Apple doesn’t supply really individualized customization of its merchandise or interfaces to its customers, and if anybody desires to customise the look of their Apple merchandise – particularly their house screens – they’re in for A Time. With iOS 16 coming in September, there’s a chance for Apple to offer customers wanted autonomy.
The one cell telephones I’ve ever owned have been a Nokia (shoutout to Snake, my past love), a Blackberry, and an iPhone, none of which I’ve ever absolutely custom-made.
I’m at present on my seventh iPhone, and I’ve all the time accepted that my cellphone’s house display screen merely appears the way it appears. Certain, I can “edit” the house display screen’s format with apps, widgets, and folders for group, however I’ve by no means been capable of make it extra me – you recognize, how Android customers could make their telephones extra them. That each one modified this week once I tried my hand at customizing my cellphone‘s house display screen utilizing two icon packs I bought from Etsy.
Utilizing this text as my reference – and likewise its writer, my colleague Michael Potuck – I slowly grew to become aware of the Shortcuts app, Widgetsmith, and all the pieces in between that’s required to create a customized house display screen aesthetic on my iPhone. Right here’s what I needed to do, which I’ll by no means do once more, as a result of it took far too lengthy.
Select an icon pack
To begin with, the sheer variety of icon packs out there on-line is overwhelming. It’s enjoyable for a minute to flick thru choices, however I shortly misplaced curiosity and endurance; it’s type of just like the distinction in procuring on the mall versus one independently-owned boutique.
You could find free icon packs, seize icon packs from Etsy, or create your personal icon pack (although I hear that is troublesome), and there are, fairly actually, tens of 1000’s of packs to select from. I spent about 5 minutes on-line earlier than deciding on this icon pack for $6, and I started working.
Obtain a number of zip information and PDFs
This step was the place issues began to harm, even when at first, it was solely slightly. Utilizing directions from the Etsy vendor, I needed to obtain zip information and PDFs, drag them to my desktop, open them, after which open the folders that the zip file created, all of which was extraordinarily tedious. As soon as I had entry to the icon and widget folders, I in fact had to decide on which icons and widgets I wished out of the tons of out there within the icon pack – I genuinely had no concept how unhealthy it might get.
Copy and paste icons into Images
I didn’t anticipate this step being so laborious, however wow was it ever. You must cross-reference the apps you have already got in your cellphone with the matching icons from the downloaded zip folders, and then it’s important to copy and paste these icons into Images. Be sure you have iCloud syncing on, otherwise you received’t be capable of entry the icons you selected in your cellphone.
Use Shortcuts to re-design apps
Enter: absolutely the epicenter of my frustration with Apple house display screen customization.
By no means have I ever turn out to be so familiarized with an app in the best way I’ve turn out to be with Shortcuts throughout this course of, and I’m sure that I’ve barely scratched the floor of all the pieces Shortcuts can really do.
I don’t even know the place to start.
Mainly, I needed to open Shortcuts, hit the + signal within the higher right-hand nook, faucet “Add Motion,” sort “open app” within the search bar, then faucet “Open App” underneath “Scripting,” THEN select from an inventory of apps I’ve on my cellphone with the intention to customise one of them.
Let’s say I wished to customise the Instagram app.
As soon as I’ve chosen Instagram, I needed to faucet three little blue traces within the higher proper nook, select “Add to Dwelling Display screen,” rename the app, choose the photograph that synced from iCloud to accompany the app, and, lastly, faucet “Add.” GOODNESS. Actually that is all far an excessive amount of as I’m reliving it, and I hate that I really feel so compelled to put in writing about it, however right here we’re.
At this level within the course of, I had the app in hand utilizing the icon pack I bought, downloaded, copied and pasted into Images, after which successfully re-designed in Shortcuts to do with what I happy. I then needed to repeat the re-design through Shortcuts with each app I wished on my house display screen, which took me at least two hours. Now, the enjoyable half?
