Create Customized themes for Winterboard for iPhone 4: A complete guide

With the introduction of Winterboard, a true replacement for good old Springboard, the iPhone’s high resolution display and graphics could be enjoyed as much as you’d want to. It lets you customize your icons and appearance of your iPhone, including lockscreen and docks and sounds, the way you want. Winterboard is one of the most powerful and famous application inside Cydia. With all that ease of a single tap to download themes which are present in thousands of number inside Cydia are the most fun to have and you can alter the appearance anytime you want to through Winterboard.

Moreover, Winterboard provides a versatility of themes. If you want total customization you can individually download a theme for your SMS app and another one for your SMS sounds and one for your Lockscreen. However, here we are going to guide you about how to do real customization of your iPhone using Winterboard. Yes, we are going to teach you how to make a theme.

Basically the iPhone 4 themes are in HD or what you say in retina display mode. That means they are at a much higher resolution than the older iPhones like iPhone 3G or 3GS since the iPhone 4 has a pretty awesome display which works at a much higher resolution and also the system filenames are unique. A 59 x 60 pixels application icon for the iPhone 3G would be 118 x 120 pixels for the iPhone 4. iPhone 4 graphics have a @2x designation that appears right before the .png extension like this ‘icon@2x.png’.

It’s important that you first understand the concept of how Winterboard works and the directory structure. You can follow the link here.

Introduction to Winterboard

Winterboard basically displays themes and lets people customize their phone’s graphics the way they like. A theme basically is a consolidation of different icons and images that change the way the elements of your phone appear like Springboard, Dock, Sliders, icons, Lockscreen sliders, etc. The customization could be so much deep that you can even change the way the signal bars of your iPhone appear. All you need is a jailbroken iPhone with winterboard app (available free in cydia), an open SSH program (if you want customized themes) and a graphic editor like Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW. There are lots of other free softwares available for picture editing and illustration out there on the web which you can google easily.

Let’s have a look at some of the themes currently available for iPhone 4.

Installing Winterboard is a simple task. Fire up Cydia and on the lower right side, tap the search tab. When it loads simply type Winterboard and it will show up (Winterboard query may also call up themes but select Winterboard application for now). Tap on Winterboard and the next page will contain its description and then tap on install icon on the top right corner and follow the process to install it. It will then reboot your device and the Winterboard icon will now appear on your iPhone. You can use the application icon or you can also use Winterboard submenu inside SBSettings. Here are the screenshots:

The Menu above gives you multiple options.

  • Hide Winterboard lets the application icon hide from the Home Screen and you can access it through Settings only.
  • Summerboard mode is basically a compatibility enabler for using old themes that were meant for SummerBoard which was Winterboard’s predecessor.
  • Select themes open a window where there are list of installed themes for you to select from.
  • Optimize themes basically means that your themes would be turned to lower resolution .png files to speed up your phone as most of the themes are quite heavy.

Winterboard comes with some of its themes of its own and lets you choose amongst them. Here we review them:

  • White Icon Labels – Changes the color of all the labels of icons on the Home Screen into white
  • User Wallpaper and User Lock Background – With the new iOS firmwares, this option is already given in the Settings under Wallpapers tab
  • Transparent Dock don’t work properly
  • Solid status bar also don’t work properly on the new iOS firmware
  • Server Lock Example – Fetches data from some server and displays onto the Lockscreen
  • Saurik theme is a default theme made by the creator of Cydia and it gives us a new style of ‘slide to unlock’ bar as well as it features 2 wallpapers that transit in and out of each other.
  • No Undocked icon label – Means it removes the icon labels of all apps other than in the dock
  • No Docked icon label doesn’t work
  • The Dim wallpapers and Dim Icons theme don’t work properly as well
  • Black Navigation Bar – Makes the top most bar of the default theme turn to black color from the default color

Note that the users could benefit from choosing multiple themes to make a blend of a theme for themselves. This however, works in a fashion that the themes sorted at the top will be considered as priority and if the two or more themes selected have an image or icon of some app, Winterboard will consider the top most one. You can also change their priority by dragging themes up and down to set their priority by default.

Creating a Basic Theme

Now you are introduced to the Winterboard’s functionality and its basic themes, we take you to the final step of creating a basic theme for your iPhone.

Before starting, you should read the basic tutorial of directory structure of iPhone and you must be able to SSH into your iPhone through Wifi or now you can also use simple software through USB called iPhone Explorer easily available here.

Note: The filenames are different in iPhone 4 and older iPhones so please verify the Filenames before naming your icons. Also, the picture size is doubled in iPhone 4 as compared to earlier iPhones.

Stage 1:

Create a Folder on your desktop and Name it ‘My Theme’. Then chose an image for the wallpaper for your theme and note the resolution. It should be 640×920 pixels for iPhone 4 and should be half the resolution for iPhone 3G/3GS. You should name this wallpaper file as Wallpaper.png and note that only in this rare case @2x designator is not necessary.

Next, find yourself a dock image for your themes dock. The image size should be 640 x 90 pixels and half for older iPhones. You should be naming the files like SBDockBG@2x for the iPhone 4 and without @2x for older iPhones.

Then, create the folders in the following manner: My theme/Bundles/com.apple.springboard and place this SBDockBG@2x.png inside the com.apple.springboard folder. Some people do not prefer the transparent dock by default so to disable it, you’d want a file to for it and names as SBDockMask@2x.png for iPhone 4 and without @2x for older iPhones inside this folder as well. The resolution for this new image must be 118×120 for iPhone 4 and half the size for earlier versions of iPhone. The status bar has not been updated for iPhone 4 as such yet.

Stage 2:

Fire up iPhone Explorer and browse to /Library/Themes and place your folder there. A unique name for every theme must be given to the folder and you can also see the existing folders and icons inside it to gain more insight as to how those themes work. Drag and drop your ‘My Theme’ folder in iPhone explorer which must have the themes directory mentioned above opened and place your folder inside.

Open settings > Winterboard > Select Themes and Tap My Theme. Winterboard will respring and tada! Here you have your simple and basic theme installed with a custom wallpaper and dock.

A list of icon locations can be found here which will let you customize icons for your themes.

This is just a basic theme for yourself, there is no possible way of covering everything out there for the iPhone. You can navigate to Saurik’s official page for a bundle of more tutorials for Winterboard.

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