Could Do Better: Are Apple’s Icons Some Of The Worst On iOS?

Could Do Better: Are Apple’s Icons Some Of The Worst On iOS?

Oh Apple!

Or not. In an exhaustive (and for him, probably exhausting) 2,700-word article, Chris Suave has compared the icons of many apps that have moved from OS X to iOS (and sometimes back again). The results show that Apple is one of the worst and laziest offenders in the game.

Exhibit A: iWork:

These applications took the existing Mac icons, slid them into a rounded square and painted on a background color. It looks as though [Apple] spent five minutes selecting a gradient for the background of the iOS iWork and Filemaker icons and called it a day

It's not all bad, though. Among the offenders (same icon, but with the corners rounded; round icon, turned square; all iTunes icons, ever) there are some gems. And some of them aren't even blue!

Could Do Better: Are Apple’s Icons Some Of The Worst On iOS?

Apple could learn a thing or two from third-party developers.

There are even a few developers (like Omni Group) whose icons were so good they were ported back to the Mac after a slight tweak.

The best, though, are the icons designed to keep the spirit of the original, but pared down to match the simpler approach of iOS in general. As Suave says:

The much more interesting icons are those that have focused their design on communicating more clearly by getting rid of, or greatly reducing the visibility of, non-key details.

I'm something of an icon snob. I really do pick apps based on these little square representations, although I'll admit that I have bought apps with great icons, and those apps turned out to be terrible. And don't even get me started on the iPhoto for iOS icon.

Related
  • shutch1993

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This is probably apple’s biggest principle, they aren’t lazy, they just want people to instantly recognize their products through a logo people already know, seeing it is the same product, just for a different device.

  • Kenton Presbrey

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This is probably apple’s biggest principle, they aren’t lazy, they just want people to instantly recognize their products through a logo people already know, seeing it is the same product, just for a different device.

    Yep, I was just going to say the exact some thing. Whats wrong will having consistency across both platforms. Why waste time making a completely new icon and have people think it’s a different program at first glance.

  • Whodakat

    Proof positive that people will literally whine about anything! As the other posters have stated , of course the icons look the same, do you want iOS to have completely different icons? That would be monumentally stupid. Kind of like buying apps for how the icon looks.

  • Brandon Dillon

    The examples of other developers icons are all square (a wallet, cassette tape, and book). The Pages icon is round. You can’t make that fill the square on iOS icons and it look proper. Apple could do that with Keynote and possibly Numbers, but for sure not with Pages. They wouldn’t do 2 of their iWork iOS app icons that way and leave out the other one.

    For the record, the iWork icons are some of my favorite app icons; simple but very visually pleasing, especially Pages. I agree on the iPhoto icon, though. I like it, but it’s not very “Apple”; too much going on in it.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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