Unleash your creativity: Personalize your iPhone with these tricks!

Unleash the full potential of your iPhone! Erase boring defaults and design your device to reflect your style.


Personalize your iPhone

You can't customize an iPhone as much as you can an Android phone, but there are still ways to make it a piece of art. Serious customization is like installing a brand new home screen out of the box, but we can show you how to get the next best thing.

Set wallpaper on your home screen and lock screens on iPhone

Whether you're using a family photo, a graphic design, or an image from a calendar for an important event, a custom wallpaper has always been the easiest way to put your stamp on a device.

You can add a wallpaper to both your home screen and lock screen – it doesn't have to be the same. It can be a dynamic wallpaper, Live Photo, GIF or TikTok video.

To customize your iPhone wallpaper, go to “Settings” then “Wallpaper” and choose a new wallpaper. Select one of the built-in options or choose something from your camera roll.

One quick note: If you want something super elegant, websites like Zedge and Papers.co have thousands of options to download and use.

Change ringtone for iPhone

Customize your iPhone's ringtone You can still change the sounds it makes when people call or text you.

Go to “Settings” then to “Sounds & Haptics” and select either “Ringtone” or “Text Tone”. Choose one of the default (and boring) options for your iPhone or visit the Tone Store to find something more fun.

You can also set an individual ringtone or text tone for each of your contacts. First, go to the Contacts app and find the person you want to assign a custom ringtone to. Tap Edit, then change the ringtone or text tone from the default to whatever you want.

Discover and customize the iPhone Control Center and Settings

Control Center gives you quick access to some important settings for your iPhone, such as screen brightness, volume, and WiFi. It can also connect you to a limited number of other built-in functions such as an alarm clock, camera, flashlight, notes app, and accessibility shortcuts. The finer things are up to you.

To customize what appears in Control Center, go to Settings, then Control Center. From there, click the green plus sign to add any of the options to your Control Center and use the red minus sign to remove them. Reorder your list by dragging the three lines to the right of each line.

Get quick access to everything with widgets on iPhone

If you want access to more than just a couple of Apple apps, you need to use widgets.

Tools are a feature that any app developer can benefit from. They're small, self-contained versions of apps that either display information, like the current weather or your to-do list, or offer shortcuts, like a quick way to get directions home. Not all apps offer it, but many major apps do.

You can find your widgets by swiping directly on the front page of your home screen, lock screen, or notifications screen. To add one, tap Edit at the bottom of the screen, touch the plus icon at the top right, select the widget you want, and tap Add Widget to put it in place.

With the right combination of apps, you can turn your iPhone's Widget screen into a personalized productivity and information center — showing me my calendar, to-do list, the weather, lots of photography information, and even local tide times.

Control the appearance of notifications

Most of the time, your phone starts beeping notifications, so this is one of the most important things that you can customize in application notifications. If you allow every app to constantly ping you, your phone will be useless.

Go to “Settings” and then to “Notifications”. You'll see a long list of every app that can send you notifications. It's time to go through them one by one.

You can choose to allow notifications or not for each app. For most people, I recommend turning them off completely. If you've decided that you want to allow an app to send notifications, it's time to make a selection.

Under Notifications, select whether you want notifications to appear on the lock screen, Notification Center, and/or as a banner while you use your phone.

Turn notification sounds on or off on iPhone

  • Turn on or off the little red badges that appear in the corner of app icons on your home screen.
  • Select whether you want to show previews of what triggered a notification or something like “New WhatsApp message.”
  • Select how you want notification grouping to work — either by app or chronologically.

You can also set up quiet times when notifications won't appear. Go to “Settings,” then “Focus,” then choose “Do Not Disturb” and add a scheduled time. Personally, I have this all the time.

Change Safari search engine on iPhone

If you're going to stick with Safari, know that you can change your default search engine. Go to Settings > Safari > Search Engine and choose between Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo and a few others.

Change the default keyboard on your iPhone

One of the few things Apple lets you completely change on your iPhone is the keyboard. If you're jealous of Android users who quickly swipe between characters to type, well, you can do that too with a keyboard like SwiftKey.

To enable a new keyboard, you first need to download one from the App Store. Next, go to Settings > General > Keyboards. Click “Add New Keyboard,” and under the list of “Third-Party Keyboards,” select the one you just installed.

Note: Unless you also deleted the virtual keyboard, you can navigate between any keyboard you have enabled by tapping the globe button at the bottom left of each keyboard.

Use a different browser for your iPhone

If you use Google Chrome on your computer, it can be annoying to switch to Safari when using your iPhone. Lose all bookmarks, history and saved details. Fortunately, the fix is simple: just use Chrome or any other browser of your choice on your iPhone.

Now, there are two big caveats here.

  • The Chrome app on the iPhone isn't really Chrome — it's Safari designed to look like Chrome. It syncs your bookmarks and everything else, but because of the way Apple handles web browsers on its phones, you can't install extensions and if you try to use a web app that only works with Chrome, it won't work.
  • Your iPhone will still treat Safari as the default browser. If you click a link in Mail, it will open in Safari and not Chrome. The good news is that more third-party apps are changing this behavior: apps like Apollo for Reddit, Tweetbot, and YouTube let you set a different default browser to open links with.

Some other app options on iPhone

Apps like DraftsLaunch Center Pro, and Apple's own Shortcuts (which started out as a third-party workflow), let you create complex actions that combine features of multiple apps. For example, if you want to tap a button and have your phone text your partner to tell you you're on your way, open Google Maps to navigate to your home, or automatically play your favorite Spotify playlist on Sonos, you can.

Although they're the best way to truly customize how your iPhone works, the downside to these apps is that they have significant learning curves. You must be willing to spend time creating your routines and workflows to get the most out of them.

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