Buzz of App Store Optimization (ASO) | App Marketing Blog

iOS App Icon Guidelines: Designing Iconic First Impressions

create stunning app icons with our iOS App Icon Guidelines article!

When it comes to mobile app design, one of the most critical elements that can influence user engagement is the app icon. The iOS platform, with its aesthetically pleasing interface and millions of users, requires app developers to pay special attention to designing an icon that stands out. This article will provide comprehensive guidelines for creating iOS app icons that leave a lasting impression on users.


2. Importance of App Icons

Before delving into the technical aspects, it’s essential to understand the significance of app icons. In the vast sea of applications available on the App Store, an eye-catching and well-designed app icon is crucial for grabbing users’ attention and enticing them to explore further. A visually appealing icon can create a positive first impression and set the stage for an exceptional user experience.


3. iOS App Icon Specifications

To ensure compatibility across various iOS devices and maintain visual consistency, it’s vital to adhere to the iOS app icon specifications. Here are the key elements to consider:


3.1 Icon Sizes

iOS app icons are required in multiple sizes to accommodate different screen resolutions. The following sizes are recommended:

  • 180×180 pixels (iPhone and iPad Pro with iOS 7.0+)
  • 120×120 pixels (iPhone and iPad with Retina display)
  • 87×87 pixels (iPhone and iPad)
  • 80×80 pixels (iPad Pro)
  • 60×60 pixels (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)


App Icon TypeDimensions (in pixels)
iPhone App Icon180×180
iPad App Icon152×152
App Store Icon1024×1024
Spotlight Search Icon40×40 (iOS 14 and later) / 80×80 (iOS 13 and earlier)
Settings Icon29×29 (iOS 6-10) / 58×58 (iOS 11 and later)
Notifications Icon20×20
App Clip Icon120×120
Messages App Icon60×60
Watch App Icon86×86
CarPlay App Icon120×120
iMessage App Icon1024×1024



Sure, here is a table of iOS app icon specifications:

Screen SizeIcon SizeResolution
iPhone180x180px60pt x 60pt @3x
iPhone (2x)120x120px60pt x 60pt @2x
iPad Pro167x167px83.5pt x 83.5pt @2x
iPad, iPad Mini152x152px76pt x 76pt @2x
App Store1024x1024px1024pt x 1024pt @1x


Additional Requirements:

  • The app icon should be in PNG format.
  • The app icon should be 32-bit.
  • The app icon should have a transparent background.
  • The app icon should be no larger than 1024 KB.

Each icon size carries its own emotional flavor, reflecting the unique experience they bring to iOS devices. So, go ahead and infuse your app icons with the right emotions to captivate and engage users in the world of mobile applications!


3.2 Icon Formats

The recommended file format for iOS app icons is PNG. Additionally, Apple supports the use of the HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) file format.

3.3 Icon Design Tips

To ensure optimal visual quality, consider the following tips when designing your iOS app icon:

  • Opt for a square-shaped icon with rounded corners.
  • Utilize simple and recognizable shapes.
  • Avoid excessive detail that may become indistinguishable when scaled down.
  • Use a limited color palette that aligns with your app’s branding.
  • Ensure your icon looks appealing on both light and dark backgrounds.


iOS App Icon Guidelines: High-quality graphics


4. Creating a Memorable App Icon

Designing a memorable app icon requires thoughtful planning and attention to detail. Here are some essential steps to guide you through the process:


4.1 Research and Inspiration

Begin by researching the app icons of successful apps in your niche. Analyze their design choices and identify common themes or elements that resonate with your target audience. This research will help you generate ideas and find inspiration for your own icon.

4.2 Simplify and Optimize

In the era of minimalistic design, simplicity is key. Aim to convey the essence of your app in a visually pleasing and straightforward manner. Avoid clutter and unnecessary complexity, focusing on creating a clean and polished icon that captures the attention of users.

4.3 Focus on Clarity

Your app icon should be instantly recognizable and convey the app’s purpose or function. Use symbols, imagery, or typography that clearly represents the core features or values of your app. Prioritize clarity to ensure users can quickly identify and remember your icon among the sea of competing apps.

