Solution for iPhone OS 3.0 icon problems

If you’ve been having trouble with messed up icons in iPhone OS 3.0 — duplicated or missing icons, switched icons on apps — then here’s a solution… if you’re jailbroken.

It seems to be caused whenever you have to force-reboot your phone (holding down the home and power buttons), or when certain apps reboot your phone uncleanly (like when installing through Cydia). Edit: saurik says Cydia doesn’t do anything wrong, and he should know; it’s just an unfortunate coincidence. The only known fix for unjailbroken phones is deleting your apps and reinstalling them, which of course deletes all your data. For jailbroken devices, though, you can just dump the icon cache with Mobile Terminal or through SSH:

mv /private/var/mobile/Library/Caches/ /private/var/mobile/Library/Caches/; killall SpringBoard

This renames the file and restarts SpringBoard. If everything seems okay, you can then delete this old file:

rm /private/var/mobile/Library/Caches/

This solved all my icon issues magically, and I’ve not had any side effects. Much better than deleting all my apps!

30 Responses to “Solution for iPhone OS 3.0 icon problems”

  • I recently deleted /private/var/mobile/Library/Caches/ by mistake using iphonebrowser. Now all of my app store applications are missing their icons. I’ve gone into the individual app’s folders, and the icon.png files are there, but they no longer show up on my iphone. All other icons seem fine… Only the icons of applications downloaded through itunes app store were effected. I’ve tried to delete all the apps in itunes and resync to reinstall the apps onto the iphone, but the icons are still not showing up. Is there a replacement .plist file available? I really don’t want to have to restore if I can fix this problem without resorting to a full restore. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    (1st gen iphone running 3.0 unlocked, jailbroken)

  • Odd! I assume you’ve rebooted your phone, and it hasn’t helped. Everyone I know who’s deleted hasn’t had any trouble, so I’m not really sure what to suggest.

    I just wonder whether maybe you got rid of or something by mistake. Either way, my instinct would be to try renaming again and rebooting; if that doesn’t help maybe both and Essentially, though, it’s trial and error, and I wish you the best of luck. Don’t touch, though.

  • Thanks for the response, but unfortunately, and were both deleted, so theres nothing to rename. Is there any way to reload those files? I did reboot and respring, etc. with no luck.

  • Success! I found the missing files in var/mobile/library/caches and I copied and pasted them into private/var/mobile/library/caches and, voila! My missing icons are back! The same files must be located in the private/var.. string and in the (non-private) var/.. string. Thanks for the help. Hopefully other people out there with the same issues will see this post and get something positive out of it.

  • Got the same bug this morning on my 3gs. Thanks for the tip.

  • My 3G was jailbroken but I wanted to update the to the OS 3.0 and then jailbreak it again. After a few failed attempts, I basically had to re-sync from my backup to update to 3.0, but now all of my apps that were in “categories” or folders are not showing up on my phone. They are on my iTunes, so i still have them, but I left my phone over night to re-sync all of my apps but they didn’t show. Will they show up when I jailbreak 3.0? Is there any way to bring them back on my phone without jailbreaking again? I REALLY need help, at least 50-60 apps are not showing on my phone.

  • Mike, I’m sorry, I wish I knew – but I have no experience with Categories. Probably searching the forums at hackint0sh or modmyi is your best bet on this.

    My guess would be that they might show up if you jailbreak and reinstall Categories; but that really is just a guess.

  • Another solution : install winterboard, then reboot, and all the icons will appear again

  • About the problem : apps that were in “categories” or folders are not showing up on my phone.

    You need to install Categories again, and you will see the icons, when you will start Categories, then create new folders, etc….

  • Mike,

    I had the same problem. I backed up my phone and I had Cydia, Winterboard, and all that the really important stuff in Categories folders. Then I upgraded and tried to jailbreak.

    I couldn’t access cydia to install categories, or winterboard, or anything else. Seems the problem was that my backup had things hidden in folders. So I was stuck. Had to setup phone as a new phone and I lost everything, apps, data, settings, etc.

    I suspect that is what you’ll have to do. sorry bud.

  • It’s easy to sound wise after the event, but my rule when jailbreaking has always been not to do anything destructive to the built-in apps and frameworks (beyond the actual jailbreak itself, of course). So, I’ve never edited the contents of application bundles, moved things around, replaced frameworks… The only exception to this has been enabling MMS, which I decided was worth the risk. (I’m vaguely expecting some issues in the future when I upgrade and my system doesn’t “support” MMS, yet I’ve got lots of photos in my messages app.)

    If you’ve got Cydia in a folder so it’s inaccessible, then I suggest installing OpenSSH using Pwnage Tool’s built-in package installer during .ipsw construction, so you’ve got access to your phone. (Assuming the package installer is functional for 3.0). Then you can log into the phone, move Cydia to the Applications folder, use it to install Categories (assuming it’s available), and sort out the mess. Lots of assumptions, but the general idea might work.


