Sunday, November 1, 2009

Edit or make your own themes on iPhone (2.x and above)

This is the guide I wrote, and the site linked is a guy over on HoFo's site. He's got some REALLY good tutorials on SSH'ing and what-not.

So, here it is,

In order to do this, you have to know how to SSH into your phone. Learning how to do this allows you to do pretty much whatever you want from changing SMS bubbles to badges, to backgrounds, to making your own icons.

For this, you need to download a few things from Cydia on your phone and then a few things to your computer. This guy has excellent tutorials:

(these are 3.x tutorials by the way, but most are backwards compatible with 2.x firmwares as the processes are the same)

How to SSH your phone:

This guy uses Fugu as an SSH client on his Mac, if you are a windows user, follow similar steps, just use something like WinSCP or any similar windows based SSH client. I don't believe fugu is available for windows, but I could be wrong.

Hack that Phone - Installing OpenSSH, using Fugu, shutting off service, and changing the root and mobile passwords

How to create your own themes using Winterboard (he only does a basic tutorial, but once you get the hang of this, you pretty much will know how to edit anything you want.) He starts with an intro to winterboard, if you're more advanced, you can skip a section or two, but this is good for starts slow and then gets in depth...

Hack that Phone - Make and use themes with WinterBoard

As far as anything else goes, if you get stuck or have questions, how about we ask all questions in this thread?

Also, if you want to know a few places to get icon packs or wallpaper packs, or want to share cool ones, put that here too.

I personally find a wealth of wallpapers and icon packs on

I also found quite a few different sets of SMS bubbles from (you can also achieve the same goal from googling "different color iPhone SMS bubbles" and it brings up several places to download cool SMS bubbles from). I know Cydia has a limited selection right now.

You can also MAKE your own icons. I use Photoshop for this, but any similar program will do. I believe the typical dimensions for iPhone icons are 59 x 60. Most people use around that range when creating them. Some theme developers typically will include the .psd within the theme bundle and you can SSH in order to obtain that and then just create a layer in photoshop to make your own icons.

*Note: Keyboard themes do NOT currently work with 3.x firmwares, there are certain ways to get them working, but SSH'ing and modding some files on your phone is necessary.

EDIT: As of writing this, I believe SOME keyboard themes work with above 3.0 but some of the older themes in Cydia, Icy, or Rock may not have been updated to be compatible with 3.x.x versions of iPhone software.

As always, happy iHacking!


Next tutorial: Changing/customizing icons for iPhone