CHANGE your iOS Home Screen into your own theme thanks to Shortcuts and WidgetSmith

Apple’s latest version of iOS was released last week, bringing with it widgets to the Home Screen, better Pencil features on the iPad, and lots more to its iOS devices.

But over the last few days, users have discovered that using a shortcut and an app can help make your Home Screen become very customisable.

Apple have always been very hesitant to let the user customise their iPhones and iPads with different icons, but this is all done officially, and seemingly sanctioned by the company as well.

With that, here’s what the trick entails, and what you can do for your own iPhone and iPad.

What is the trick?

Over the weekend, an app by the name of ‘WidgetSmith’ became available for iOS devices running iOS 14, which allows you to create a widget in mostly any way you like, and then you can place it, anywhere you wish on your Home Screen.

Created by David Smith, it takes advantage of the new widgets in an innovative way that have been remade for iOS 14. You can place them alongside your icons and have them read out useful info without going into the app. Weather and battery information come to mind with this. The app is easy to use and is free on the App Store.

But as soon as this app blew up on the social platform TikTok, a discovery was made in Apple’s ‘Shortcuts’ app where you can run the ‘Open App’ command to any app, give it its own icon, and place it on the Home Screen, so you could have something like this.

Ever since, Twitter and the Apple-sphere has blown up, sharing many home screens due to this combination of shortcuts and WidgetSmith.

READ MORE: Has the iPad Air 4 hinted towards the iPhone 12?

How to Customise Your Home Screen

At the time of writing, you can also do the same to your iPhone and iPad, as long as it has iOS 14 installed. There’s always a chance that the ‘Shortcuts’ app could be updated to remove this command in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here’s how to do it.

  1. Open up the ‘Apple Shortcuts’ app
  2. Press the ‘+’ icon on the top right, then press ‘Add Action
  3. Select ‘Scripting
  4. You should see ‘Open App’. Select it.
  5. Press on ‘Choose’, and select the app you want that’s currently installed on your device.
  1. Press ‘Next’.
  2. Name it whatever you wish, and press ‘Done’.
  3. Go back to the shortcut you just created, but press the three dots in its corner.
  4. Press the three dots in the right corner, and then press ‘Add to Home Screen’.
  5. Where it shows an icon and the name, press on the icon, and select ‘Choose Photo’ or ‘Choose File’, depending on where your new icon that you’ve saved is.
  6. Once selected, press ‘Add’, and you now have a new icon that launches the app in question.

Granted it is a consulted process, but it means that you finally get the customisation that Android users have long enjoyed.

Apple have not commented on this as yet, but there’s no reason for them to remove this, as it doesn’t violate any of their own rights, and it would be slightly embarrassing to remove this feature after it went viral over the weekend.

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