Image Size and Resolution

The coordinates system iOS uses to place content onscreen is based on measurements in points, which map to pixels in the display. On a standard-resolution screen, one point is equal to one pixel. High-resolution screens have a higher pixel density. Because there are more pixels in the same amount of physical space, there are more pixels per point. As a result, high-resolution displays require images with more pixels.

Supply high-resolution images for all artwork in your app, for all devices your app supports. Depending on the device, you accomplish this by multiplying the number of pixels in each image by a specific scale factor. A standard resolution image has a scale factor of 1.0 and is referred to as an @1x image. High resolution images have a scale factor of 2.0 or 3.0 and are referred to as @2x and @3x images. Suppose you have a standard resolution @1x image that’s 100px × 100px, for example. The @2x version of this image would be 200px × 200px. The @3x version would be 300px × 300px.

Device Scale factor
iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus @3x
All other high-resolution iOS devices @2x

Designing High-Resolution Artwork

Use an 8px-by-8px grid. A grid keeps lines sharp and ensures that content is as crisp as possible at all sizes, requiring less retouching and sharpening. Snap the image boundaries to the grid to minimize half pixels and blurry details that can occur when scaling down.

Produce artwork in the appropriate format. In general, use de-interlaced PNG files for bitmap/raster artwork. PNG supports transparency and, because it's lossless, compression artifacts don't blur important details or alter colors. It's a good choice for intricate artwork that requires effects like shading, textures, and highlights. Use JPEG for photos. Its compression algorithm usually produces smaller sizes than lossless formats and artifacts are harder to discern in photos. Photo-realistic app icons, however, look best as PNGs. Use PDF for glyphs and other flat, vector artwork that requires high-resolution scaling.

Use the 8-bit color palette for PNG graphics that don’t require full 24-bit color. Using an 8-bit color palette reduces file size without reducing image quality. This palette is not appropriate for photos.

Optimize JPEG files to find a balance between size and quality. Most JPEG files can be compressed without noticeable degradation of the resulting image. Even a small amount of compression can save significant disk space. Experiment with compression settings on each image to find the optimal value that yields an acceptable result.

Provide alternative text labels for images and 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.