iOS 8 theming (Hamza Sood 001)iOS 8 theming (Hamza Sood 002)

There’s no doubt that Apple for the first time in iOS history is opening up its mobile operating system by giving developers the tools to create previously unheard-of features like custom iOS 8 keyboards, new filters for the Photos app, custom Share sheet actions and several other types of App Extensions.

It would also appear that Apple is testing a feature that would allow end users to choose alternate looks for the iOS 8 user interface with different font types, custom color schemes and more.

This could be a huge boon to tinkerers and a great selling point because never before has Apple allowed people to customize the iOS look and feel without jailbreaking their devices…

As discovered by developer Hamza Sood, the image of iOS 8 UI customization he shared on Twitter (and seen top of post) is “100 percent real”. He conceded in another tweet that he has “no idea why Apple made this.”

If you’re an iOS developer, check this out yourself by enabling the ‘UIUseAlternateUI’ global preference in the iOS 8 UI kit on your development device.

The images he shared depict an iOS 8 with a different typeface for UI lists, menus and Home screen icons and an alternate color scheme using orange and purple shades.

iOS 8 theming (Hamza Sood 003)iOS 8 theming (Hamza Sood 004)

As the images attest, customization features go far beyond iOS’s native Accessibility settings.

Another iOS developer, Steve Stroughton-Smith chimed in opining that this could be a developer-only feature to debug labels and tint colors that may not be hooked up right, to which Hamza replied that “these are global UIKit hooks” and as such wouldn’t really help debug much because it “changes all tints indiscriminately.”

While this could be nothing more than a hook for an internal feature allowing Apple’s designers to test various UI schemes, it’s inclusion in the first build of iOS 8 Beta is either a gross oversight on Apple’s part or a taste of things to come.

Maybe this is one of the features that didn’t make the cut in iOS 8.

iOS 8.1, perhaps?

I, for one, would very much appreciate the ability to customize the aesthetics of iOS 8.

Raise hands who’d love basic theming support in iOS 8. And if Apple allowed this – and taking into account iOS 8’s new extensibility features – would you still jailbreak?

  • Mike M. Powell

    Damn apple!!!!! GG UiColors/Eclipse

  • Madhu Renduchintala

    How do I get there?

    • milesper

      I wish someone would explain. I can see a developer menu in the settings, but no uikit

  • Dan

    Nice, they are finally opening up. They must of seen that it works for android.

    • SteveZ

      No, it doesn’t.

      • Dan

        Yes, it is. If android has anything going for it is the fact that you can customize it to you liking. It is also a weakness though, since uninformed people will install just about anything they find, ie malware. At least with iOS the garden will still be walled, so safer.

        Thanks for providing a valid argument though, you really stretched my mental muscle.

      • SteveZ

        Comments like this always act as if the self-claimed smartass really has any mental muscle.

      • Dan

        This coming from the guy who didn’t bother to elaborate on his opinion.

      • hush

        why should he? it’s his opinion anyway.
        To me that (pseudo) openness that Android is so famous about is like cancer and makes me stay away from the OS. I admit though OS itself is good. Nexus is good. Having pushed s..itload in the face from at least 3 different parties is not. Let me elaborate on the s..itload thing:
        1. You get all the google service preinstalled although you might not want some of them. Anyway google phone is for googlers so that should be bearable.
        2. Manufacturers shit: all the S apps from Samsung, all the Q apps from LG and so on. You can argue on this one since some of them actually provide nice features. But I can argue how many of these are actually usable and not gimmick. (and usually already have an equivalent google service.. )
        3. Carriers! Enough said here.
        Now combine all that openness with google play that I see as a massive strangers orgy nobody wearing condoms.
        Fascinating. Dream ecosystem for the average user. The same average user who would only download Facebook, whatsapp and snapchat, because they are afraid of “breaking” their phone.
        Leading to more lousy developers .. since they aren’t getting paid enough. And don’t get me started on the piracy issues.
        No wonder cool apps always come first on iOS.
        Since I elaborated enough and I stretched my “mental muscle” more than enough shall we put an end to this? Since it’s all personal opinion and all the stretching won’t help either of us reach orgasm all is pointless.
        Just reply back with another dumb pic.. or maybe this time a gif so I know you’re doing well.

