What some iOS 7 stock app icons might look like

By , Jun 2, 2013

iOS 7 Home screen leak_wm

Much has been said about Apple’s management shakeup that happened last October. If Scott Forstall’s departure came out as a bombshell, the fact that Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, was made the head of the newly created Human Interface group was less of surprise.

Now in charge of everything design, Ive has been expected to give iOS a facelift by getting rid of, or at least by minimizing all use of skeuomorphism in Apple’s mobile operating system. But it doesn’t stop here!

Something we’ve been hearing for a while when talking about Ive’s possible take on an iOS makeover is the word “flat”. Not flat as in boring. Flat as in simpler. This was confirmed last week when 9to5Mac reported that according to their sources, iOS 7 might be black, white, and flat all over.

What does that mean for parts of the UI such as app icons? Our friend Sonny Dickson got his hands on a blurry screenshot showing the Home screen of an iPhone running iOS 7. The image quality is terrible, but with the help of talented designer Surenix, we were able to reproduce some of these icons to give you an exclusive look at what some stock app icons on iOS 7 might look like.

If we had to describe the changes in one word, that would be: unified…

iOS 7 icons mockup

When you look at the current state of stock apps icons, it seems that all of them were designed by different teams. Most of them have a different look. They don’t have unified features that tie them all up together. Some of them have a gloss effect. Some of them don’t. Some of them have borders. Some of them don’t, etc…

From what we’ve seen, we believe Jony Ive’s touch on iOS 7 will homogenize the look of Apple’s stock apps icons. Below are some of the major differences we’ve discovered.

Icon gloss effect: gone!

The first thing that caught my eyes when looking at these icons is that the gloss effect is now gone. Apple first introduced this effect when iPhone OS first came out six years ago. Through its SDK, Apple currently allows developers to either easily add a gloss effect on an icon, or not.

As Surenix explains, each app icon is supported with three different layers. The bottom layer is the drop shadow that all icons sport at the bottom. The secondary layer adds the the gloss effect to an icon. The top mask layer crops the corners of the icons, giving it that unified rounded corners look. We believe the secondary “gloss” layer will not be used for Apple’s apps any longer, and won’t likely be used for third party apps as well.

iOS icons layers_wm

If all the app icons that are currently on my iPhone are any indication, it seems that most developers have actually started going away from the glossy effect and already use a flatter look. It makes sense, especially for applications that are available on different platform. Instagram, for example, wouldn’t want to have a gloss effect on its iOS icon, but no gloss effect on its Android app icon.

A few good examples of this lack of gloss can be seen on the icons of Instagram, Facebook, Clear, and Dropbox.

Instagram Facebook Clear Dropbox

Apple’s own stock apps themselves don’t always have a gloss effect. Here are those that do:

  • App Store
  • Music
  • Photos
  • Phone
  • Mail
  • Voice Memos
  • iTunes
  • Compass
  • Stocks
  • Weather
  • Clock
  • Safari
  • Messages

And here are those that don’t:

  • Calendar
  • Settings
  • Camera
  • Maps
  • Game Center
  • Contacts
  • Videos
  • Notes
  • Calculator
  • Passbook
  • Reminders

As you can tell, it’s about fifty fifty. Thirteen of Apple’s own stock apps come with the gloss effect, while 11 don’t.

Should Apple decide to indeed drop the gloss effect from its own app icons, it wouldn’t be too surprising if it also removed the option from Xcode itself. The result would bring more consistency across Apple apps and the thousands of third party apps out there.

iPhone 5 side by side iOS 7 icons mockup

Weather icon temperature: gone!

Although not a fan of skeuomorphism, it looks like Jony Ive decided to bring a little more real life elements to the Weather app icon by adding a few clouds to it.

Noticeably, and from what we can tell, the icon finally dropped the ever static 73 degrees temperature, which didn’t really make sense to begin with, and might even be confusing to older iOS users who may think the Weather app icon reflects current local weather conditions. Removing the 73 degrees temp from the icon is a smart move.

Icon borders: gone!

Do you know what set the Settings and Reminders app icons apart from all other stock icons? They have a border. These two are the only icons among the 24 stock app icons that have a defined border.

Of course, having a border is highly inconsistent with the rest of the stock icons set, which probably explains why it looks like the Settings icon will get rid of this border. While we couldn’t have a good look at the Reminders app icon, it wouldn’t be surprising if it lost its border too.

Diagonal stripes: gone!

