How To: Replace ugly icons on your iPhone/iPad/iPod

You have a pretty new iPhone/iPad/iPod; and for the life of you, you cannot figure out why Apple would invest so much in the physical design of the device but leave so much to be desired when it came the the icons*. Yawn!  Those icons are so last year! Anxious to get new icons?  Want to make your device stand out from the crowd?  Luckily, Winterboard and dotTech makes this easy.

*Okay, Apple doesn’t have direct control on the design of icons for individual third-party apps, but it is so much fun blaming Steve for everything.  Plus, some of those 1st part app icons are pretty… blue.

more–>What you’ll need:

First, you’ll want to make a base folder.  Name it something like My First Theme.theme.  The My First Theme part is what will show up when you load the theme on your device, so be sure to name it something reasonable.

After you have made a base folder, you will be changing the actual icons. Make a Bundles folder…

…and either make or download icons for whichever apps’ icons you want to change. For the purpose of this article I am going to replace the new, ugly iOS 4.2 Voice Memos‘ icon with a simple black icon that has the words Will It Blend written across it.  Once you have your icon(s), scale the icon/image to appropriate sizes. (If you download icons they may already be properly scaled for you.) Scale it to 57×57 with no border for an iPad and iPhone 3G device or older; scale it to 114×114 with no border for the iPhone 4 or iPod Touch 4G.

Look for a Info.plist file in your device of whichever app’s icon you are looking to change.  If it’s an official Apple app or an app you installed from Cydia, look in /Applications/.  If it’s an app you downloaded from the iTunes store, look in /private/var/mobile/Applications.  It’ll be in one of those cryptic folders – if it is, then… good luck.  I know of no better way than to open each folder and look at the .app folder name.

Once you’ve found the Info.plist file you’re looking for, open it in an app that can open PLISTs.  If you have app, you can always use this web tool. When you have Info.plist, look for CFBundleIdentifier:

Copy down the string (EX: com.apple.VoiceMemos).

Now go back to your Bundles folder.  Make a new folder with the name of the CFBundleIdentifier, like this:

Go back to the folder (the folder on your device) that you got the Info.plist from.  Look for a PNG file called Icon.png or Icon@2x.png.  Make sure to note whether the word Icon is capitalized or not because case sensitivity counts.

Take your icon file.  If you have a device with a retina display (i.e. iPhone 4 and the newer iPod Touches), name it Icon@2x.png or icon@2x.png; if you have a device without a retina display name it Icon.png or icon.png.  Be sure to keep the capitalization the same as what was listed in Info.plist!

Now just transfer the whole My First Theme.theme folder onto your device.  Put it in /Library/Themes.

Lastly, open up Winterboard (either from the home screen or from Settings) and select your theme.  It should be on top.  Congratulations, you’ve successfully replaced an icon from your iDevice!

It’s a complicated process, but once you’ve done it once it gets a thousand times easier.  You’ll soon be replacing every icon you don’t like!  Have fun replacing, and be sure to stop in for more customization tricks soon.

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8 comments

  1. Ash

    Stay away from Boxoft as it installs Toolbox without consent and pops up windows each time at start up to show you all their available software nagging you to buy. I uninstalled it immediately but Boxoft Toolbox is not easy to get off the hard disk :(

  2. Do Do Re

    Boxoft and Limeware,not a good ideea to make this analogie.When you install a soft from Boxoft,they give you:Boxoft Toolbox,where they give you a lot of free soft and shareware.My interess is in freeware,to not depend in the future from this toolbox center.

  3. David Roper

    @Do Do Re: Do Do Re…
    huh? ‘splain better.

    It’s either freeware or it’s not. The author gets to decide that, or the person owning the copyright if the author sold it.

    Okay, I just went to BOXOFT and read the license agreement. It looks like good old “shareware” (remember that term from the past?) modified to be “trial ware” if there is such a term.

    You get a little tease of a program and buy the full version and use it forever with updates.

    I’m okay with that. Doesn’t look like “piracy” yet…

  4. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @Do Do Re: I am not sure if I am understanding you properly but you are saying this Boxoft itself is free, so there shouldn’t be a problem.That is like saying Limewire is free and anything you download via Limewire is okay.

    Boxoft may be free itself, but unless the software it provides is legitimately free (and not pirated) talk about Boxoft is not welcome on dotTech.

  5. Do Do Re

    They say that this soft is freware.So ,is free and legal,but they not give you the whole visible soft to install when you want.You must always to install directly from home page.Where is the problem to have the whole soft if this soft is free?.Also they give you this free whole soft on yours computer in temporary,soo they give me this soft for free.I not stolen their soft because they give me for free.