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Customize your iPhone home screen with your own icons and weblinks

iPhone users. Have you ever been frustrated at not being able to put links to important things on the home screen of your phone with their own custom icons?

  • An icon that calls your best friend with one touch?
  • An icon that opens a new email to your wife?
  • An icon that opens your favorite app using a custom script or instruction?

I searched far and wide without someone supplying an answer.

It seems Apple likes to control what can and can’t be displayed on your screen.

Well there is a work around. Apple supplies a utility to corporations called the iPhone Configuration Utility that is available to the public.

It is used by large corporations to configure iPhones for their employees for all the fiddly stuff like security protocols, wifi logons etc. But the utility also has a desktop icon writing capability which allows you to place any URL inside a button on your iPhone home screen!

For example I use Filemaker Go on my iPhone. I need a link on my home screen to quickly open a Filemaker file and run a particular script. It saves me at least 4 steps and can now be conveniently triggered from my home screen… you can do anything you want with this great little utility.

The download is available here:

http://support.apple.com/downloads/iPhone_Configuration_Utility_2_0_for_Windows

How it works:

  1. Download the utility and install it.
  2. Setup a profile and go to the section called weblinks and fill out the form. It allows you to add a name to be displayed on your home screen, the url you want to use and upload the icon you want to use.
  3. Save the profile and export it as a config file. A config file is a special file recognized by your iPhone.
  4. Send the config file to yourself as an attachment to an email.
  5. Open the email on your phone.
  6. Click on the config file that appears on your screen as an attachment.
  7. and Voila! the icon will appear on your home screen… easy.

For those of you who find this all a bit daunting please email me your title; url and icon and ill send a config file back to the first 5 people who approach me. I can be reached at ric.r@r2labs.com.

Things you can have as a url:

  • callto://telnumber – calls the number direct from the home screen
  • mailto://email|subject| body – opens an new email to the persons email with the subject and body you want
  • fmpscript://database|script – opens a filemaker file and runs the corresponding script
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