    1) Delete the app from the home screen.

    2) Do a hard reset (hold the home and sleep button at the same time until apple logo appears)

    3) Re-download app from app store.

    note: If you do another hard reset then the icon will have the same problem again.

  • Everyone, bear in mind that deleting an application means you lose its data. So don’t do it if you have irreplaceable data!

  • i have a 2G iphone and had alot of applications on it. I switched off my iphone, then switched it on again, it failed. so i reinstalled the software again 2.2.1
    the apps icons didnt appear on my springboard. then i removed them, upgraded the firmware to 3.0 and sync again the apps, but only a few icons appear all the others don’t. i used winscp to open the mobile folders and the apps folders were there. I tried to do what has been posted above but it also failed. does anybody know what to do!!!!!!

  • Cool fix. The way I found to fix it is to do the following (Only works on Jailbroken devices):

    1. Uninstall the Problem apps.
    2. Restart iPhone/iPod
    3. Reinstall apps
    4. SSH into device and locate the folder that contains the Apps in question.
    5. Find the ‘icon.png’ file in each apps folder and change the file permissions to 0444.

    This will permanently fix the icon for the app.


    1) Delete one of the bad icons on your device.
    2) Go to app store and start to re-download the same app you just deleted,…
    3) Pause the download before it finishes downloading by tapping the icon.
    4) Turn off the device. (do not do a hard reset)
    5) Turn the device back on.
    6) Tap the paused app to continue the download.

    now ALL the apps that had icon errors are back to normal.

    your welcome!!


  • i’m sorry guys but nothing worked.. anyways alot thanx for your help. :(

  • i have found a solution for my icon problems. its was simple actually.
    i synced my apps again to the iphone and as usuall no icons appeared on the spring board. Then i downloaded “categories” from cydia, created a new folder and pressed the add bottun to add apps to the folder… and there they where all the icons that were missing from my springboard. so i added them to the folder,i closed categories and opened the folder itself to try the apps and they all work. :):):D

  • If you upgraded a Jailbroken iPhone to 3.0 and are missing icons for apps you put in categories then go to SETTING then GENERAL then RESTRICTIONS enable the restrictions and then disable the restrictions and that should bring back your icons for your apps!

  • fixx

    It worked thanks

  • jeremy, on July 23, 2009 at 1:04 am, said:



    1) Delete one of the bad icons on your device.
    2) Go to app store and start to re-download the same app you just deleted,…
    3) Pause the download before it finishes downloading by tapping the icon.
    4) Turn off the device. (do not do a hard reset)
    5) Turn the device back on.
    6) Tap the paused app to continue the download.

    now ALL the apps that had icon errors are back to normal.

    your welcome!!

    This actually worked just fine on my iPhone.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Hi, I have a different problem, I tried to download Dictionary on my iPhone, I used WiFi as the program is over 10mb, half way through the download, I went out of the WiFi range so the download got stuck.

    Now I got a blank grey icon with an empty download progress bar below it. I cant delete it, and if I try to re-download dictionary again from appstore it says that dictionary is already installed..

    Ive tried restarting/rebooting/re-syncing and it dont work. it dont even appear in my itunes as a downloaded app.


  • I have an easy solution for people who have Mike’s problem (Catergries has hidden the apps and you are no longer jailbroken).
    This happened to me more than once.

    1) Go to settings/general/restrictions
    2) Enable restrictions (enter a code twice)
    3) Leave settings
    4) Go back to settings/general/restrictions
    5) Disable restrictions using the same code

  • It’s because that crappy categories app :( it’s buggy & mess-up the icons after too much messing arounds.. strill looking for the original icons.. they’re exist somewhere

  • Hi guys,

    I ran into this issue running OS 3.1.2, and Apple’s changed the app cache since 3.0. The way I fixed it with 3.1 was to rename these two folders:

    * SpringBoardIconCache
    * SpringBoardIconCache-small


    * SpringBoardIconCache-bak
    * SpringBoardIconCache-small-bak

    After respringing the phone, the OS recreated the original folders and reset the app icons to the original ones.


  • Hey kids, my iphone is not jailbroken, and all of a sudden the home button and touch screen are the only things that work, meaning the volume, buzz-ring toggle and power button wont work, its driving me crazy, i restored and used different upgrades on it and cant fix it, anyone hearing anything like that? thanks in advance :}

  • i dont have the files at all

  • There is a whole sub-market inside the area of the mobile mobile phone sector area related to the jailbreak or unlocking of the cellular phones so that they can be utilised on any mobile network, and current Supreme Court selections in the USA handed down have confirmed that the jailbreak industry is legal and genuine. That is, end-user customers are really inside their legal rights to do what they desire to their mobile phone handset to allow the mobile phone to perform on other network carriers which is normally known as jailbreak or unlocking the network block.
    Learn how to Jailbreak your iPhone

  • How about iOS 4.2.1? There is no at all.

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