Quick Tip: Change iPhone App Icons Without Jailbreak

Blog UNEASYsilence figured out this nifty little way of changing the icons of your iOS apps. It’s simple, works on both Mac (s aapl) and PC, and best of all, you don’t have to jailbreak your device to get it to work. It’s a great way to, say, revert the official Twitter app icon to that of Tweetie 2.

It doesn’t work with official apps (either the default set or Remote.app, etc.), unfortunately, so you won’t be able to completely customize your theme. But at least you don’t have to wait around for developers to change the icons on apps that offer great functionality but dismal aesthetics. Here’s how it works on an iPhone 4:

  1. Install iPhone Explorer (free, Mac/PC).
  2. Plug in your iPhone and launch iPhone Explorer.
  3. Navigate to “phone name/Apps/appname/appname.app,” replacing the italicized values with your own, of course.
  4. Backup the “[email protected]” file you find there by dragging it to a directory of your choice in Finder.
  5. Name your replacement icon (which must be a .PNG file, size 114×114, 72 PPI with no transparency and no layers) “[email protected]” (case-sensitive).
  6. Drag your replacement to that folder in iPhone Explorer, delete the original file, and manually power down and power back up your iPhone.

If you’re using an iPhone 3G or 3GS, instead of looking for and replacing filename “[email protected],” you’ll be working with “icon.png” and your replacement should be 57×57, not 114×114.

iPhone 4 and latest gen iPod touch users can also use this to replace not-so-nice looking icons that haven’t yet been updated for the Retina Display. Just replace the “icon.png” file with a new 114×114-sized version. That’s what I did with the PicPosterous app for the purposes of this article, and it works great, as you can see in the screenshot.

And for nervous users, don’t worry. As you don’t have root access to your device, you can’t accidentally remove any crucial elements of your device’s OS. You also don’t have to worry about those rounded edges on your icons. Just use a square image and iOS will round the corners for you.

What icons are you looking forward to changing?

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