      • Dan

        When replying to someone and going against their opinion, it’s usually common sense to at least say why (wall of text not required). Reason being why I replied to his smartass comment. Good day to you.

  • Mohsin

    Can you update this wallpaper please?

  • Jeffrey

    That’s……… A bit non-Apple…

    • Jonathan

      And it should be. They need to open themselves up.

      • Sokrates

        And be like Android?

      • Joostiphone

        No, that would be to much and IMO android is unsafe. I like the sand boxing in iOS 8. This feature can be just as safe as that.

      • Ishaan Malhotra

        just by allowing a wee bit of customization, wont turn it into android. its like changing the wallpaper of the UI instead of the Homescreen

      • Shadowelite123

        To be even better

      • Jeffrey

        I don’t think so, Apple made an OS for people to use, not to change the way it looks…

      • Jonathan

        Apple should make an OS for people to use, and customize. Just sayin’.

      • Jeffrey

        Yeah well I think some things should be customizable but not the whole look of it

      • Jonathan

        Agreed. Just Eclipse and Winterboard capabilities, and I’m happy. 😀

      • Jeffrey

        Yeah I guess that’d be okay… Still wouldn’t change the look of iOS though:P

      • Enzo Zenuni

        I agree with Jeffrey. I think ios 8 should allow for different shade themes. This all white and colorful icons looks like child’s play for me. I rather have something more serious and darker shades in my opinion. With the window being open here for developers I see these options slowly coming into play.

    • Anmol Malhotra

      4th best comment seen 😀
      Hi :p 😀 How are you bro? 😉

      • Iknowit

        Hey good man just stroking some dick. You???

      • Jeffrey

        That’s……… A bit non-heterosexual…

      • Jeffrey

        Lol thanks hahah:) I’m fine thanks, you too?:)

      • Anmol Malhotra

        I’m fine too 🙂
        So , what’s up bro? 🙂

      • Jeffrey

        Hahah not much man!

      • Anmol Malhotra

        You’re from? Sorry I forgot to ask it earlier 😀

      • Jeffrey

        The Netherlands, you?

      • Anmol Malhotra

        The India 🙂
        You know India right?

      • Jeffrey

        Ah, yeah ofcourse hahah

  • Oh man, I would love if I could have ayeris on my iPhone natively

    • Adam

      my thoughts exactly… Ayeris in the App Store

  • jgr627

    And another blow to the jail brake community long live stock iOS

  • Madhu Renduchintala

    Anyone have any idea of how to access those features? I’m on iOS 8 beta 1 now.

  • Bkfraiders7

    Just let me shrink the icons and have 5 in a row and I’d be extremely happy

  • Nabil El Hajjouti

    Nah, you can keep your customization options, Apple. Not for me.

  • originalmagneto

    Ho do I activate the developer menus?

  • Cristian Bustillo

    Apple is really trying to limit people from Jailbreaking. I for one will still jailbreak but others might ditch it.

  • Jacob Galea

    Get a dark mode first

    • justme

      I want it too

  • I’ve said from the beginning that it’d be great for both Apple and end users if they introduced custom themes in the App Store (or a Theme Store), not only would it make Apple and devs a lot of money, it’d take some of the heat off Apple to keep iOS refreshed with a new look since people could just buy a complete new theme.

  • MHCsk

    Nah, too big feature for .1 update. Maybe in iOS 9/ iOS 10. Great news though.

    • Ethan Humphrey

      I think iOS 10 should be called iOSX 🙂

  • Joostiphone

    If this happens I do not longer need a jailbreak. Seriously.

    I wonder however, how would someone install the themes on the iDevice? Thru the AppStore or something?

  • Sokrates

    Please don’t Apple, this goes too far.

    • iPodDroid

      So? If they open this up, I don’t have to do anything, it’s only for the people who want to customize their devices.

    • So what, Apple shouldn’t listen to what the consumers want?

