iOS 14 custom icons can slow down your iPhone — what to do

iOS 14 custom app icons slow down
(Image credit: Future)

Apple's recent release of iOS 14 has brought on a wave of tips on how to make custom iPhone widget and app icons. But those very cool and personalized custom app icons can slow down your iPhone significantly. Why can't we have nice things?!

We can — with a bit of a workaround. 

First, iPhone custom app icons are made using the Shortcuts tool. Essentially, when creating a Shortcut, you can set up an icon for any app from Mail to Clock to TikTok. Many iPhone users have been creating themed app icons for unique iOS 14 home screen ideas.

Where does the slow down come in? When you tap a custom app icon, it actually opens the Shortcuts tool first, then opens the actual app you want to use. So, below, when we tap on the custom Chrome icon, it takes an extra second or so to actually open Chrome.

iOS 14 custom apps slow open

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It's not the end of the world, just slightly annoying. Apple never intended Shortcuts to be used this way, so this is the price to pay for having a custom aesthetic for your iPhone home screen. 

BUT. There are a couple ways to have it all — beautiful iPhone home screen and lightning fast access to apps. 

How to make custom app icons faster

There are two main methods of working around how slowly custom app icons open the actual apps. 

The first is to avoid the Shortcuts tool at all. 

  • Find apps in the App Library by swiping left until you reach the last page of the Home screen.
  • Use the App Switcher by swiping up and holding slightly, then swiping through open apps.
  • Search for apps in the Spotlight tool by swiping right on the Home screen.
  • Make a "basic page" housing regular versions of your favorite, most-used apps on the last page of the Home screen.

The other way to minimize the Shortcuts opening is a trick we found on TikTok, from user tylermaechaelle.

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility.
  2. Tap to open the Motion setting.
  3. Slide on Reduce Motion.

This will slightly reduce the transition time from Shortcuts to the app. Compare the app opening time below to the one above:

ios 14 custom apps opening slightly faster

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Will Apple make custom app icons faster?

While Apple may not have foreseen the customization trend that's popped up with the release of iOS 14, it's here and it's happening. Hopefully, Apple figures out a way to add custom apps icons and themes in an official way that doesn't slow down your iPhone. Or it releases a fix to make the Shortcuts tool faster. 

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.