While we can’t really tell from the leaked screenshots, Sonny Dickson tells us he is very confident he saw a “more plain” Phone app icon, without the diagonal stripes. This was also confirmed from another source who called the Phone and Messages app icon “all flat” on iOS 7.

As you can see on Surenix’s rendition of this icon, it looks flatter and cleaner. But more importantly, it looks more consistent with other icons such as the Music icon.

Why Apple used diagonal stripes on the Phone and Messages icon in the first place is a mystery. If the inconsistency of the Phone and Messages app icons drove you crazy (I know it drove me crazy), then you will probably welcome this flatter look.

Bigger is better?

A subtle design change was brought to the camera app icon. The lens is now slightly bigger, covering more real estate on the icon. In my mind, bigger lens, means easier to identify on the screen.

Bottom iPhone 5 iOs 7 icons mockup

Miscellaneous

There are two icons we weren’t really sure about. The Game Center, as you may be able to see on the leaked screenshot above, looks white with a couple blue and yellow round shapes. Could these be boxing gloves? We don’t know for sure so we left this one out. The other icon we didn’t render is the Videos icon. It seems that it now sports a triangle-shaped “play” icon, but we weren’t sure either and left it out of this post for this reason.

Unified icons

As you can tell, there are no dramatic changes here, only subtle ones that bring more consistency and conformity across the Home screen. It seems that those that were expecting big, flat square icons will be disappointed. However, those who like continuity and consistency will be glad to see that some elements of iOS 7 will still look very familiar while bringing delicate changes.

Of course, nothing is set in stone and things could change up a bit before WWDC.

Thanks to Sonny Dickson for sharing this info with us, and thanks to Surenix for his great design work and help with making sense of those changes.

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  • Alex Abbas

    I can’t wait, new icons will change the way I use my phone!!! Lol seriously they really got to show some change this year, samsung have stepped there game, I expect apple show something new this year…

    • pegger1

      Samsung doesn’t make the OS, they make the hardware. So are you asking Apple to step up the hardware upgrade?

      • InShock

        Samsung adds a layer called touchwiz to android. Adds quite a bit of additional features.

  • Albert

    This looks ugly

  • Fraz

    C’mon Apple. When we say that we want a UI change, we don’t necessarily mean change the icons etc. We want easy accessibility to everything. If I can use my iPhone without jailbreaking while having all the features of a jailbreaken phone then I’ll be happy.

    • Sahil

      What u mean is a ‘UX’ change.. Meaning user – experience.. UI means user interface which only deals with how things look! Where as UX is how a user uses things and how he goes about using them !

      • Fraz

        Didn’t know that. UX change it is then :P

  • Dylfo

    It’s just stupid ui overhaul doesn’t mean subtle changes I want it to feel like a new phone

  • Dan

    Wow, revolutionary.
    I hope this is fake, if not, Apple better be planning on some killer features…

  • John Gibel

    Give me a break!! A few things lead me to believe this photo circulating is as fake as a 3 dollar bill. One the area with the icons is on a different plane as the cell phone. Two, the rest of the phone is right in focus but the “screen” is blurry. And finally, doesn’t look any different than what we have now except the photo is blurry.

    • pegger1

      Picture of a picture

  • Gerf

    So basically if we are to believe these are some of the “big” changes then it suits us to just keep our jailbreaks and theme through winterboard. I hope this is fake.

  • Kasper

    If this is iOS7, I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

    • Kaptivator

      LOL…Drastic, but I understand where you’re coming from. All the hype over iOS7 and at first glance its not really moving to me. There are some themes out there that put this to shame.

    • Ian

      Well, I just read in the paper, 18 or so people are going to have a one way ticket to mars in the next few years for science..
      Oh yeah, over 70,000 people have already applied.

  • Ian

    I hope they flatten the stock icons too. Like one video back it had widgets, and a Cydia theme integrated into the concept. The calendar app looked amazing!! That’s what I want.

  • JMRG

    I like it…for iOS6. In fact, hopefully someone will make a theme using the guidelines in the article.

  • Hyr3m

    Removing one layer from 13 icons? What the eff is all that fuss about?

    I bet the designers and graphists at apple spend their days playing canvas rider and watching youtube… (While their legal team finds out more ways to unpatriotically avoid paying taxes)

  • Craig Keller

    9to5 Mac said that things have changed big time since this photo.

  • Beck Hoefling

    I want more features, not as much a new look

  • Alijah Lettieri

    Assuming the image isn’t fake, do I very faintly see the WiFi symbol is now in the top right corner? Since data connections are easier to come by now, it would make sense that the icon moved to the jumble of other icons nobody cares about..

