How to Change App Icons Without Shortcuts on iOS 14

Figuring out how to change app icons without Shortcuts on iOS 14?

iOS 14 came out with a lot of features for us Apple users to play around with. The App Library was introduced as a way of storing our unused apps, and widgets are now customizable unlike ever before.

However, for the artistic side of the Apple community, being able to change app icons through the Shortcut trick changed home screens forever. Shortcuts allowed users to create a custom icon that would open a specific app. These custom icons were also prepped with custom preview images, which basically acted as another app icon.

Users all over Twitter frolicked to this new feature. But despite all the craze, there was one issue that the Shortcuts had. They would open the Shortcut app for a split second before opening up the desired application. In this article, we’ll show how to change app icons without shortcuts on iOS 14!

Let’s get started.


1. Install Icon Themer.

Here at Saint, we like to give credit where credit is due. This method only exists because of Reddit user u/nyuszika7h who uploaded a Reddit thread to address the Shortcut problem.

This plug-in or Shortcut profile works wonders and stops the Shortcuts app from loading on your screen whenever opening an app. However, if you have already changed all your apps with the ‘Open App’ shortcut, we have bad news.

Since you’ll be using an entirely different shortcut profile, you will have to repopulate and redo all the icons you’ve already made. But don’t worry! The steps below might seem very long, but that’s only because it’s explained in detail. Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to mass-produce your shortcuts in no time!

Before we begin, let’s start by allowing ‘Untrusted Shortcuts’ in your settings. This will allow the third-party app to make changes and install shortcuts on your iPhone.

Here’s how you can allow untrusted shortcuts:

  1. First, open up your Settings app and navigate to Shortcuts.
  2. Once you’re there, tap and enable Allow Untrusted Shortcuts.

allow untrusted shortcuts

  1. If you don’t see this option, it usually means you haven’t created any shortcuts at all. Bring out the Shortcuts app and make a random shortcut just as a dummy. Once you’re done with that, repeat Steps 1 and 2. You should be able to see the option afterward.

Great! Now that we’ve done that, you should now be able to install third-party shortcuts. Let’s start installing Icon Themer so we can get rid of that annoying Shortcut lag. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Start by going to Routinehub so you can download the shortcut needed for this method. Just open the link and tap on Get Shortcut. A prompt will appear asking you if you want to add the shortcut or not, just tap on Add Untrusted Shortcut. You can further configure the shortcut or just Skip Setup.
  2. Once you’ve done that, open the Shortcuts app. You should have a new shortcut called Icon Themer. Tap on the shortcut to proceed.
  3. Now, search for the application you want to open and select that. Do this by utilizing the search bar above and tapping on the desired program. Icon Themer should ask for access, just tap on OK.

search for shortcuts icon themer

  1. After that, you’ll be able to choose between Search in App Store or System apps. If the application you’re making a shortcut to is already installed, choose System apps. However, if you have to install the app, you can automatically install and create a shortcut for that app by selecting Search in App Store. The Custom app option creates a shortcut on your home screen that opens up a website on your default browser.
  2. Next, you’ll be asked to choose an icon. You can either choose from Photos or Files. Pick whichever and proceed until you have the photo icon you want. Depending on the app, you will also be asked for further permission. Just tap on OK to proceed.

change app icons without shortcuts on ios 14

  1. After that, you should be asked to input the icon name. You can keep the default name or change it to however you want. Additionally, you can also leave this blank if you want to have that minimalist feel.
  2. A Url scheme might drop down as a final prompt, just leave this alone and tap on Done to finish.
  3. Finally, a prompt should open up saying how many icons you have so far. You can either choose to add another icon, which will create another shortcut, or to have your shortcut already made.

This way, you’ll be able to add multiple shortcuts easily. Unlike other methods, using Icon Themer automates a lot of the processes that would otherwise take a lot of time to manually do. Furthermore, being able to make multiple shortcuts before finally adding them all together makes it even more satisfying.

Moving on, here’s how you can finally create and install the shortcuts you just made:

  1. Icon Themer will proceed to download a configured profile based on what you just made. Since it is a third-party app, you will have to give it permission to download. Tap on Allow to continue the process and download your custom shortcut.
  2. When the profile is done downloading, you should be directed to an Install Profile window. Just tap on Install at the top-right corner of your screen. Enter your passcode as it is needed for permissions.

change app icons without shortcuts on ios 14

  1. Almost there! Now you should be directed to a Warning window, proceed and Install the profile on your iPhone.
  2. Finally, the application you made a shortcut for should now be on your home screen.

Congratulations! Tap on the newly made shortcut on your home screen to see the satisfying shortcut in action. These steps might seem long, but once you get used to it, you’ll be able to do this quickly and efficiently.

You might find similar methods on YouTube, but the advantage of these steps is that a lot of your actions are already automated. Icon Themer is a shortcut that generates and downloads another shortcut into your iPhone.

This new shortcut will open your app by processing it through Safari with an HTML code that forces it to open in the installed application instead. Ever notice when you see a prompt that says ‘Open on YouTube?’. This shortcut does exactly that. It opens the application you’re targeting by running an HTML code through Safari to open the app you want.


2. Turn On Reduce Motion.

Now, this is technically a band-aid to a gunshot wound. The Shortcuts app will, unfortunately, still open, but the transition will be quicker. See, what takes up a lot of time when opening apps through the normal ‘Open App’ shortcut is the animation.

These animations will make your experience feel much smoother but can add the slightest bit of delay before fully opening each application. Turning on ‘Reduce Motion’ will reduce these animations, which are purely aesthetic anyway.

Here’s how you can enable ‘Reduce Motion’:

  1. Go ahead and open up your Settings app and go to Accessibility.
  2. Now, navigate to Motion. You should be greeted with a list of visual effects options that are currently running on your iPhone.

change app icons without shortcuts on ios 14

  1. Finally, just tap on Reduce Motion or enable it to reduce the animation that your iPhone generates.

Now, if you decide to just stick to the normal ‘Open App’ shortcuts that you’ve already made, the time it takes to open your apps should be considerably shorter.

Now that you’ve reached the end of the article, hopefully, we’ve helped you change your app icons without Shortcuts on iOS 14. If you have any questions regarding the methods above, please feel free to leave a comment below.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


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