Custom Icons

If your app includes tasks or modes that can’t be represented by a system icon, or if the system icons don’t match your app’s style, you can create your own icons.

Create recognizable, highly-simplified designs. Too many details can make an icon confusing or unreadable. Strive for a simple, universal design that most people will recognize quickly and won’t find offensive. The best icons use familiar visual metaphors that are directly related to the actions they initiate or content they reveal.

App icon

Glyph

Glyph (color applied)

Design icons as glyphs. A glyph, also known as a template image, is a monochromatic image with transparency, anti-aliasing, and no drop shadow that uses a mask to define its shape. Glyphs automatically receive the appropriate appearance—including coloring, highlighting, and vibrancy—based on the context and user interactions. A variety of standard interface elements support glyphs, including navigation bars, tab bars, toolbars, and Home screen quick actions.

Prepare glyphs with a scale factor of @2x and save them as PDFs. Because PDF is a vector format that allows for high-resolution scaling, it's typically sufficient to provide a single @2x version in your app and allow it to scale for other resolutions.

Keep your icons consistent. Whether you use only custom icons or mix custom and system icons, all icons in your app should be the same in terms of level of detail, optical weight, stroke weight, position, and perspective.

Make sure icons are legible. In general, solid icons tend to be clearer than outlined icons. If an icon must includes lines, coordinate the weight with other icons and your app's typography.

Use color to communicate selected and deselected states. Avoid toggling between two different icon designs, like a solid version and an outlined version.

Avoid including text in an icon. If you need text, display a label beneath the icon and adjust its placement accordingly.

Don’t use replicas of Apple hardware products. Apple products are copyrighted and can’t be reproduced in your icons or images. In general, avoid displaying replicas of devices because hardware designs tend to change frequently and can make your icon look dated.

Provide alternative text labels for icons. Alternative text labels aren’t visible onscreen, but they let VoiceOver audibly describe what's onscreen, making navigation easier for people with visual impairments.

Custom Icon Sizes

Above all, your app's icon family should be visually consistent in size. If individual icon designs vary in weight, some icons may need to be slightly larger than others to achieve this effect.

Navigation Bar and Toolbar Icon Size

Use the following sizes for guidance when preparing custom navigation bar and toolbar icons, but adjust as needed to create balance.

Target sizes Maximum sizes
75px × 75px (25pt × 25pt @3x) 83px × 83px (27.67pt × 27.67pt @3x)
50px × 50px (25pt × 25pt @2x) 56px × 56px (28pt × 28pt @2x)

Tab Bar Icon Size

In portrait orientation, tab bar icons appear above tab titles. In landscape orientation, the icons and titles appear side-by-side. Depending on the device and orientation, the system displays either a regular or compact tab bar. Your app should include custom tab bar icons for both sizes.

Attribute Regular tab bars Compact tab bars
Target width and height (circular glyphs) 75px × 75px (25pt × 25pt @3x) 54px × 54px (18pt × 18pt @3x)
50px × 50px (25pt × 25pt @2x) 36px × 36px (18pt × 18pt @2x)
Target width and height (square glyphs) 69px × 69px (23pt × 23pt @3x) 51px × 51px (17pt × 17pt @3x)
46px × 46px (23pt × 23pt @2x) 34px × 34px (17pt × 17pt @2x)
Target width (wide glyphs) 93px (31pt @3x) 69px (23pt @3x)
62px (31pt @2x) 46px (23pt @2x)
Target height (tall glyphs) 84px (28pt @3x) 60px (20pt @3x)
56px (28pt @2x) 40px (20pt @2x)