Here’s how to customize your iPhone home screen with widgets, app icons

It’s all part of Apple’s newly-released iOS 14 update. Don’t worry, we’ve simplified it for you.

An example of a customized iPhone screen using the iOS 14 update. (KSAT)

You may have noticed a trend on social media lately with people revealing their newly-customized home screens on their iPhones. This is all thanks to Apple’s iOS14 update.

The update allows iPhone users to add widgets, change the appearances of their apps and truly make their phone their very own. As in, you can now match color schemes, add aesthetically pleasing app icons, and create an overall theme.

But, it’s not so easy getting the process started if you aren’t too familiar with all that is included in the new update.

Here’s all you need to know to get started.

What the iOS 14 update includes:


Widgets are now available to iPhone users through this new update and they will allow you to personalize your phone in a unique way.

You can add them to your homescreens and give your apps a new look, add photos to your home screen, make an overall theme, and so much more. You can also choose different sizes and arrange them however you see fit.

You can even add a ‘smart stack’ based on the apps you use the most, where the “right widget will show up automatically at the right time in your day,” according to Apple’s website.

App Library

The new app library will automatically organize all of your apps into one convenient location, with the new update.

According to Apple, the apps are sorted by category and your most-used apps are always “just one tap away.”

Compact calls

If you’re one to multitask when on your phone, even when on a Facetime or phone call, then you’ll LOVE this feature.

Calls from your iPhone, Facetime and other apps will display in a compact screen, just in case you need to perform other tasks at the same time. In other words, you’ll still be able to see the video call instead of temporarily closing out of it when you’re using another app.


Yes, there are changes to your messages as well in the new iOS 14 update.

You can now ‘pin’ up to nine conversations with friends at the top of your Messages screen. This will help make it easier to navigate to messages from the people you text the most with on a daily basis.

You can also add group photos, a Memoji or emoji to group messages and tag a friend in a message for a mention.

And let’s not forget, Apple has also added new Memoji stickers and styles, in case you want to customize your Memoji further.

To learn more about the other features in the iOS14 update, visit Apple’s website for the full list of new features by clicking here.

How to download/use the update:

Step 1: Download the iOS 14 update.

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to download the iOS 14 update, but to do that, you’ll need to make sure you have enough storage in your phone. If you don’t, you’ll receive a notification and may have to delete some old photos and text messages to make room.

To download the update, you’ll go to Settings -> General -> Software update -> Download and Install.

This may take some time, so make sure to plug in your phone to your charger, just to make sure your device doesn’t lose battery during the download.

Step 2: Download the widget apps.

If you’re looking to use widgets, you’ll want to download these apps: Widgetsmith, Widget Wizard, Photo Widget and Color Widget. There are plenty of others to choose from but these tend to be the most popular among Apple users.

Screenshot of the Widgetsmith app in the Apple App Store. (Apple)

Don’t worry, this will only take about a minute or two.

Step 3: Find your theme or aesthetic

Now, this where the fun begins.

Whether you’re an avid Disney fan, have a favorite movie or TV show in particular, or if you have a select theme you want to pursue, now is the time to choose and begin decorating your home screen.

Some widgets are designed for functionality, such as weather or a new clock. However, it’s all up to you on how you want to arrange your widgets and which ones you want to actually utilize. You can also add photos to your widgets and resize them how you see fit.

Don’t forget, you’ll want to likely change your wallpaper to match your theme. You can do this by going into your Settings and selecting Wallpaper before choosing your image.

Otherwise, just go into Widgetsmith and start designing! When you open the app, you’ll get to select your size option and then click ‘Default Widget.' Then, you’ll go to ‘Style,’ go down to ‘Photo’ and then you’ll select the photo you want.

Once you’re pleased with what you made, make sure to hit ‘Save.’ Then repeat the process as you go.

If you need some inspiration for your theme, here are some examples of customized home screens:

Step 4: Designing your apps

This feature isn’t technically new for your iPhone, but if you want to stylize your apps, here’s what you need to know.

First, you’ll need to download the photos you want for your app icons. You’ll do this just as you typically download photos.

Then you’ll go to Shortcuts and hit the '+' button on the upper right side of the screen.

Tap ‘Add Action’ and then search ‘Open app.' Then, hit ‘Choose’ and then select the app you want to add the image to.

You’ll then click on the three dots in the top right corner and enter your shortcut name, which is usually just the name of the app you’re editing unless you want to change it up. Lastly, you’ll click the image icon and then tap on ‘Choose photo.’

Click ‘Add’ and your newly-refined app will appear on your home screen. Repeat the process as needed.

The new iOS14 update may seem a bit tricky, but have no fear. If you’re still having trouble, we recommend visiting Apple’s website for more information or even check out this article from Cnet on how to customize your home screen further.

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