How to customize icons with icon packs

Your phone's home screen can get as wild or tame as you want with these customizations.

custom icons android
Credit: Derek Walter

One of the best ways to tweak the look of your Android homescreen is through custom icons.

Compared to some other methods to change the look of your phone, however, it does take a little more work on your end, particularly if you don’t have a device like the Galaxy S7 or HTC 10 that includes a custom theme store for easy makeovers. 

Here’s what you need to do to get this type of a custom look that’ll make everyone say, “wow, how did you do that?” when they see your phone.

Grab a launcher

In order to change your icons, you should first get a custom launcher. That’s because many of the icon packs, which are separate applications you’ll need to install, require a launcher to work with.

action launcher 3 Greenbot

Action Launcher 3 gives you an impressive number of ways customize your homescreen and works with many different icon packs.

Let’s walk through an example. One of the best launchers you can get is Action Launcher 3. So the first step is to get it from the Play Store. It’s not the only choice, but it’s extremely popular among Android enthusiasts and the developer is constantly adding in improvements.

Go get some icon packs

Now the real fun begins. As I alluded to, you can’t swing a cat through the Play Store without hitting an icon pack. If you want a starter kit, consider Moonrise Icon Pack, Pixel Icon Pack (especially if you want that Pixel look without the phone), Polycon, Click UI, and Urmun

Once you install one, you’ll usually have to select which custom launcher you want it to work with.

icon pack Greenbot

Moonrise Icon Pack gives stark color choices to your home screen.

However, it’s a pretty wide ocean out there. The key is to try out some different packs that you think will look great and see how they turn out. I like to keep an eye on is how recently the app was updated.

If it’s been in the last few months, you know that it’s a pretty active developer who is eager to squash bugs. Icons packs, just as with other applications in general, that sit dormant aren’t worth your time.

The all-in-one method

If you have the right phone or launcher you may be able to bypass hunting for icon packs altogether. Some custom launchers like Apus Launcher have different types of icons that you can use to change without adding in a custom pack.

apus launcher Greenbot

Apus Launcher can change the look of your icons without the need for a separate icon pack.

Additionally, the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, and HTC 10 have their own theme stores that let you install a fresh experience on your phone.

themes and launchers

There are plenty of themes to be found in Samsung’s store that give your phone a stock Android look.

Usually this changes up more than the icons, as the font and some other visual elements will be altogether different. But it’s a less do-it-yourself method if you want to make a new design very quickly. 

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