iPhones, iTouches, and iPads have four “areas” that can be customized: wallpaper/background, icons, status bar, and dock. While this article discusses just the iPhone, the principles can be applied to the other devices as well.
Creating a new iPhone wallpapers and themes is really pretty easy if you have the right tools. For the new user, though, creating a new layout from scratch might be more trouble than it is worth.
Depending on your level of thrill and patience, this article will help you tap into the best tools for downloading custom themes, and it will also help you create your very own theme.
Before we get started, though, we all have to read and accept the fine print. If you want to install your own theme or a custom designed theme from a third party, you will have to jailbreak your phone.
Jailbreaking is not the same as unlocking the phone, and jailbreaking has its risks. If you are not tech savvy or if you aren’t willing to fork out the cash for a new phone, jailbreaking might not be your best choice. Apple won’t help you if you get stuck because they do not support phones that have been “jailbroken.”
Can My iPhone Be Jailbroken?
Before we carry on toward creating our vision of loveliness on a digital device, let’s explore what can and can’t be jailbroken. iClarified has an awesome and easy to use jailbreaking wizard and diagram to guide you.
If your iPhone can be jailbroken, it’s time to break out the hammer!
How Do I Jailbreak my Phone?
Jackson Chung has written the world’s best tutorial on how to jailbreak your phone. Everything you need to know is covered here, and once you have your phone ready, come on back over here to learn about the best places to get layouts!
What on Earth is a Winterboard?
If you are new to jailbreaking, you might wonder what the terms Winterboard and Summerboard mean. Well, it is quite simple. Apple calls the home screen of an iPhone a “Springboard” because you start there and spring off into the planet of the apps. The Summerboard was the first generation theming application for jailbroken devices and that has now upgraded to the Winterboard.
The folks over at Hack That Phone have awesome tutorials that help you customize each and every pixel of your iPhone. The Winterboard is the genius of Cydia and you need to use their materials to customize your phone (but you knew that because you read Jackson‘s article!). Cydia explains everything you need to know about theming your iPhone, as well.
Do-It-Yourself Theme Building
Step 1: Create Or Select A Wallpaper Image
If you want to create your own look, you can simply use Photoshop or Gimp to create a wallpaper image. Your final image should be saved as a PNG and should be 320px by 480px. You can use any image.
If you want one that has already been created, Theme My Phone has a nice selection of wallpapers, as does AllPhoneWallpapers. You can also check out our articles on uber sweet wallpapers here and here.
Step 2: Create Or Select Icons
If you have images that you would like to use (faces of your kids, flowers, whatever), simply use Photoshop or Gimp to create PNG images that are 57px by 57px. Truly, anything can be made into an icon so long as it stays small.
If you are looking for sweet icons already created for the iPhone, SpeckyBoy has quite a few awesome choices. If you are looking for simple and clean icons, Glyphish and PixelPress have nice ones to download for free, too.
Step 3: Create A Status Bar
While there is only one place that offers status bars for download (iPhone Theme Generator), you can make your own very easily in Photoshop or Gimp. Your design should be simple (because the icons on the phone are teeny tiny), so it is best to stick to one or two colors. Save your image as a PNG that is 320px by 20px.
Step 4: Create A Dock Bar
iPhone Theme Generator is the only place that offers downloadable Dock bars, but you can make your own very easily in Photoshop or Gimp. Like the status bar, the design should be simple, so it is best to stick to one or two colors. Save your image as a PNG that is 320px by 91px.
Handy Checklist For The Do-It-Yourself Creator
Once you have these materials assembled, place them into one folder and follow the directions for using SummerCore (or WinterCore) as listed in the jailbreak articles.
- All files should be saved as PNG
- Wallpaper = 320px by 480px
- Icons = 57px by 57px
- Status Bar = 320px by 20px
- Dock Bar = 320px by 91px
Resources For Layout-In-A-Box
If you don’t want to build from scratch, you can use a dynamite site like the amazing iPhone Theme Generator. Once you’re done, you’ll need an FTP client to transfer the files over to your iPhone. Again, you can refer to Hack that Phone for specific instructions on how to get that done.
How many of you have created your own iPhone wallpapers and themes? Please share your tips in the comments section below!