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Even though everybody else owns an iPhone, you can still make yours stand out from the crowd. We'll show you how to customize your iPhone's Home screen with widgets and unique app icons so it truly reflects your style.
How to Add Widgets to Your iPhone Home Screen
For the first time ever, iOS 14 made it possible to add widgets to the Home screen on an iPhone. A widget is a light version of an app that displays information and lets you interact with it directly on the Home screen.
You can customize your iPhone Home screen with widgets for almost every stock Apple app and a growing selection of third-party apps. To add one:
- Tap and hold in a blank space on your iPhone's Home screen to enter Jiggle mode.
- In the top corner, tap the Add (+) icon to view your available widgets. Search or scroll through the selection to find the widget you want.
- After selecting a widget, swipe left and right to view different versions of it, then tap Add Widget.
- Drag and drop to move the widget around your Home screen just like you would with any other app. You can even drop multiple same-sized widgets on top of each other to create a widget stack.
- Tap Done or click the Home button to exit Jiggle mode.
If you aren't sure where to start, take a look at our rundown of all the best iOS widgets.
Change the Size of Your Widgets
Most iPhone widgets are available in three sizes: small, medium, and large. To change the size of a widget, you need to delete it from your Home screen, then add it again in a different size.
Here's how to do this:
- Tap and hold in a blank space on the Home screen to enter Jiggle mode.
- Tap the Minus (-) icon on a widget and confirm you want to Remove it. Alternatively, tap and hold a widget, then tap Remove Widget from the quick-action menu.
- Finally, tap the Add (+) icon to add the widget again in a different size.
Customize the Widget Settings
A lot of iPhone widgets let you edit some basic settings to change how they work. This could mean changing the location displayed in the Weather widget or changing the list shown in the Reminders widget.
If you create a widget stack, you can also enable Smart Rotate or edit the arrangement of widgets in the stack. Here's how to change them:
- Tap and hold on a widget until a quick-action menu appears.
- Choose to Edit Widget or, if available, Edit Stack.
- Change the relevant settings, then return to the Home screen.
How to Hide Apps From Your iPhone Home Screen
Apple also made it possible to hide apps from your Home screen with the release of iOS 14. This means you can personalize your Home screen layout by only including the most important apps. Here's how:
- Tap and hold on an app until a quick-action menu appears.
- Choose to Remove App.
- Then choose to Move to App Library.
When you move an app to the App Library, it remains installed on your iPhone despite vanishing from the Home screen. If you choose to Delete App instead, it vanishes from your iPhone entirely.
To view the App Library, swipe to the right past your last Home screen. You should find every app on your iPhone automatically categorized into smart folders. You can also tap the search bar to search for an app or view them in a list.
Hide Entire Home Screens
Rather than sending every app to the App Library individually, you can also choose to hide entire Home screens on your iPhone. When you do this, your iPhone saves the Home screen layout so it's easy to bring back if you ever change your mind.
Below is how you change Home screen layouts:
- Tap and hold in a blank space on the Home screen to enter Jiggle mode.
- Tap the Home screen dots at the bottom of the screen. You should see a zoomed-out view of all your iPhone Home screens.
- Tap the checkmarks to select or deselect each Home screen, choosing whether to hide it or not.
How to Create Custom Widgets and App Icons
Since the launch of iOS 14, we've seen a lot of stylized iPhone Home screens that use custom widgets and app icons to create an inventive new look. Creating a custom Home screen like this can be a time-consuming endeavor, but it pays off in style.
Create Custom Widgets for iPhone
A range of apps are available in the iOS App Store that serve no other purpose than letting you create custom widgets. You can use them to choose color schemes, icons, and widget size.
Most of these apps are free to download at first but offer in-app purchases to unlock more customization options. By far the most popular widget-customization app is Widgetsmith.
Here's how to use it to create custom widgets on your iPhone Home screen:
- Open Widgetsmith and tap a small, medium, or large widget to start editing it.
- Tap the Default Widget and scroll through all the options to choose what you want to display on it. You can choose between different styles of time, date, weather, photos, calendars, and more.
- Use the menus beneath the style to change the Font, Tint, Background, and Border Color for the widget.
- When you finish customizing the widget, go back a page to rename and save it.
- Add Widgetsmith widgets to your Home screen the same way you'd add any other widget: by entering Jiggle mode and using the Add (+) button.
- After adding a generic Widgetsmith widget to your iPhone, tap and hold to Edit Widget, then choose your custom widget from the dropdown menu.
Create Custom App Icons
Although you might have seen what looks like custom app icons on someone else's iPhone Home screen, this is actually a shortcut for that app using Siri Shortcuts. When you do this, you can choose your own icon and name for the shortcut before adding it to your Home screen.
The end result is a custom shortcut that looks like an app.
You need to design or download the app icons you want to use first and save them to your iPhone. Of course, designing custom app icons can be incredibly difficult, which is why we recommend you search for pre-made icon packs to download instead.
When you use a shortcut to open an app in this way, it adds a noticeable delay to opening apps, because each app needs to launch through the Shortcuts app first.
If you still want to customize your app icons on the iPhone, here's what to do:
- Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
- Tap the Add (+) button to create a new shortcut.
- Tap Add Action and search for the Open App action, then tap Choose and select the app you want to open.
- Use the three dots (...) button to open the menu, then tap Add to Home Screen.
- Tap the app icon and use the popup menu to select the custom icon you want to use from the Files or Photos app on your iPhone.
- Name your shortcut after the app, then tap Add to add it to your Home screen. You can move it around the Home screen just like you would any other app.
- Repeat this process, creating a new shortcut for each app you want to customize.
Find Even More Ways to Customize Your iPhone
Customizing the Home screen is only the first step to personalizing your iPhone. To create a truly unique device, you should also change the wallpaper, choose your own ringtone, and get a case to make sure your iPhone is as stylish as possible.
Since the release of iOS 14, Google has proven to be one of the best widget makers for Apple's mobile operating system.
Google is back at it again with two new widgets. This time, the company has rolled out widgets for YouTube Music and Google Photos, as reported by 9To5Google. Both look great, and they bring some rather useful features to the iOS 14 home screen.
What Does The YouTube Music Widget Do?
Starting with YouTube Music, Google is offering three different widgets of various sizes. All three widgets give you a look at your recently played songs, playlists, or albums, and you can tap one to launch the YouTube Music app to play the song again.
As is the case with iOS widgets, there's no playback controls or anything of that nature. Instead, it serves as a quick way to launch the YouTube Music app and get back to what you previously listened to. Still, it's a cool widget that looks great on the home screen. If you're a YouTube Music fan with an iOS device, you should definitely give these widgets a shot.
Google Photos Widget Functionality
The new widget for Google Photos is called Your memories, and it's all about taking you for a trip down memory lane. Each time you unlock your iOS device, you'll see recently highlighted photos and videos and special moments from previous years. It appears that the widget is sticking to photos from the same week from previous years. That means you shouldn't see summer photos during the winter, for example.
If you're the type of person who takes tons of photos and stores them in Google Photos, this might be a must-have widget for you. Of course, if you have many photos of exes or deceased family members, you might find that the widget brings back painful memories that you'd rather not see.
How To Enable Either of These Widgets
Once up and running, you need to press and hold on the home screen, tap the plus icon on the upper left corner, search for and tap YouTube Music or Google Photos, choose between the different widget sizes, tap Add Widget, move the widget to where you want it on your home screen, and tap Done.
Once that's done, you'll be able to check out your music or photos right from the home screen of your iOS device.