Make and use themes with WinterBoard
Updated: April 5, 2010
Section 1: Introduction to WinterBoard
What is a theme? A theme is the graphical "look" of a phone. In the case of the iPhone, a theme
consists largely of the way the SpringBoard, dock and all the program icons look. A theme can
ultimately involve every single graphic being changed. Usually no one goes to that extent to
customize their iPhone - it's just too many graphics to change. There are a handful of graphics you
can change to create a dramatic look, however.
You can change the iPhone's appearance with a couple programs. You need Cydia, WinterBoard,
OpenSSH (if you want to upload your own personal images), and a program to make your graphics with.
I use Adobe Photoshop. GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop, which is also a very powerful
You can download GIMP here.
If you don't want to
create your own images, you can use the themes that are already available through Cydia in the
various "Themes" folders.
Here are some examples of themes that are available for 3.x firmware. In order are: iWood-Realize,
CandyMilk, Vending Machine Free, and Glass Orb.
To install WinterBoard, launch Cydia and press the Featured Packages button. Scroll down to the
Free Extensions section and press WinterBoard.
Press Install. When it has completed you will have to reboot the iPhone. Note: The version number
of the program may be higher than the one pictured. Generally speaking, I do not update tutorials
to reflect the most recent version number available.
Once installed, you'll see an icon for WinterBoard. There are two ways to launch this program,
either press this icon, or launch your Settings application where WinterBoard has added its own
submenu. I'll cover using the Settings application first. Press the WinterBoard menu entry.
At this screen you can choose to hide the WinterBoard icon. In my case I needed to leave
SummerBoard Mode on so that my graphics would work correctly. If you press Select Themes, this
is where you can select what you want to modify on the iPhone.
These are the default themes. I will cover what effect they have later. If you already have some
themes installed, and they are older ones, you can attempt to optimize them by pressing the Optimize
Press the Optimize button at this message. Then give it about a minute and it should finish.
If you launch WinterBoard by using the icon, you will see the same initial menu that you saw
in the Settings panel. First let's press Saurik. This is the only
theme that comes with WinterBoard by default. It will change the background wallpaper on the
SpringBoard, but it will use scripting to dissolve between two different images. It will also
change the font type and size. On the lock scren it will change the text from "slide to unlock"
to "slide to Saurik". It will also change the font. When you have
selected a menu item a check mark will appear next to it. To undo a selection, just press it again.
Then press your Home button and WinterBoard will load your changes to apply the new theme.
The iPhone will display the spinning wheel, and chirp. It will then send you back to the slide to
Once you slide to unlock, you should now have a new wallpaper image on your SpringBoard. If you wait a
few seconds it will blend into another background image. You can also do this with your own images. At
this point, you could just continue to use Cydia and check the various themes folders to install
drainers as this process continues to run, usually even when the iPhone is asleep. Keep that in
Let's explore the other options in WinterBoard. The first one is Black Navigation Bars. Here's the
before and after.
Dim Icons reduces the brightness of your icons.
Dim Wallpaper reduces the brightness of your wallpaper graphic.
No Docked Icon Labels, removes the text from any applications in the dock (by default, these
applications are: Phone, Mail, Safair, and iPod).
No Undocked Icon Labels, removes the text from any applications that are not in the dock.
Server Lock Example uses an HTML file to call some text from a server and display it on your lock
Solid Status Bar, makes the status bar appear white at all times.
Transparent Dock, before and after.
User Lock Background. If you go to Settings, Wallpaper, you will see you have a choice of using
(currently 19) stock images which can be used on your "slide to unlock" screen, or you can use
photos from your iPhone's camera roll, or from your synced iPhoto library. These images are only
visible when the iPhone is locked, but not plugged in to a power source.
When installing a new theme, WinterBoard places them at the top of your list. If you happen to
download the Brilliant theme, it comes with its own "slide to unlock" screen background image. If
you activate this theme in WinterBoard (and it's at the top of the list), you will see its image
override your previous flower image.
If you want to keep the Brilliant theme, but want your own lockscreen image (the flower) back, then
simply place the User Lock Background theme above the Brilliant theme. That's ordered priority,
User Wallpaper will set whatever image is on your lock screen as your SpringBoard wallpaper.
Are you hooked yet? The sky is the limit with themes. Let's try creating our own...