the status bar, add other information like RAM or IP address, and hide other status bar icons
- Change your device’s font, font size and font color
- Change the look of your device’s dock and battery icon
- Lots, lots more
If you’re customising your home screen, Springtomize is an absolute must-have. Home screen by eyeisdatsteve (MyColorScreen).
If you want something a bit fancier than that, check out Iconoclasm ($US3), which will let you arrange icons in whatever kind of grid (or lack thereof) you want. After you install Iconoclasm, head to your Settings app and tap on Iconoclasm to see the layouts available to you. Tap on one to try it out. You can also download other layouts from Cydia or make your own with the free Iconoclasm Layout Maker. With this app, you can put together any layout your heart desires. If you want to fit 30 icons on your home screen in the shape of a smiley face, you could (but we wouldn’t recommend it). Home screen by kieranc88 on MyColorScreen.
Change Your Font
After installing a font, it should show up in Bytafont’s settings. Tap the one you want, and your device will respring with your new font in place across the entire system. You can also go to Bytafont’s Advanced section if you just want to change the font in certain parts of the interface (like the lock screen clock or the keyboard). Home screen by Jan Amundsenat MyColorScreen.
Add Widgets To Your Home Screen
Dashboard Xgreat little tool
To remove widgets, head to Settings > Dashboard X. Tap “Enabled Widgets” and you’ll get a list of widgets available to you. You can tap the “Edit” button to remove them, as well as edit a few other advanced settings in this area. Home screen by 666 at MyColorScreen.
Find Single-Purpose Tweaks
- Hide weather and calendar drawers under your lock screen with Peekly
- Get a smaller lock screen clock with SubtleLock
- Get different wallpapers on each page with Pages+
- Overhaul the app switcher with Auxo
- Endlessly scroll through apps on your home screen with Inifiniapps
- And lots, lots more
The Cost Of Customisation
I myself had no problems on an iPhone 4 running a custom lock screen with Winterboard and a few other minor tweaks, but had I installed everything we talk about in this post, it probably would have had lots of problems. Conversely, the mere act of installing Winterboard on my first-gen iPad made it pretty much useless.
So, you’ll have to do some experimenting for yourself. Don’t install everything at once; go one tweak at a time and see how much your phone is affected. It will take you a bit longer, but then when your phone does get a lot slower, you’ll know which tweak to blame, and you can uninstall it. In the end, it’s all about how much battery life and speed you’re comfortable with, and how much you want to customise your phone. Good luck!