How-to: Customize app icons
Palm’s webOS icons are some of the cleanest and best-looking in the mobile space. That said, have you ever come across an app you loved but couldn’t quite come to terms with what the developer was (or wasn’t) thinking when it came to the icon for that app? Or have you just felt the need to add a little customization to the look of your launcher by adding your own icons? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions then this how-to is for you.
Customizing, switching, and experimenting with the icons on your webOS device isn’t the most complicated process out there, but it’s not a simple one- or two-step processed. Consider this to be an “advanced tip,” if you will, as there are additional requirements apart from just having the phone needed to make customized app icons happen. You’ll need Internalz and the accompanying File Manager Service to make this happen (both are available through WebOS Quick Install, Preware, or your other favorite homebrew install method). It also requires a little Homebrew know-how, but is otherwise, rather simple. For the sake illustrating this technique we’ll replace the icon from the very popular homebrew Music (Remix) with the icon from the very cute Cutest Kitten from the Palm app catalog. Both apps, for what it’s worth, feature excellent icons - this is just an illustration of icon swapping and customizing.
Step 1: Get an icon
Find an icon you like from one of various sources. In most cases any app available for download from official Palm App Catalog or from the Homebrew app gallery are candidates for icon mixing and matching. Just make sure the app with the icon you intend to use as your “replacement icon” has been installed on your device. (I recommend icons from other webOS ready apps as they are already correctly sized and formatted for icons, although most any properly sized png file will work, so if you want to go custom that’s always an option.)
Step 2: Copy the icon
Fire up Internalz, navigate through the file trees to find the app folder which contains the icon you want to use as your new replacement icon. Note that while this may sound difficult to locate the app folders and their icons, all downloaded and installed apps on a webOS devices are stored in the same location. So once you’ve found one app folder, you’ve found them all. To quickly locate app folders using Internalz file manager tap the home icon in the upper right of the main Internalz app screen, and then navigate the folder trees as follows; /media, /cryptofs, /apps, /usr, /palm, /applications. Each forward slash “/” just represents a new folder in the navigation tree.
Step 3: Replace the icon
Once the replacement icon you want to use for another app is located, tap the png file, which will bring up a menu. Tap the “copy” option and you will be asked what folder you want to copy the png file to. Using the same navigation tree, navigate to the app folder for the app whose icon you are going to replace and select it. You will (probably) see a message that asks if you want to “Overwrite” the existing icon.png file. Select “yes.” Don’t worry, you’re only overwriting the file of the same name/extension in the app folder. The icon.png file has no effect on the function of the app itself.
Step 4: Restart
Lastly, don’t worry, very little can go wrong in this process. If by chance you install an incompatible png file or unintentionally do something wrong along the way you will get Palm’s “half moon-no icon” icon. Just try the process again. If all else fails, a worse case scenario would only require you to reinstall the app with the missing icon. We should note that you will have to repeat this process after any app update, as the new version of the app will overwrite your custom icon with the stock icon.
It may seem a little complex, but after experimenting just a little you will never have to settle for a lack-luster icon ever again. For the record, as much as I like cute kittens I’ll be switching back to the stock Music (Remix) icon, as it happens to be one of my favorite icons.
Note: Typically icon files are all named the same. Within an app’s main folder you will usually see a file called “icon.png,” with an occasional “default-icon.png” and less common with the app name-icon or totally original file name altogether. All icons, however, are png files and are located in the main app folder for any given app (not subfolders). If you’re not sure if a png file is the correct icon file, you can always check to see if you have the right file by tapping the file and selecting “open” which will display the png file image just like any photo image is previewed.