Aesthetics over all the pieces
Should you’re like me – somebody who likes issues to look even and aligned – this a part of customizing your private home display screen may take hours. You might have your re-designed apps-turned-shortcuts! They’re the precise colour palette, you assume! You’ve renamed every app in all lowercase (except WhatsApp) for causes you may’t eloquently clarify!
Even if you happen to’re not like me, and also you’re extra artistic in the best way that you just use area, deciding the way you need to use your clear house display screen together with your vibey new app icons also can take hours. An essential be aware right here, which takes extra time: When arranging your private home display screen, it’s essential to long-press the unique apps to “Take away from Dwelling Display screen” to alleviate litter and make room on your shortcuts, whereas being cautious to not really delete the unique app – in any other case your shortcuts received’t work.
I genuinely love how my cellphone now takes care of a whole morning of customizing my house display screen, however there are nonetheless points.
The grey widget calendar on the high, for instance, doesn’t really sync to my iCal, however reasonably, opens the app Widgetsmith – one thing I needed to obtain to create that exact widget within the first place; there isn’t a workaround for this, lest I obtain a third-party calendar app, which I’m definitely not doing. Which means that I both need to swipe proper on my house display screen to entry my precise calendar or seek for it within the pull-down menu. After I talked about this to my coworker Kyle – an Android person – his solely response was, “omg.” Oh my god, certainly.
Moreover, each time I open any of my newly-created, earthy apps (re: shortcuts), I see this little swoopdy-woop that comes and goes – which may be dismissed with a swipe – however will seem each time I open a shortcut, without end, in perpetuity:
Final however not least, now that I’ve re-designed all of my apps to look precisely how I need them to with the assistance of my icon pack on my house display screen, I’m left with a litter of icons, widgets, and wallpapers in my photograph album(s) in addition to zip information and folders on my desktop that now should be cleaned up.
iOS 16 to the rescue?
After chatting with a few of my colleagues over at 9to5Google, I discovered some issues that Apple’s forthcoming iOS 16 may do to enhance this course of.
To begin, iOS 16 may merely embrace any out there themes for our house screens, not to mention customizable ones. Do you know that what took me 4 hours would take somebody a few minute and a half on an Android? I’ve seen a video of it being executed. Android customers have a great deal of built-in themes to select from, and that hardly scratches the floor.
Extra particularly, do you know that if you choose a colour theme on an Android on your house display screen, apps which might be native to the cellphone mechanically replace to that particular colour palette? Think about not having to individually create and customise each one in every of your apps right into a shortcut, whether or not or not they’re from a 3rd celebration. If iOS 16 on the very least allowed us to customise native apps and widgets with pre-chosen themes, that might be an enormous step in the precise course.
I need to say right here for the document, that on a scale of tech-savviness – 10 being extraordinarily tech-savvy, and 1 being by no means – I’m like…a 7, most likely, no less than compared to your common particular person (not compared to actually any of my coworkers). That stated, this course of was nothing in need of hellacious, even with assist from my coworkers, whilst somebody who is aware of and understands very area of interest details about very particular expertise. In complete, I spent about 4 hours creating my house display screen aesthetic, from begin to end.
What did we do to Apple, besides be wildly – and for me, inexplicably – loyal clients to whom they withhold the power to customise our personal gadgets? Now that I’ve seen what my house display screen can seem like – whereas additionally understanding on a stage that I want I didn’t – what it takes to get a house display screen that you just love, I need everybody to have icons, widgets, and themes that mirror their character. Why does Apple refuse to offer us any autonomy as customers?
As I used to be lamenting to my coworkers at 9to5Google about my customization ordeal, Ben Schoon stated, reasonably joyously, “Come to Android – it’s a lot simpler 😂..” I received’t, once more for causes I can’t clarify, however that’s not the purpose.
The purpose is that this: for Apple to gatekeep customization from its person base is, at this stage, an antiquated, irritating, and admittedly outlandish method for an organization that touts creativity, inspiration, and innovation in every of its particular person merchandise. If I need to be inspired by my machine, to be creative with my machine, to innovate on my machine, why can’t I make it my very own?
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