I believe themed icons look horrible on Android

Materials You debuted on Google Pixel telephones with Android 12. It supplied a brand new technique to personalize units utilizing the cellphone’s wallpaper on the homescreen, which may affect the accent colours all through the UI and, later, even in some first and third-party functions.

Nonetheless, the change meant that Google additionally wished these accent colours current somewhere else, together with your homescreen, for particular person apps and widgets. The issue is these icons, when utilized, use the identical colour, shade, tint, and every thing else. It makes apps much more tough to seek out, particularly when you will have over 150 apps put in in your machine — like most individuals do.


Materials You: What it’s and what we love about it

Probably the most private design you possibly can think about, with out lifting a finger

Materials You is nice as a result of it affords real and helpful customization choices

However it’s pushing the identical colour a bit an excessive amount of

Earlier than I begin bashing Materials You, I have to admit that I adore it. It brings a brand new colour theme and design to Android that makes it look contemporary and actually distinctive. It adjustments your themese colours based mostly in your wallpaper, which applies to all of the accent colours all through the system, even in lots of apps. It’s neat, and I believe it provides character to the in any other case similar interface that hundreds of thousands of different individuals use and depend on.

However as a lot as I like its premise, there are just a few points with it. One of many predominant gripes is with the homescreen, extra particularly the icons. When the identical theme is utilized to the icons, they’ll all flip into this dull-looking graphic that appears the identical. It is fairly disagreeable to take a look at and clashes with all of the customization choices it seemingly presents.

Themed icons haven’t totally materialized

A splash of colour makes the UI really feel contemporary, however there are adverse unwanted side effects

a person holds a Google Pixel fold in tablet mode. The display is illuminated.

Think about a giant white app icon on the Google Pixel Fold’s in any other case attractive homescreen.

Materials You on the homescreen, when utilized to the icons, seems nice. Besides they considerably downgrade the person expertise. When you will have the identical colour utilized to all icons, it makes it almost unattainable to seek out your favourite apps, save for just a few.

I’ve used the Materia You-themed icons for a number of days, however I all the time battle to seek out my favourite apps, regardless that I already know their precise placement. In spite of everything, my setup has barely modified over the previous few years.

The opposite downside is that not all apps help this colour theming. Even after years of getting Materials You, some apps nonetheless don’t help it correctly. This must be fastened, no matter the place the blame lies. All apps, no matter who they’re from, ought to adhere to the identical design rules and help the engine.

iOS 18 on an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy Foldable on a white desk next to a plant

I’ve had an opportunity to mess around with the newest iOS 18 Developer Beta, and that’s one space the place Apple is barely forward of the curve – though it additionally suffers from another points. The truth that Apple’s tint applies to all icons is a good signal, however the distinction is method off and introduces the identical issues we see on Android.

Nonetheless, Apple’s aimplementation affords extra colours to select from, and it’s not restricted to the accent colour you choose. It may be tailor-made to your liking, even when meaning it’ll mix in with the background. It’s your cellphone, and it’s your selection — easy as that. It’s value noting, nonetheless, that Apple’s Beta is simply that, and issues will doubtless change within the coming months.

Themed icons want adjusting

Dynamic icons, extra colours, and extra tints may enhance the person interface

The Google Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 next to each other, both showing the home screen with themed icons

The one factor I all the time wished, ever since darkish and light-weight modes had been launched for Android, are dynamic icons. Think about if the icons may change their colour based mostly on the theme you will have.

As an example, when darkish mode is enabled, the icons may change into darker and simpler on the eyes; with mild mode, they’re going to flip white, or observe the theme you’ve set to make it simpler to differentiate the myriad apps you will have within the app drawer, and probably in your homescreen.

That is one characteristic that is already current within the newest iOS 18 Beta, and one which I hope will come to Android in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later. I don’t want icons to help the Materials You colour theme, however I perceive that many prefer it, and it actually has a spot.


Apple may give iPhones their very own model of Materials You

Extra built-in app customization options are down the highway for iOS

The a method I may think about Materials You-themed icons working, not less than for myself, is that if Google added different colours. Think about in case you may have any background and set video games to be blue, monetary apps to be inexperienced, and social media apps to be purple. Wouldn’t it look good? It’s onerous to know. Wouldn’t it be simpler to differentiate them within the app drawer and on the homescreen, utilizing a wallpaper that additionally makes use of these colours? Probably.

The underside line is that Materials You icon theming wants to alter. Google and Android want extra pointers for icons from app builders; we want a higher and extra seamless expertise that’s not fragmented. We’d like change, and I’m hoping we attain a degree the place this might be a regular. Hopefully, it is inside just a few years.

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