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How to customize app icons on Android (Step-by-step)

How to customize app icons on Android

As soon as you start trying out the available customization features on Android, you’ll most likely want to change the app icons on your phone. Luckily, this can be done in a few simple steps and there are many icons available.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to customize the icons on your Android so you can make your phone look just as you like.

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A Preview of Changing App Icons on Android Devices

Before we dive into how to change your app icons, there are some important things you should know about how Android app icon customization works.

Like many other Android guides, the steps can differ from one android device to another. 

The most important factor is the default launcher on your Android phone; the ones included with some Android phones do not support custom icons. An instance of this is the Pixel Launcher on Google’s first-party phones.

The most simple way to change your phone app icons is by installing a new launcher with this functionality and setting it up. In this guide, we’ll be focusing on this method, but we’ll outline a few other options as well.

Download Android Icon Packs

This is the first step in customizing your Android phone icons; simply download an icon pack.  You’ll find many available on Google Play Store for free or at a small cost, and they usually contain hundreds of icons you can apply to your apps.

To check them out, go to the Play Store and search for “icon” or “icon pack.” Grab as many packs as you like, noting that some may cost a little amount.

In case you don’t know which one to choose from the options, you should check out our favorite free Android icon packs. It’ll give you some ideas. Moonshine is an excellent option.

Although you can create your icons, this is however more advanced and should be left for later, after you’ve mastered the basics.

Install Icons to Your Launcher

Lots of Android icon pack apps have a set of handy features within them, such as previewing the icons by category, requesting new icons for apps that don’t have one yet, and offering wallpapers that match your device theme.

However, the most effective tool is automatically installing the app icons to your current launcher. For instance, both Moonshine and Juno have an Apply tab. 

There, click on the launcher you use and it will apply the icon pack. If you select a launcher that hasn’t been installed on your device, a prompt will show up to download it.

In case you don’t have a launcher that supports custom icons, you should install one now. We’ve checked out the best Android launchers; for many people, Nova Launcher is an excellent all-around option, so try that if you aren’t sure.

After installing Nova (or another supported launcher), go to the app and walk through the initial setup. Then you have to set the new launcher as your default so it’s the home screen you always see. 

You can set Nova as your default by going to its settings menu and tapping the Not set as default text at the top, or by going to Settings > Apps > Default apps > Home app and choosing your new one.

Now you can set your icon pack. In the icons app, you downloaded, navigate to Apply, and select Nova. 

The Nova’s interface will open and ask if you want to apply the icon pack. Confirm, and they’ll be applied.

How to Change App Icons on Android Individually 

Applying icon packs to the entire suite of apps on your Android is convenient. It also results in a unified visual theme. But if you don’t want to set them all at once, you can change app icons one by one. To do so, you’ll need an icon pack and a launcher that allows you to change icons as we explained earlier.

To change individual Android app icons in Nova, for instance, long-press any app icon on your Android home screen (to change a shortcut) or go to the app drawer (to change the main app icon) and select Edit. In the resulting menu, click on the current app icon to select another.

You’ll see Common icons at the top; these match the app in question. To select another, from the list, pick an icon pack. Then you can select anything it contains as your icon. Most icon packs have icons for common apps, including more general ones you can apply to apps by category.

Click on Done when you’re satisfied, then repeat this process for every app you’d like to customize.

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How to Customize Android App Icons on a Samsung Device

In case you’ve got a Samsung device, the process is quite similar to other Android versions. However, you should also know that Samsung offers its theme store. 

Open the Galaxy Themes app, or tap the Themes entry in the Settings app, to launch Samsung’s theme shop. Use the Icons heading to browse available icon packs, which may differ from what Google Play Store offers.

You can apply icon packs through the Samsung store after you’ve downloaded them, or you can click on the three-line menu button in the top-left of the app and select My stuff > Icons. Here you can select a downloaded icon pack and apply it.

Most icon packs you obtain on a Samsung device with this method will only have new icons for stock apps and Samsung’s apps. To get unique icons for everything else on your Android phone, you’ll have to use a method like the above.

How to Change Android App Icons Without a New Launcher

As we’ve seen, it’s easy to download lots of new Android icons and apply them to any launcher of your choice. Still, if you prefer your current launcher and you don’t want to stop using it, there’s another way to change your icons.

Before you can use this method, you’ll need to install an app that allows you to set custom Android app icons. 

Shortcut Maker is an excellent option for this, as it’s one of the best Android shortcut apps. Another option is X Icon Changer, but it’s not as intuitive and has annoying ads.

Open Shortcut Changer, then choose Apps to create a new app shortcut. Select the app you want to pick a new icon for, then choose Icon on the next screen to customize its look. 

Under Icons, you’ll see icons that match the app from any icon packs you have installed. 

Tap an icon pack name to choose from another one in its library. For something different, try the Style or Themed tabs to tweak the icon in other ways.

If you’re okay with it, click on the check icon to proceed. Change any other options as you wish, then click on Create shortcut. 

To move the icon to a location of your choice on the home screen, touch and hold it then move, or tap Add to Home screen to do so automatically.

On Android 8 and newer, there’ll be a shortcut icon on the new item you made. To get around this, just create a widget shortcut to the app instead; click on Remove on the Shortcut Maker screen for instructions.

Although this method won’t change the major app icon, it still allows you to customize the icons that appear on your home screen.

Changing App Icons on Android now Made Easy

You now know how to fine-tune those old icons on your Android device. 

Changing those old icons could be just what your Android phone needs to look and feel new again, and you could even have a new launcher to customize too. 

In case you don’t know there are many other ways to customize your Android phone if you indeed want to personalize your device.

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