Customizable app icons debut with iOS 10.3, MLB and NHL first to market

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2017
Sporting apps MLB.com at Bat and NHL on Tuesday became the first iOS titles to take advantage of a new iOS 10.3 feature that allows users to change an app's home screen icon after installation.




The feature affords users of MLB.com at Bat and the official NHL an opportunity to replace the apps' respective icons with branded logos of their favorite teams, bringing a new level of personalization to the iOS home screen.

Both developed by MLBAM, the app updates integrate a little-known feature called "user-selectable icons" that rolled out with iOS 10.3 on Monday. In practice, MLB.com at Bat and NHL ask users to select a suitable icon on first startup. Alternative icons can be selected at any time by navigating to in-app settings.

As noted by TechCrunch, Apple requires developers to include customized icons as image files when an app is submitted for review. This means icon personalization is somewhat limited, with developers only able to offer new assets with a full app update.

When the customization feature was first discovered in an iOS 10.3 beta earlier this year, it was speculated that Apple would allow developers to implement dynamically changing home screen icons. While a specific application was unclear at the time, some guessed the technology could lead to home screen assets akin to the original implementation of Glances in the first watchOS.

For example, an app like Dark Sky Weather might change its state from an icon depicting the sun to one showing a cloud to reflect an upcoming change in weather.

Unfortunately, the current iOS implementation of user-selectable icons is largely static, as users must manually change the images from an app prompt or settings menu. Apple in its developer guidelines prohibits apps from changing customizable icons without user request, further noting that any modification must be accompanied by a pop-up confirmation pane.

The document also specifies that said icons should only be used when customization is a "primary feature" of a specific app. As usual, Apple tells developers that alternative icons should meet certain visual continuity standards and must be offered in different sizes to render correctly across various system functions like Spotlight.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    This seems like a logical first step in training the market for complication-like home screen icons. (E.g. weather app that displays current conditions.) Otherwise it seems like a lot of code and process for a pretty minor change. Apple are known for creating limited features that they slowly open up to developers. They probably have many reasons for that, but I think an important one is that it trains the developer into understanding what is acceptable (otherwise developers will squeeze banner ads into their icons.)
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    irelandireland Posts: 17,658member
    What I want in iOS 11 is icons for certain categories of apps that change automatically and within very strict guidelines: clocks, calendars, weather and timers, to start with. What I do not want is iOS to turn into the mess that is Windows Phone. Gruber kind of likes Win Phone (or whatever it's called) but I think it's a royal-mess. And as horrible as Android is compared to iOS design-wise, it's far nicer than Windows Phone to look at and more crucially, to use. An obvious careful evolution of the home screen are analog or digital clocks that tick (move), calendars with the correct date, timers who show the remaining minutes and a bog-standard weather summery of rain or sunshine or thunder and temperature on weather-app icons, for your location or choice (or current location).
    edited March 2017 dysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,911member
    Cool. Changed the home screen icon on both apps already.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,449member
    ireland said:
    What I want in iOS 11 is icons for certain categories of apps that change automatically and within very strict guidelines: clocks, calendars, weather and timers, to start with. What I do not want is iOS to turn into the mess that is Windows Phone. Gruber kind of likes Win Phone (or whatever it's called) but I think it's a royal-mess. And as horrible as Android is compared to iOS design-wise, it's far nicer than Windows Phone to look at and more crucially, to use. An obvious careful evolution of the home screen are analog or digital clocks that tick (move), calendars with the correct date, timers who show the remaining minutes and a bog-standard weather summery of rain or sunshine or thunder and temperature on weather-app icons, for your location or choice (or current location).
    After 10 years, I'm still waiting for Apple's weather app to include the basic temperature for the local weather. Did that get added in the latest update? I haven't had time to backup and update yet ...

    its crazy really, I've had a sweeping second hand on the app icon, which is completely useless, but no temperature on the weather app ... Something I could really use.
    edited March 2017 dysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 9
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 601member
    mike1 said:
    Cool. Changed the home screen icon on both apps already.
    Can you help me...i've been unsuccessful trying to do the same...i went into settings in the app.

    Disregard, the app needed to be updated 
    edited March 2017
  • Reply 6 of 9
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,153member
    mac_128 said:
    ireland said:
    What I want in iOS 11 is icons for certain categories of apps that change automatically and within very strict guidelines: clocks, calendars, weather and timers, to start with. What I do not want is iOS to turn into the mess that is Windows Phone. Gruber kind of likes Win Phone (or whatever it's called) but I think it's a royal-mess. And as horrible as Android is compared to iOS design-wise, it's far nicer than Windows Phone to look at and more crucially, to use. An obvious careful evolution of the home screen are analog or digital clocks that tick (move), calendars with the correct date, timers who show the remaining minutes and a bog-standard weather summery of rain or sunshine or thunder and temperature on weather-app icons, for your location or choice (or current location).
    After 10 years, I'm still waiting for Apple's weather app to include the basic temperature for the local weather. Did that get added in the latest update? I haven't had time to backup and update yet ...

    its crazy really, I've had a sweeping second hand on the app icon, which is completely useless, but no temperature on the weather app ... Something I could really use.
    I use an app called Fahrenheit because it displays the temperature in the red notification bubble.


    jony0dysamoria
  • Reply 7 of 9
    MathieuWacowichMathieuWacowich Posts: 10unconfirmed, member
    The NHL app is missing the Montreal Canadiens icon - WTF? GO HABS GO!

    ha ha... never thought I'd post about my favorite hockey team on this site.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,270member
    This could be good.. Or another third-party clutter and crash disaster. 

    The icons I want to change are all of Apple's built in and ugly ones that we've had since iOS 7. 
  • Reply 9 of 9
    irelandireland Posts: 17,658member
    mac_128 said:
    ireland said:
    What I want in iOS 11 is icons for certain categories of apps that change automatically and within very strict guidelines: clocks, calendars, weather and timers, to start with. What I do not want is iOS to turn into the mess that is Windows Phone. Gruber kind of likes Win Phone (or whatever it's called) but I think it's a royal-mess. And as horrible as Android is compared to iOS design-wise, it's far nicer than Windows Phone to look at and more crucially, to use. An obvious careful evolution of the home screen are analog or digital clocks that tick (move), calendars with the correct date, timers who show the remaining minutes and a bog-standard weather summery of rain or sunshine or thunder and temperature on weather-app icons, for your location or choice (or current location).
    After 10 years, I'm still waiting for Apple's weather app to include the basic temperature for the local weather. Did that get added in the latest update? I haven't had time to backup and update yet ...

    its crazy really, I've had a sweeping second hand on the app icon, which is completely useless, but no temperature on the weather app ... Something I could really use.
     It's funny that you call the sweeping second hand on the clock app completely useless when I find myself using it all the time when I'm changing clocks IRL. But yes, Schiller and co should have sorted that Weather app icon moons ago.
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