Apple listens: Updates their new official app icon template with 2 crucial changes

A couple of days ago I wrote down some thoughts about the newly released app icon resources from Apple:

Long story short: the new resource were lacking in several ways, and while people were quick to spell doom over 3rd party resources like the ones I make available at appicontemplate.com, it looks like there’s still plenty of room for improvement. The article above made some rings in the water and it’s just 3 days later and Apple have now updated their app icon template. Here’s what they’ve changed:

The Squircle is here!

One of the most curious things about the original template was the use of a roundrect instead of the iOS platform signature super elliptical shape (Squircle). In the new template, that has been rectified! Everyone rejoices!

If you’re curious about why my squircle shape above doesn’t align exactly with Apple’s shape — well then you need to read the work me and others did trying to approximate the shape. Apple has never officially released a vector for the exact shape they use so we’re left with approximations based on the raster results the crop-machine inside Apple spits out. This image is from our great hunt:

The approximations we did when the Squircle was first announced

Smartobject-based scaling!

It’s with a bit of pride in my voice that I can confirm that Apple have incorporated a smart-object approach to scaling in their newly updated templates! Yup, that’s right. You can now edit the largest size and have all the other sizes rendered out automatically. If that sounds familiar, then that’s because it’s exactly what I’ve been championing these past 4 years over at appicontemplate.com.

Hello icon.psb — I recognise you!

This is awesome, because for all of the pixel-perfect obsessions we designers have, most people just want a quick way to see how their icon scales across the many sizes. Now they can do that with the official templates too!

Can we have more?

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how fast the design team at Apple moved on this. This is Apple when they’re best! I still think there’s lots of things that could be improved though and I dream of an Apple that dedicates more time to empowering designers and people who want to get into design. A lot of inspirational effort is currently being channeled into making code more accessible. The introduction of Swift Playgrounds is a humbling example. Now, what if we could pour some of that effort into making design similarly accessible? Design is still largely a mystical process for many uninitiated. I’m not saying that lightly. I’ve been freelancing for 15 years and worked with a lot of different people. Through my resources and series like ‘Design with me’ or talks like ‘The Bullshit Hunt’ I try to roll back some of that magic and show people that design is a job. If we could empower the millions of developers on the iOS platform to become more confident with the creative process, to feel more secure in their work with design assets — then I’m sure the entire ecosystem would benefit. Apps would look better, heck apps would work better and we’d have greater diversity in the experiences being produced. Design resources is a good place to start but it isn’t just about giving people a blueprint. It’s about giving curious minds easy options to explore creative solutions. Allowing anyone to familiarise themselves with the tools with a minimum of technical experience. Everyone can be a designer and I think it is our generation of creative professionals greatest responsibility to enable more people to realise that. It’ll benefit us all.

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Michael is a danish designer, entrepreneur & keynote speaker. he loves making things, going on adventures and telling stories.

Designer, entrepreneur & keynote speaker. I love making things, going on adventures and telling stories.

Designer, entrepreneur & keynote speaker. I love making things, going on adventures and telling stories.