Customization has always been Android's key strength, from using a custom launcher to changing your device's font and theme settings. Google has continued to build upon this concept, with Android becoming more user-friendly after every new major release. These days, you have much better control over your device experience than in the past. It's now just as easy to tweak and customize your fancy new tablet's icons to match your smartphone. In this guide, we focus on how you can change your app icons to fit your custom theming needs better.
What to know about changing app icons on your Android phone
The stock launcher on most Android smartphones and tablets doesn't support icon packs or changing the app icons, including Google's Pixel launcher. In such cases, you must use a third-party launcher to change how app icons look on your phone. If your phone's stock launcher supports changing app icons, it is unlikely to support third-party icon packs from the Google Play Store.
There's a way to change app icons on the stock launcher of an unsupported Android phone, but it requires a lot more patience than other methods. The time-consuming process involves manually changing each app's icon, which we don't recommend for most users.
How to change app icons on Samsung phones
Samsung's One UI theme manager allows you to change app icons, so you can customize your phone's homescreen as you see fit. However, the One UI theme manager only supports changing the first-party app icons, leading to an inconsistent experience for your other third-party apps.
To change the app icons on your Samsung Galaxy device, do the following:
- Open the Settings menu on your Samsung Galaxy phone.
- Scroll down and select Themes.
- Tap the Icons tab at the bottom. The Featured section displays the app icon packs picked by Samsung, while the Top section shows you the most popular icon packs.2 Images
- Tap the app icon pack you want to try and tap the Download button. Many of these icon packs aren't free. However, you'll find a spot called Top Free Icons if you scroll through the Featured section.
- Tap the Apply button to install the app icon pack.2 Images
Most icon packs from the Galaxy Themes Store require you to purchase them. At the same time, you can give each premium icon pack a test run before buying them by selecting its dedicated Download trial button. Alternatively, you can find free themes by going to the Top section, selecting the All drop-down menu near the upper-left corner, then choosing the Free option.
You must use the One UI Home launcher if you want access to the icon packs from the Galaxy Themes Store, including the ones you purchased. However, they don't work with third-party launchers, so keep that in mind when buying icon packs.
However, using a Good Lock module, you can apply third-party icon packs from the Google Play Store on all apps on your Samsung device. Follow our guide on how to use custom icon packs on Samsung One UI to learn more. This process requires some extra setup steps, but you can always use a third-party launcher with built-in icon pack support.
How to theme app icons on Google Pixel phones
Google's Pixel launcher doesn't support custom app icon packs, but it has themed icons. With this feature, the launcher themes all icons based on the wallpaper colors used by the system's dynamic theming engine.
To apply themed icons on your Google Pixel phone, check out the following:
- Open the Settings app.
- Scroll down and tap Wallpaper & style.
- Enable the Themed icons option by flipping the switch to the on position. All app shortcuts that support icon theming are updated on your homescreen.2 Images
You can also change the Wallpaper colors used by the dynamic theming engine to tweak the look of the themed icons. There are even multiple Basic colors options if you want something more specific.
These themed icons are considered a beta feature, meaning it's still a work in progress. As such, these themed icons only appear on your homescreen. They retain their original look when you open your app drawer.
How to change app icons on your Android phone
Don't worry if your phone's default launcher doesn't support changing the stock icons. That's the case with the majority of Android devices. However, you can use Shortcut Maker to change individual app icons on your phone for first-party and third-party apps just the same. It's a popular alternative method that lets you tweak all the app icons on your homescreen.
Before proceeding with the steps below, download your preferred icon pack from the Google Play Store. This will save you time and allow you to apply your favorite icon pack immediately.
To use Shortcut Maker to create your own custom app icons, check out the following:
- Download Shortcut Maker on your Android device.
- Tap Got it to continue.
- Select Apps.
- Choose the app whose icon you want to change.2 Images
- Tap the Icon section from the settings menu that opens. The available icons for that app from the various icon packs installed on your phone appear under the Available Icons section.
- Select the one you like.
- Customize the app icon's style and theme from the Style and Themed tabs.
- Tap the checkmark in the upper-right corner to confirm your choice.2 Images
- Tap the Create Shortcut button to add the new app icon to your homescreen. Depending on your Android device, you may have to confirm this action by tapping Add from the dialog box.
While Shortcut Maker works to change the app icon on your Android phone, there are better solutions than this one. You can't apply icon packs using it. So, if you want to change the icons of multiple apps, you must do it manually one by one.
Also, Shortcut Maker creates a new app shortcut with the app icon, and its changes are limited to that shortcut. This means you continue seeing the original app shortcut with its original logo in your phone's app drawer, leading to another inconsistent experience.
Use third-party launchers to apply icon packs easily
Consider using a third-party launcher with built-in icon theme support to avoid the extra leg work from the other methods. The best Android launchers allow for custom icon packs, enabling you to theme your device easily. Combined with the best icon packs on the Google Play Store, you can change the look of the app icons on your phone with a few simple taps. And unlike the stock home launcher on most Android phones, third-party launchers can change the icons of both first-party and third-party apps.
The steps to change your app icons vary depending on the custom home launcher you use. But the general guidelines remain the same. You need to download an icon pack from the Google Play Store that you want to apply and then check out the launcher's settings menu. Afterward, you'll select the custom icons option and activate the icon pack.
How to change app icons in Nova launcher
- Long-press an empty area of your Nova launcher homescreen.
- Tap Settings.
- Select Look & feel.
- Tap Icon style.2 Images
- Choose Icon theme.
- Select the icon pack that you'd like to apply. This automatically changes all the app icons on your phone.
- Go to the Icon style menu to find additional options that tweak the app icons' style and shape.2 Images
- Go to your Nova homescreen to see the changes.
If you want to change the icon of a particular app on your Nova homescreen, follow these steps:
- Long-press the app icon you want to change.
- Tap the Edit button to begin.
- Tap the app icon.2 Images
- Select the icon pack from which you want to apply the icon.
- Select the icon you want to apply.
- Once you're all set, tap Done to finish up.
- The app icon is updated with your new look.2 Images
Changing individual app icons in Nova Launcher is a handy feature when you are looking to mix and use two or three icon packs together. It gives you a seamless and fully customizable theme unique to your device, allowing you to create any number of possibilities.
The steps to apply an icon pack or change individual app icons are mostly the same across all third-party launchers, so this isn't unique to Nova Launcher. We're using Nova Launcher since it's one of the most popular third-party homescreen launchers on the Google Play Store.
Customize your Android's homescreen with custom app icons and widgets
Custom app icons are a great way to customize your Android phone's homescreen when looking for something different. It lets you personalize the look and feel of your device as you want, allowing you to create an experience that's unique to you. Changing the icon pack and overall system theme can work wonders. There are various methods to change the app icons on your device, but using a third-party launcher is the one we recommend. They typically come with a custom icon pack feature right out of the box. No extra setup is required.
Apart from using custom app icons, check out the best and most useful Android widgets to further enhance your homescreen experience. From making your own widgets to checking the news, we cover a little bit of everything.