Personalize Your PocketC.H.I.P. — Tutorials For Changing the Background, Icons, & Adding a Web Browser

Johnbiehler swapped in the classic matrix background

Johnbiehler swapped in the classic matrix background and 3D printed a D-pad

Hold onto your PocketC.H.I.P.s! Industrious Pocketeers from the forums have discovered how to customize the PocketC.H.I.P. home screen, modify the icons, and install a web browser.

Follow along, and make your PocketC.H.I.P yours! Be sure to share your mods in the forums!

Customize Your Home Screen

Image of TK's home screen with custom background

Image of midheaventech’s home screen with custom background

As midheaventech has discovered, all of the PocketC.H.I.P. user interface assets — icons, background graphics, and config files — are stored in the directory /usr/share/pocket-home. You can swap out any of these files for a more custom experience. Here’s the entire conversation, which is still developing.

Inspired by the thread, this how to swap the default home screen background and use your own.

  1. Scale your image to a resolution of 480×272.
  2. Copy the file to PocketC.H.I.P.’s /usr/share/pocket-home/mainBackground.png using SSH’s SCP tool.
  3. Restart PocketC.H.I.P. for the new background to load. Or follow Itxaka’s advice and simply restart the window manager by running the following command in the terminal.
    sudo systemctl restart lightdm

After you change the background, make sure to share a screenshot. The easiest way to take these on PocketC.H.I.P. is to use the built-in screenshot application. In the terminal type xfce4-screenshooter and follow the on-screen instructions.

Adding More Settings Control

Custom PocketC.H.I.P. user interface with a Personalize section

Custom PocketC.H.I.P. user interface with a Personalize section

Marshmallow has begun to add features to the home screen using C code. This is a much more complicated approach to customization and requires that you not only write C code, but also recompile the PocketCHIP-pocket-home repository.

Import custom icons easily with Marshmallow's  hack

Import custom icons easily with Marshmallow’s hack

If you’re interested in digging into this more advanced hack –and we encourage you to do so– be sure to follow this forum thread.

Install a Web Browser

Browsing the web on PocketC.H.I.P. after running TKTK's installation script

Browsing the web on PocketC.H.I.P. after running TKTK’s installation script

Stevemcgrath has written a set of installation scripts to automate the installation of the web browser dwb. Enter in the following commands in the terminal and follow the script’s prompts.


During the installation you will be prompted for your password. Unless you’ve changed it, your password is chip.

Once the script finishing running, type the command, sudo reboot, and wait a moment while the system restarts.

Dwb uses keyboard shortcuts that make it a bit challenging for beginners. Be sure to have the manual handy the first time you run the browser.

This script does more than just install a browser, it also stops SSH as a service. To turn it back on, simply type sudo systemctl start ssh in the terminal. For a full list of things the script automatically changes, check out Stevemcgrath’s forum forum post.

These are just some of the hacks that are popping up in the forums. Spot a cool hack, send us a tip about it on Twitter @nextthingco. And make sure to share how you’re making PocketC.H.I.P. fit your style!

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Even less disruptive than rebooting the PocketCHIP or restarting lightdm, you can killall pocket-home and it’ll respawn without interrupting the rest of your session.

Also, you can get Chromium running very easily:
wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb jessie main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

This is derived from the instructions for Raspbian at with the Raspberry Pi specific YouTube plugin removed.

The easiest way how to change your background:
1. – resize your custom picture to 480×272 pixels and save it as “mainBackground.png”
2. – move it to your flash disc and then to your “/home/chip” folder
3. – open terminal and type “su”, type in password “chip” – this will log you in as root so you can copy to system files
4. – type in “cp mainBackground.png /usr/share/pocket-home”
5. – reboot pocket chip and youre done

Be carefull with spaces in step 4. – cpSPACEmainBackground.pngSPACE/usr/share/pocket-home

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