August 20, 2011

Changing icons on your iPad (w/o jailbreaking)

I'm a fan of Note Taker HD, but not of the new icon introduced in v6—whenever I see it, I can't help but think of a severed hand. IOS doesn't yet allow endusers to change app icons and I'm not interested in the stability problems that can come with jailbreaking. However it is possible to change an app's icon without jailbreaking…

You can overwrite the icon.png file used by your app to display its icon on your ipad. And after you do this, the new icon will not be overwritten by subsequently syncing with iTunes.

I used the commercial OS X app, Phoneview by ecamm, but you could also use a free app such as Macroplant's iPhone Explorer for Mac or PC.
  • Connect your iPad to your computer via USB
  • Locate the app whose icon you wish to change
  • Overwrite the icon.png file within the app, with your desired replacement icon.png
  • Power off the iPad (hold down the power on/off key until the red slider appears)
  • After you restart your iPad, your app should now appear with its new icon:

  • If you have a problem, you can always delete the app off your iPad and re-download it from iTunes. 
  • When the app developer releases a new version, you will need to re-overwrite the icon.png file.

P.S. If you're a fan of NTHD, but not of its new icon, please give author Dan Bricklin some feedback. And here's a replacement icon.png file—nothing special, just less objectionable—right-click, select Download Linked File, and follow the instructions above.

Details if using Phoneview:
  • Using the $20 Phoneview OS X app, after connecting your iPad via USB, this is the icon.png file to overwrite within the Note Taker HD app:

Details if using freeware iPhone Explorer:
    • Alternatively, using the freeware iPhone Explorer OS X app, after connecting your iPad via USB, requires more steps to locate the icon.png file within the Note Taker HD app. 
    First Select the "Apps" directory:

    Then Select "Note Taker HD" directory:

    Then Select

    Scroll down to find the icon.png file to overwrite:

    N.B. In the PC version of iPhone Explorer, in order to locate an iPad app, you need to know the name of the publisher of the app, e.g. in the case of Note Taker HD: com.softwaregarden.NoteTakerHD