As Android 14 rolls out, it seems Meta is finally getting on board with Google's Material You design language. Some users have reported getting themed app icons for Instagram, Facebook and Messenger in alpha versions of the Android apps. And some are already unhappy with the move.
Themed app icons for Android adapt to match the colour palette that the operating system's Material You design language generates from users' chosen wallpaper. This has the potential is to create a uniform menu of app icons, held back only by the feature's limited support among apps. Themed icons themselves launched way back on Android 12 and they expanded to third-party apps in Android 13, but until now Meta had only added support in Threads (see our pick of the best social media platforms for artists).
Facebook also now has a themed icon on Android, starting with version 422.214.171.124.30 (alpha)!Thanks to White_Eagle_ on Telegram for the tip! https://t.co/dcZD43JcAy pic.twitter.com/98OXGOdIFVOctober 22, 2023
Instagram's Threads has already added themed icon support for Android in its stable release, and it seems other Meta apps will now follow suit. Mishaal Rahman of Android Central has reported on Twitter that an themed Android Instagram icon has been added in Instagram app version 307.0.0.0.30 in alpha.
He later added that the Facebook has also added themed icon support in app version 4126.96.36.199.30 alpha. Meanwhile, Andrew Pallach has reported that Facebook Messenger version 4188.8.131.52.8 in beta has also added support.
But there has already been some criticism of the designs. Some people dislike the overall concept of Material You's adaptive icons. "I absolutely hate material you for this. Every icon looks the same: no colour, no personality," one person wrote on Twitter. Others questioned the spacing around the Facebook logo in its app icon.
Can't unsee the gap 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/D985rMXcRCOctober 22, 2023
However, for many Meta's move is long overdue. Some have been calling for Meta to support themed icons since the launch of Android 13 last year. Now they want apps such as Snapchat, Discord and Amazon to get on board.
Users' expectation of themed icon support in Android adds another element to consider when brands designing app icons. It's long been recommended to consider what a logo looks like in black and white even if it will almost always be used in colour, and here's a good example of why. Themed app icons need to be recogisable when viewed in myriad different colour combinations (we've seen the controversy over the similar Google app icons even in colour).
@facebook @TikTokSupport @instagram When are you guys going to update your app icons on Android 13 to match themed icons? It's playing hell with my OCD @madebygoogle pic.twitter.com/VZuTJ7WYDxNovember 5, 2022
Meta only makes alpha releases available via a private Google group (Facebook explains how to join here). We don't know when the themed icon support will be extended to the stable versions of the apps available from Google Play.
See our history of the Instagram logo and the new Facebook logo to learn more on the social media platform's designs. And if you're looking for a new Android phone that will get Android 14, see our pick of the best camera phones.