4.4 Incorporate Branding Elements

Integrate your brand’s visual identity into the app icon. This can include using brand colors, typography, or recognizable brand symbols. Consistency in branding helps create a sense of familiarity and trust among users.

4.5 Test and Iterate

Once you’ve created a preliminary icon design, gather feedback from potential users or focus groups. Analyze their reactions and iterate on your design based on their input. A/B testing different variations can also help determine which design resonates best with your target audience.



5. App Store Optimization (ASO) and App Icons

An often overlooked aspect of app icon design is its impact on App Store Optimization (ASO). Here’s how your app icon can contribute to your app’s visibility and downloads:

5.1 App Store Guidelines

To ensure your app icon meets Apple’s guidelines, avoid misleading or inaccurate representations of your app’s functionality. Apple’s App Store review process carefully examines icons for compliance, so it’s crucial to follow their guidelines to avoid rejection.

5.2 Reflecting App Functionality

Consider incorporating visual elements in your app icon that reflect your app’s core functionality. This can help users understand the purpose of your app at a glance, improving the chances of them downloading it.

5.3 A/B Testing and Conversion Rates

Experiment with different app icon designs and measure their impact on conversion rates. A well-optimized icon can significantly increase the number of downloads and attract users who resonate with your brand and value proposition.


iOS App Icon Guidelines: Transparent background


The app icon serves as the first point of contact between your app and potential users. By following the iOS app icon guidelines and implementing effective design principles, you can create an iconic and memorable representation of your app. Remember to prioritize simplicity, clarity, and brand consistency. A well-designed app icon can be the catalyst for a successful app launch and long-term user engagement.



7. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


7.1 Why is the app icon important?

The app icon is crucial as it plays a vital role in capturing users’ attention and conveying the essence of your app’s purpose. It acts as the initial representation of your brand and can significantly impact user engagement.

7.2 Can I use my company logo as the app icon?

While it’s tempting to use your company logo, it’s recommended to design a separate app icon that encapsulates your app’s unique identity. App icons require specific dimensions and design considerations that may not align with your logo’s characteristics.

7.3 How often should I update my app icon?

Updating your app icon should be approached with caution. While occasional updates can help freshen your app’s look, frequent changes may confuse existing users. Assess the need for an update based on significant rebranding, feature updates, or design improvements.

7.4 Is it necessary to follow the iOS guidelines strictly?

Yes, it’s essential to adhere to the iOS app icon guidelines to ensure your app is approved for the App Store. Non-compliant icons may result in rejection or delays during the review process.

7.5 What tools can I use to design app icons?

There are several graphic design tools available for creating app icons, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, or online platforms like Canva. Choose a tool that suits your comfort and proficiency level.



Some other Tips

Simple icons are easier for people to understand and recognize, especially at smaller sizes.

Your app icon should be unique and memorable, so that users can easily identify it on the App Store.

Your app icon should be sharp and clear, so that it looks good on all devices.

This will allow your app icon to blend in with the App Store’s background, making it stand out even more.

Text can be difficult to read at smaller sizes, so it’s best to avoid using it in your app icon.

iOS App Icon Guidelines: Avoid using text


Final words about iOS App icon Guideline


  • Use simplicity. Simple icons are easier for people to understand and recognize, especially at smaller sizes.
  • Choose a distinctive design. Your app icon should be unique and memorable, so that users can easily identify it on the App Store.
  • Use high-quality graphics. Your app icon should be sharp and clear, so that it looks good on all devices.
  • Use a transparent background. This will allow your app icon to blend in with the App Store’s background, making it stand out even more.
  • Avoid using text. Text can be difficult to read at smaller sizes, so it’s best to avoid using it in your app icon.
  • Follow Apple’s guidelines. Apple has specific guidelines for app icons, so be sure to follow them to ensure that your icon is accepted into the App Store.


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ASO Expert

I am Hanif Marwat – ASO Expert & UA Specialist. I have 5 years of professional & freelance experience in app/game marketing, where I have achieved 10 million downloads many times.

I am also writing articles on, my hobby site, where I love to share my learning through writing.

Hanif Marwat

Hanif Marwat