One common question, even a problem, with iPhones, is that the mass of application icons on each page is ‘top justified’, i.e. everything huddles together and sticks to the top of a page. Aside from icons reshuffling when you move, install or remove an application, it’s overload for the eyes, I contend. Far better to have some decent organization and also ‘room to breathe’. Visually. Have a look at the screenshot below and you’ll see what I mean – compare it to your own iPhone home screen and hopefully, you’ll be wondering ‘how on earth did he do that?’
It’s a little trick, but it’s simple enough to do and can be employed in seconds on any home screen. Is there a catch? Well, only one, in this simplified tutorial anyway – you’d need to switch to using a plain black home screen wallpaper (only on the home screen, not the lock screen, note), as shown above. Sounds dull, but on the iPhones that have an AMOLED screen in particular, the ‘infinite black’ background actually looks stunning.
If you’re particularly inclined towards a fancier wallpaper then you can still make progress, by the way. A couple of years ago we linked to an Internet page offering custom dummy icons for specific spots in an uploaded wallpaper of your choice and this system still works, but it’s way, way fiddlier, and you have to have your layout all worked out ahead of time. Much simpler, at least while playing with the idea, is to go ‘all black’ and feel your way into where you’d like the gaps!
In my case, in the screenshot above, I wanted to give the eye a break halfway down the main home screen, in particular leading the eye (and finger!) to the main app groups that I use daily. It’s quick and elegant.
Just as with the linked (old) article above, the core idea is to make use of iOS’ facility add a Safari bookmark to a home screen, with the icon used being the ‘favicon’ of the appropriate page. (‘Favicons’ are the little logos that appear in desktop browsers on the left of the URL bar.) And, in this case, there are several web pages set up by developers that deliberately offer an ‘all black’ favicon, for just this type of gentle hack.
How to Add Blank Icons on iPhone Home Screen
The one I recommend here is https://david-smith.org/blank.html. Hyperlinked in case you’re reading this in Safari and want to open it in a new tab, etc. to get started.
- Open up the link and then tap on the ‘Share’ icon in the middle of your iPhone’s Safari toolbar:
- Swipe up until you see ‘Add to Home Screen’ and tap this:
- You’ll see the black icon shape and a blank ‘name’ in the top field. Tap on ‘Add’ at the top right of the screen:
- At the end of your real app icons on your last home screen, you’ve now got an ‘invisible’ entry. Long press on any of your icons and tap on ‘Rearrange Apps’ to set things jiggling and also see the blank icon for real (with a ‘remove’ cross in its corner’) – you’ll get the idea if I do the same on my main example – see the blanks I’m using?:
- Drag it to your desired home screen (usually the first one, if you’re copying my example), into position, and then tap on ‘Done’!
Now, you’ll have your own ideas for layout – if you wanted to copy what I’ve done and have an entire blank row then you’ll obviously need four blank icons. Switch back to Safari and use ‘Add to Home Screen’ as many times extra as needed – you’ll quickly get the hang of it. And note that you don’t even have to remember the URL since tapping any of the blanks, later on, takes you to the source page, ready for making duplicates via the same method.
I wouldn’t recommend this technique for an absolute iOS beginner, but I think the black-backed system here is workable for almost anyone else. The original linked article required very detailed planning and I’d been warned off it by others as being ‘far too fiddly’, so hopefully my simpler system and set-up will appeal!
Feel free to share your own blank-enabled home screen setups below in the comments!