Customization is probably one of the biggest reasons people jailbreak their iDevices, I know personally I love the ability to make my iPhone mine. There are endless possibilities for customizing you device starting from the smallest things such as battery themes to full blown all out UI custom themes. There is a plethora of themes to choose from on Cydia and all of them are beautiful in there own right. Some of them are free and some you have to pay for. In my experience the paid themes are usually worth the money because they are 100% original and are normally a work of art.

I have recently got into building themes which started of as just graphical but I soon realized that it went a lot deeper. I started learning a little HTML and .css (style sheets that simplify HTML) and springboard strings, just to name a few non graphical modifications that can be made. I soon had created my own complete theme, Carbon OS which has a lot of extras (and is available in Cydia).

I thought I would share some easy and effective methods for learning to build these themes in case you guys want to get into doing it too. I have compiled a small list of things you will need to do so and some pointers to help you get started. First things first though lets make sure we have a jailbroken device with Winterboard installed and have the ability to SSH into your device. If you need help with any of this check out our forums or our jailbreak section on this blog. Now on to what you need.

Photo editing software

You will need a good program like Photoshop to do the majority of your graphics. The best way to learn using this program is experiment to your hearts content. I downloaded some themes and opened up the .psd files to dissect what the other themers were doing to make there graphics so beautiful. Once you get familiar with the program try it out and make your own theme. Start small and go from there.

A standard text editor

All Pc’s and Macs come with something like Notepad or TextEdit, which is perfect for this. You will use this if you are going to have weather clock widgets/animated lock screens or wallpapers. This is also how you will edit the springboard strings. This will allow you to edit the text on the spring board (slide to unlock, answer,etc…). There are complete list that tell you what is what everywhere on the net.

An imagination

Pretty sure everyone has one of these, seriously though this is the single biggest element for customizing anything. The good news is if you can dream it up you can probably create it in a good photo/paint program. I have seen so many themes that are unique in their layouts and icons, well the whole UI for that matter , it really is amazing what you can do with these things. Some special themes may require a slight bit of recoding but that is something you will want to take on later down the road if interested.

How many of you out there are modding or customizing your iDevices? I think it is an awesome way to become more familiar with these devices and unlock the artistic potential you have inside of yourself. If you make themes already don’t be afraid to show them off in our theme section in the forums, or just pop in to take a look around.

  • Eugenius

    I thought this was gonna be a tutorial but it just lists that you need a text editor, photo software and imagination. I think that’s rather obvious. Either way, now what?

  • Burge

    One of the first posts that I read on this site was that you ( Seb ) didn’t like themes. What has made you change you mind ? Ps stereo leopard is still the best

    • Eddy

      This is written by fate.. Not sebastian

      • Burge

        Sorry didn’t read the name at the top

  • ZeroCool

    Guys if possible, post detailed information about files,libs, apps. And also such information like how to compile c,c++,java,python and obj c on iphone itself, build iphone app using iphone, php sql ….
    I am freshman student of c.s. Learning programming on iphone would be awesome.(i think there are many people interested in such topics) Infos, descriptions about those exist on some sites. But those are not very detailed and not organized well. is very well organized and has very descriptive posts (Tnx Sebastien for this nice blog). i would be very appreciated if you guys post about such topics.

  • I will follow this up with a how to guide to cover the basics of theme creation. Thanks guys 🙂

  • sleeplessdwarf

    I just bought this theme and can not for the life of me get the apps to line up like the pic. I have left only 4 apps per page and they still want to just stack. Could the author or anyone else using this theme give me a clue what Im doing wrong?

    • Albion

      Sorry sleep.
      Can’t get anything more
      Besides those four apps out
      Of the theme. That’s because the developers can’t and don’t
      Have time or they are just jerk offs and don’t want to dedicate hours and hours of work of doing everything wright, even of that’s a paid app

  • @ sleeplessdwarf, you have to set the theme up using iblanks.

    1. make sure the theme is turned off for setup. it makes it tons easier
    2. make three blanks for every app you have on springboard. If you have alot of apps I would recommend using categories (from cydia) and consolidate some of your apps into folders. I will make you icons just let me know what you need. send requests to my email You just need to tell me exactly how you named the category folder.
    3.Set up is really easy just put 3 blanks per line and make sure the third space is the icon. (see diagram below)


    x x app x
    x x app x
    x x app x
    x x app x….ect ect

  • Z

    I believe we should not forget that a lot of apps/tweaks have changed with ios4 and, therefore, need to be updated to ios4.

    For example fiveirows doesn’t work on ios4, fiveicon-springboard doesn’t either. And those are very commonly used in lots of themes.

    Anyone know any tweaks for fitting more icons on your springboard?

    • how do I jailbreak ma iPod 3G 4.0.2 ?