Customize iPhone Without Jailbreaking

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Configuring Spotlight can make this Home screen technique even more efficient. Simply go to Settings > General > Spotlight Search to fine tune the options. By default, Spotlight displays apps at the top of the list. If you only want to see app icons, make sure to turn off searching within apps. This can only be done by turning the feature off for every app in the list. Make sure to leave Siri Suggestions on. This will intelligently pre-select the most appropriate apps when you launch Spotlight. These apps are presented based on usage. For example, if you launch a news app in the morning, Siri Suggestions will display this in Spotlight.

This Home screen arrangement method is not an all-or-nothing deal. Feel free to add a few icons to the Dock or Home screen. Just make sure to leave enough room to swipe down. I’ve found that it’s too easy to inadvertently launch an app when the Home screen is crowded with icons. I’m also tired of looking at icons for the better part of a decade.

Download Fresh Wallpaper

Fresh wallpaper is the cure for the iOS “blahs”. There are myriad sites offering wallpaper for the iPhone and iPad. Simple search for “iPhone wallpaper” on Google to find one. Once you find suitable wallpaper, press and hold your finger down and choose “Save Image” from the pop-up menu. Next, go to Settings > Wallpaper > Choose New Wallpaper and then tap on Camera Roll. Pick your new wallpaper from the Camera Roll and scale and move it as desired. Next, set it as the Lock Screen, Home Screen or Both.

Unfortunately, only Apple can create animated wallpapers. They do this so that third-party developers won’t create something inefficient. Hopefully, Apple will create an API so that third-party developers can create animated wallpapers. Obviously, this is not a high priority, but the animated wallpapers are getting stale. It would have been nice to at least see new options debut with major versions of iOS. Unfortunately, we’ve been stuck with the same old animated wallpapers for a few years now. At best, your custom static wallpaper will benefit from the parallax effect.

Customize Your Keyboard

Apple was a little late in providing access to third-party keyboards. There’s a good reason for this. They needed to make sure that third-party extensions to iOS are stable and secure. With iOS 8, Apple provided a mechanism for third-party developers to offer custom keyboards for iOS. The only drawback is that some of these keyboards store your private information. If you are concerned about privacy, just stick with the stock iOS keyboard.

The App Store offers a variety of third-party keyboards, many of which are free. Keep in mind, they may profit from turning your private information into a product. If that doesn’t bother you, launch the App Store and search for keyboards. Swype is one of the more popular keyboards, enabling rapid text entry by gliding one’s finger across the screen. At 99 cents it may be a good option. Google’s Gboard is free, and I have fewer concerns over what they will do with my personal information. It also offers “glide” typing, similar to Swype.

Once your custom keyboard is installed, tap on Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard and then tap on your preferred third-party keyboard. You can change the order of the keyboards. Tap the Edit button and then change the order of your keyboards. The top one is supposed to be the default keyboard. Tap Done to exit edit mode. If your third-party keyboard doesn’t show up by default, simply tap the switch keyboard button on the default keyboard and select your desired keyboard. next page →

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