  • Yash Gorana

    That epic moment when Apple shows off iOS 6.1.4 instead of iOS 7 @ WWDC!

    • Alijah Lettieri

      LOL. Goodbye world

    • Ian

      6.1.4 is out already LOL
      Just for iPhone though..

  • Joseph A. Ahmad

    On a side note, this is one of the most fake looking images I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of leaked images of “Apple” products and redesigns. I’m surprised Sebastien didn’t pick up on this.

  • Jason N

    They don’t look any different. Most people won’t even notice. Why spend the time to change. Go big or go home Jonny.

  • Pathman

    you have to be kidding me….does anyone seriously care about the petty differences in the icons? Either a complete redesign or I’m over iOS. It is boring and outdated…..

  • Sparrow

    Fake, the screen doesn’t line up with the phone? Look at the music icon, it’s diagonal and missing some of its bottom.

  • Jordi

    The camera doesn’t look very flat because of the shine…

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Is it just me or does the weather icon look similar to the one used in the Ayecon theme?

  • wd

    iOS 7 should have both better looks and functionality. As much as I want to see better looks, the functionality is what I think is more necessary. Currently I’m only using barely two Apple apps on my iPhone.

  • michael centeno

    lmao! more of the same garbage. crapple sucks

  • Guest

    I don’t like it.

  • ZeRoLiMiT

    I think this is fake or it would be a nice screen shot! idownloadblog what is this?

  • William Kosch

    Newsstand has a border. Not just settings and reminders.

  • Joebaby Chavez

    the same

  • Kent Wu

    You never know, Surenix could be doing work on iOS 7 for apple secretly…

  • http://gradly.net/ Gradly

    I’m glad there is no substantial change in here. Flat and simple are
    only fancy words that people use and they don’t realize the consequences
    (ex: Microsoft’s horrible metro)

  • Michael Shen

    I want something more than these

  • Larry McKoder

    The old icons look “thingy”, by which I mean it looks more physical and it invites clicking. The new icons look less physical and therefore confusing — is it a thing that you can click, or is it just a decoration that you are not supposed to be able to interact with? Your brain has to process for a few milliseconds before you can figure it out.

    This is the beginning of the decline of Apple. The question of can Apple still be Apple without Steve Jobs has been answered. Jony Ive is ruining Steve Jobs’ baby.

    I predict iOS7 will be Apple’s Windows 8. I love Jony Ive’s hardware designs. But being a great hardware designer does not automatically make you a great software designer too. Look at Microsoft. They brought in a great designer from Nike, but being a great shoe designer does not also make you a great software designer. The result is flop after flop after flop: Zune, Windows Phone, Windows 8, Surface. Flat design sucks. It sucks in usability and it sucks in aesthetics. Skeuomorphism is fun, works well and looks good when not overdone. Some Apple products have overdone it, but that doesn’t mean they should throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • wd

    If you look closely, the Mail app and Settings app both have shadows, while the Music app doesn’t. This doesn’t look like something Apple would make.

  • Xtremexx

    in this day and age how the frick can we still be getting grainy ass pictures? well ill just wait

  • Piotr

    Fake

  • Nikuś

    Fake, it can’t be true…

  • elemenoh

    Yawn. Wake me when there’s some real news.

  • rcorrea26 .

    Sooooo ios7 is just a theme change lol. You know how sad this looks that we’re analyzing how the stupid icons look. What difference does it make lol As useless as the new features the S4 has at least they’re trying to innovate. Apple is finishing off blackberrys book on how to continue to sell products which are dated

  • Guy Mayhew

    I think the game centre icon might be multi-coloured baloons?

  • Andy Matthews

    Rcorrea – this is an article about a new look. If you imagine that ios7 is a theme change then its probably best to read a general article on ios7 and give your opinion there.

    This article concentrates on one specific aspect of the new OS. It’s purpose is not to mention anything BUT the aesthetics.

  • http://mp3letras.com/ Daniel Paulino Perez

    A mi en lo personal me gusto mucho este iOS, es una renovación total de lo que estabamos acostumbrados, a pesar de tener un galaxy S3 y ser usuario habitual de android (como 4 años con android), encuentro que apple si me dejo a gusto hoy :)
    espero poder probrar pronto ese OS.

  • David Therog

    the weather app is really disapointing , the symbols are so tiny and against the back ground are realy poor , the ios 6 was better graphics , make the symbols bigger more pronouned please ! any one else find this ?

  • Peter Denis

    Any chance of making this winterboard theme for iOS 7 ? :)