iPhone and Android home screen.
Joe Fedewa

The most noticeable difference between the iPhone and Android is the home screen. While Android home screens can look wildly unique, the iconic iOS home screen is very distinct. We’ll show you how to get that look on Android.

iPhone Home Screen Essentials

iPhone home screen.
iPhone home screen.

What will we need to replicate the iconic iPhone home screen? First and foremost, it’s the icons—they all have the same rounded-square shape. Up to four apps can be put into the dock at the bottom of the screen, which also has rounded corners.

Folders on the iPhone are the same shape as the app icons. They show a preview of up to nine app icons that are in the folder. When you open a folder, it expands to take up the entire screen with the name of the folder at the top.

A subtle thing that gives the iPhone home screen its distinct look is padding. The icons don’t get very close to the edges of the screen, there’s quite a bit of padding all around. There’s especially a lot of padding at the top of the screen.

Lastly, introduced in iOS 14 and iPad OS 14, the iPhone home screen finally has widgets. The widgets maintain the classic look of the rounded-square icons and they fit nicely in the 6×4 grid.

How to iPhone-ify the Android Home Screen

We know the main elements we need to get that distinct iPhone look, but how should we do it? There are many Android launchers specifically designed to look like an iPhone. Unfortunately, most of them are riddled with intrusive ads.

The next best thing is to find a launcher that we can customize to our liking. We’ll be using the long-standing favorite, Nova Launcher. By default, it doesn’t look anything like an iPhone, but we can fix that.

Nova Launcher offers tons of customization options. You can spend all day tweaking everything. Lucky for you, I took care of all that hard work for you. We’ve provided a backup file that you can load into Nova Launcher and automatically apply all the iPhone-y changes.

First, download this file on your Android phone. You’ll need to extract the ZIP file before proceeding.

Next, install Nova Launcher from the Google Play Store.

Install Nova Launcher.

Open Nova Launcher and you’ll see an introductory screen. At the top, there’s an option to “Restore It Now” if you already have a backup file, which is what you downloaded earlier.

Tap "Restore it now."

The file manager will open and you’ll need to find the “iPhone-layout.novabackup” file that you extracted from the ZIP.

Select the backup file.

Nova will ask you to confirm that you want to overwrite the current layout. Tap “OK.”

Tap "OK."

I made a very basic layout of some common apps and widgets, but you are free to move things around to your liking. The traditional Android “app drawer”—full list of all your apps—can be found in the “All Apps” shortcut.

Android layout.
Nova Launcher, iPhone style.

Nova may prompt you to set it as the default home app. If it doesn’t, you can go to the system settings and change the “Default Home App.”

Change the home app.

That’s all there is to it! You now have an iPhone-ized home screen with iOS-style dock and folders.

Tip: Nova Launcher is free, but there are some extra features available if you purchase the “Prime” add-on. These include the ability to swipe down on the home screen to search—just like the iPhone—and notification badges.

Extra Credit

You’ve got a nice, basic iPhone look going on already, but if you want to go the extra mile, there are a few things you can do.

Android widgets are not nearly as standardized as iPhone widgets. If you really want the iOS/iPad OS widget style, you can download an app called “Widgets iOS 15 – Color Widgets.” The widgets look very true to iOS, but there are ads in the app itself that are a bit annoying.

Another thing you can do is try to replicate the App Library feature. There isn’t a great App Library clone for Android, but there are some other apps with similar functionality. We’ve outlined how to set that up in a separate guide.

You’re well on your way to making your Android device feel more like an Apple product. iMessage may be out of grasp for Android users, but at least you can get a little of that iPhone feel in other ways.

RELATED: Dear Android Users, iMessage Is Better Than You Think

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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