How to create “blank” icons on the Home screen without jailbreaking

The fact that we’ve been unable to jailbreak the iPhone 5 thus far means that it’s difficult to customize the iPhone like we want to, but that doesn’t mean that it’s totally impossible.

As we’ve seen over the past few months, a new category of tweak has emerged — the non-jailbreak tweak. These are tweaks and hacks that one can use to customize their iPhone without a jailbreak. No, it’s not nearly as good as actually having root access to iOS, but it’s a nice holdover until some enterprising group or individual blesses us with a proper iPhone 5 jailbreak.

One of the latest non-jailbreak tweaks that we’ve been able to test out, is one that allows you to place “blank” app icons on the iPhone’s Home screen. This effectively allows you to simulate the ability to rearrange app icons in any preference desired. It’s not perfect, but it may prove to be satisfactory to you until we have a better means of customization. Take a look past the break for our full in-depth video tutorial.

Step 1: Download the Picup app from the App Store. This is a free download.

Step 2: Place your iPhone into wiggle mode by tapping and holding on any app icon.

Step 3: Swipe to the last Home screen page, which will be blank on the main portion of the Home screen, and take a screenshot.

Step 4: Press the Home button to get out of wiggle mode.

Step 5: Open Safari and navigate to this link.

Step 6: Tap Upload Photo, and then tap Open on the “Open this page in “Picup”?” dialogue box.

Step 7: Picup should now be open. Scroll down and tap Photo Library under sources, then select the screenshot you took in step 3.

Step 8: Tap Upload Files. Your screenshot will take a second to load, then take you back to Safari.

Step 9: Scroll down in Safari and tap “Let’s GO!”.

Step 10: You will now be presented with a 4×5 grid symbolizing the typical Home screen. Each icon on the grid is mapped to each specific place on the home screen. For instance, the 1 x 1 icon should be placed in the upper left-hand corner of your Home screen page.

Step 11: Tap the 1 x 1 app icon on the grid. This will open up a new page titled Add Icon. It should feature the location of the icon you selected under the Custom icon heading. In this case you should see Row 1/Column 1.

Step 12: Tap the share button at the bottom of Safari, swipe over once, and select Add to Home Screen.

Step 13: On the Add to Home page, leave the text field empty, and tap Add in the upper right-hand corner.

Step 14: The shortcut/app icon should now appear on your Home screen. Place your device back into wiggle mode, and move the icon to the proper location. In this case, you would move it to the upper left-most position on the Home screen page, since it’s the Row 1/Column 1 app icon.

Step 15: Repeat step 9 as many times as you’d like to place as many “blank” app icons on the page as you require.

Note: Some wallpapers work better than others. A black wallpaper is the only way to make it appear as if the blank spaces are truly invisible, due to the black shadow that appears on all app icons.

All in all, this is a quite lengthy, but adequate way to customize your Home screen. As I noted, it’s far from perfect, but it can get you by in a pinch, especially with an all black wallpaper.

Special thanks to Caleb Coverdale for the tip. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.