  • sosarozay300

    this stuff is only accessible once you jailbreak and install hiddensettings

  • Ishaan Malhotra


  • mickey

    Love how people say “it’s too much like android”. Since when is choice a bad thing? Especially ironic on a site that has much in depth coverage of jailbreaking. Thank god for android because ios8 probably wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. Competition is finally giving many of us what we wanted for years although not unrestricted but refined in Apple’s way.

  • Mago

    Anyone know what font is that?

  • mlee19841

    They should just implent their own store for customizing. As in changing fonts, and themes. Then they could control what goes in and out. They also could update it as they wish.

  • James Gunaca

    All these reference to “perhaps 8.1?” are annoying. Dammit Apple, just package everything we want in 8.0 and roll it out!

    • It’s a matter of time. A lot of the iOS team got pulled away to work on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, therefore, the effort on iOS 8 is way less. It’s just a matter of balancing the teams to get more user-friendly features.

      • James Gunaca

        Even with that balancing act, they still pulled off a shit load of work on iOS 8 & OS X 10.10 in just a year. If iOS 7 was rushed to completion, they kept their pace to unveil all that they did at WWDC. So, kudos to them. I’m just a hungry consumer.

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    I hope this is true

  • Matt Taylor

    I have been saying this since the start. Why should everybody have to use the same UI color (Blue) for every app? What if you hate blue, what if you have a personality and you want to make your phone your own, even just slightly… I am the type of person that hates 99.9% of Cydia themes as I think they’re tacky and ugly making a quality os look like a piece of android crap! We all use iOS because we love it, and as far as iOS7/8 is concerned, who doesn’t like neutral colors system wide (White), but people deserve to choose the contrasting UI colors so they can keep the iOS look but add personality to their stock apps!

    Apple brings out the iPhone 5c with the claim that they support diversity in there customers and they also claim to be a new age “cool” company that supports and encourages creativity, flare and diversity, yet every single one of there customers are forced to use the exact same color scheme… Lol. And the thing that bothers me the most… It’s easy for Apple to implement it! If they want to stop people from Jailbreaking, they will have to start by giving us our diversity back!

  • eminem10

    If this means I can have an ayeris themed ui I’m all for it

  • E Jom

    Theming will be released in IOS 9 you fools

  • Cooles

    what a font is this?

    • Guest

      Dude, read the article

  • Donovan

    Cool idea? Yes.
    Jailbreak killer? No.
    I mean, Springtomize. That’s far more amazing than this little piece of customization. Give me springtomize in stock iOS and I might even let the jailbreak pass. iOS7 jailbreak tweaks/themes aren’t what it used to be anyway.

  • Tomo

    I’m fine with all this just as long as it doesn’t turn into a difficult to use, slow, laggy, cluserfuck piece of garbage like Android.

    • -1 You must have tried a potato then. Try a Nexus 5 or an HTC one and it won’t be “difficult to use, slow and laggy”

      • Tomo

        I have and it was. My friend owns an HTC one. He wants an iPhone.

      • It’s so easy to make false claims. Proof or it’s a lie.

    • Android is…just awful. It truly is garbage.
      “Oh, you just got your phone a week ago? That sucks, because our next update isn’t compatible with your phone. Sure your phone can run the new features and sport the new UI, but we want you to buy a new phone instead.”
      “Oh you bought your iPhone 3 years ago? It’ll look amazing when you get the new iOS this coming Fall.”
      I’m not trying to oppose to Android, but Android does cover 99% of mobile malware.

      • Only applies if you got a $0 on contract phone.

      • Tomo

        Who cares about malware and updates? I’m more worried about how damn slow and laggy the OS is, and complicated. Simple tasks take much longer.

        Put 8 cores and 4GB of the best RAM into a phone and android would still be terrible. Give an iPhone two cores, and 512mb of RAM, and it’s faster than every android phone on the market.

  • iPodDroid

    If this is true… I’ll love iOS even more than I already do now! 😀

  • Biscuit

    A theme section in the App Store would make them so much money.

  • hush

    not possible until they figure out what happens if my global tint is set black and I’m in an app like Kik (with black bars).

  • Justin Graziano

    I want the old style back. The new flat style is horrible.