How iOS 6’s Cool New Adaptive Status Bar Works


In iOS 6, the status bar changes color to match the app that's running.
In iOS 6, the status bar changes color to match the app that's running.

As we detailed in another post earlier this week, Apple’s new iOS 6 beta features a nifty new status bar that changes color to match the app you’re currently running. We provided a number of screenshots that showed the status bar in three different shades of blue, and in silver — colors the status bar never displayed in iOS 5.

So how does the status bar determine which color to use? Well, it’s actually pretty simple.

Wrapp developer Simon Blommegård did a little digging to find out how exactly iOS 6’s adaptive status bar knows which color to use. His findings are details on the Max Themes blog:

Turns out it’s quite a funky method. Rather than going on the tintColor, It uses the average color from the bottom pixel row of the header bar. This is illustrated by Simon’s yellow header bar with a blue and red bottom pixel row, resulting in a purple status bar:

Pretty cool, right? That’s why in apps like Mail or Safari, the status bar is a slightly darker blue than that at the top of the app’s navigation bar. In fact, it wouldn’t probably look and fit better if Apple used the average color from the top of the bar, rather than the bottom.

Source: Max Themes

  • Weegie_Mac

    I’m using iOS 6 on my iPhone 4 and new iPad, and I really don’t like the new coloured menubar.

    It looks tacky, and the whole OS just feels like it lacks uniformity. The Music app is now white, but the App Store and iTunes Store are now black, I mean come on Apple.
  • mr_bee

    Why change the colour of the bar at all?  It makes no sense and has no programmatic reason behind it.  

    The status bar is a part of the OS not the app, it has no business changing colours based on what app is in the foreground and giving developers access to colour it is an invitation for them to make ridiculous, garish, multicoloured bars on their apps for no reason. 
  • jogamen

    is it possible to turn off this “cool” feature?

  • rosenkrieger

    Hopefully we will either NOT see it in the final or have it as an option. I am using iOS6 on my iPad and iPhone 4 and I don’t like it one bit. 

    When I switch an app it always makes me look in the menubar and distracts me for the very first startup second. 
    Why is it distracting? Because Apple taught as so. Example if you record a voice memo and switch to another app you get a red bar at the top telling you you are still recording… SO QUIT IT APPLE!
  • Demonstr8r

    This is the dumbest idea I have heard from Apple in quite some time, and I absolutely hate this “feature”. Apple, please do not allow this in the final version of iOS6. The status bar color currently has meaning; I know it will be green when I’m on a phone call and switch to another app to look up data, but with this change the color of the status no longer conveys useful information.

    . In fact there are several bad design choices in the beta version of iOS6 beta. For example, the clock app on the iPhone and iPad each have different app icons, the clock faces are totally different on the world clock view on the two devices, and the hands on the clock app icon are no longer pointy, but the clock face in the clock app on the iPhone still uses “pointy” hands. The clock face on the iPad has no numbers, which wouldn’t be bad if there is a setting to change the default.

  • HollowayDora

    what Randall implied I am impressed that any one can profit $8193 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you see this website(Click on menu Home more information)

  • Rick Belluso

    I’m not sure how this one will pan out. Right now, I seem to notice it because the apps I’ve been using for a while look different and I’m not used to it…but I assume eventually I will be accustomed to the top border blending in and I won’t really acknowledge it.  

    One effect that I think it has it to make the screen feel bigger, which is an apparent theme in the redesign of the App Store UI. Also, contrast can cause visual friction/noise, so maybe Apple is trying to smooth that out. 
  • Christopher John Boillot

    Could this be how Apple plans on filling up the extra screen space that the next rumored iPhone might have?

  • EllisJohnnie1

    like Ralph explained I can’t believe that you able to get paid $9478 in 1 month on the computer. did you look at this web page(Click on menu Home more information)

  • Shyam Bhat

    The status bar colors make absolutely no sense! I don’t get why you guys write one article after another exploring such shitty additions and call it cool. Hell no, it not cool at all!
    I hate the fact that iOS still has the same 5 year old UI and there was absolutely no redesign or rethinking in this area, in a age where windows phones provide such gorgeous user interfaces. Apple’s made a mess of the UI with total inconsistency across apps. The new color scheme for the camera app for instance, is utter bull crap. Though I love what you guys at CoM cover, you and the media in general should stop taking whatever shit Apple throws at them and instead condemn things apple does that are not so Apple-like. 

  • Li Fou

    In the beta4 of iOs6, it seems to be the fifth pixel (retina pixel) who gives his tint to the statusBar.