How to Set Custom Icons for Your Android Apps

Set Custom Icons Android Featured Image

One of Android’s biggest draws is that it offers countless opportunities to customize your device. Case in point, did you know you can create custom icons for any of your Android apps? It’s a pretty straightforward process. This article will show you how to do that on your Android handset.

How to Prepare Your Custom Icon

While there are custom icon packs such out there that you can install from the Google Play Store, users also have the option to create their own icons using images directly from their galleries or from the Web. First, you’ll need to prepare the custom icon you want to use to replace the app’s default icon. You can use any image you have for that.

Method 1: Use an Image

For optimal results, you’ll need to use a square image with a transparent background. You can easily find such samples by searching online, although some users may prefer to use an image from their own gallery. In this case, the image might need a few tweaks before it will be ready for use.

  1. First, you’ll need to remove the image’s background. On your phone or PC, open a browser and navigate to remove.bg. This is a free website that will quickly do the job for you.
  2. Simply upload your picture and allow the program to do its thing. Once the result loads, tap on the download button to get the image on your device.
Set Custom Icons Android Remove Background App
  1. If you’ve selected a source image that isn’t square, you will need to edit it to get it into the desired format. You can do that with any photo editor you have. For instance, you can use the free online editor Pixlr E on your desktop or laptop.
  1. To get started with Pixlr E, upload the image by pressing the “Open Image” button.
Set Custom Icons Android Add Image
  1. Click on the crop icon from the panel on the left.
Set Custom Icons Android Crop
  1. At the top, select the Constraint option Ratio.
Set Custom Icons Android Set Canvas Ratio
  1. Press “Apply.” Now your image has the same height and width parameters .
  2. Save the image by going to “File -> Save,” then proceed to transfer it to your Android phone (if you used your computer to edit).
Set Custom Icons Android Save Resize

If you’re unsure how to do that, please read our article regarding how to transfer files from your computer to your smartphone.

If you would rather do the editing on your mobile, it’s possible to do so. You’ll need an app for that. For instance, you can use the Pixlr app or the Inshot app to resize your image.

Method 2: Use a Pre-Made Icon

If you want your custom icon to look more like a regular icon, you can download a pre-made icon. Sites like Freepik offer countless options for free.

  1. Open Freepik in your browser on your PC or mobile.
  2. Enter a term like “cat” to start searching for relevant icons, and press the magnifying glass.
Set Custom Icons Android Freepik Search
  1. Make sure you tick the “Icons” option on the right side of the display so that the website will show you only icons.
Set Custom Icons Android Freepik Icons
  1. Once you’ve found one you like, download it.

The advantage of this method is that the icon already has a transparent background and is in a square format.

How to Set a Custom App Icon

Now that you have your custom icon, let’s see how you can set it. To create a custom app icon, you’ll need a third-party launcher app like Nova Launcher, which is one of the most popular.

  1. Launch the app and quickly go through the setup stage.
  2. Once you’re done, find the app you want to set a custom icon for and long-tap on it. From the menu that pops up, select “Edit.”
Set Custom Icons Android Nova Edit
  1. Tap on the app icon in the “Edit shortcut” screen.
Set Custom Icons Android Nova Tap Icon
  1. A number of options will become available. Choose “Gallery apps” then tap on the Gallery icon to find the image you previously edited.
Set Custom Icons Android Nova Gallery Apps
  1. If you edited the picture correctly, you’ll be able to easily fit it inside the rectangular crop that shows up.
Set Custom Icons Android Done
  1. Press Done and you should be able to see the new icon on your home screen.
Set Custom Icons Android Own Photo
  1. Alternatively, follow the same steps (#1-#6) and use a pre-made icon instead.
Set Custom Icons Android Pre Made Icon

Note: from the “Edit shortcut” panel, it’s possible to select from the Pixel Pie Icon Pack, which contains some pretty nice custom icon options.

Set Custom Icons Android Pixel Pack

Change Your Mind? Bring Back the Old Icon

If you’ve come to regret your decision and want the app’s old icon back, it’s not a problem.

  1. Long-press on the app icon in question again, “Edit -> Icon image”, and you should see the default icon underneath “Select Theme.”
Set Custom Icons Android Go Back To Default
  1. Tap it and everything should go back to the way it was.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I really need a launcher app to make this work?

If you want to you use your own pictures, yes. However, if you don’t mind using third-party icon packs such as the Pixel Icon Pack mentioned above that is embedded in many Android phones, you don’t have to install a launcher. To use the Pixel pack on your phone, simply long-press on an app icon, “then Edit.” Tap on the icon app just as above, then select from the options, including the Pixel Icon Pack, other preinstalled packs (for instance, OnePlus phones ship with Hydrogen icons on board) or a pack that you installed.

2. What are some of the best free icon packs available?

If you don’t want to use your own gallery to create your custom app icons or simply need some inspiration, a third-party app will help you add a bit of diversity to your Android icons. You can try Icon Pack Studio, which lets you design your own unique icons, or Whicons (and its black twin Zwart), which provides a minimalist approach to app icons. Other interesting icon app packs worth mentioning are Delta and Rondo.

3. Can I change an app’s name as well?

Yes, Android allows you to change an app’s name, too. Just long-press on the app icon and select “Edit.” Use the app name/label field to change it to whatever you want. Finally, press “Save,” and the new name should be displayed under the app icon on your home screen.

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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