Facebook and Instagram are finally adding themed app icons for Android

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).

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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. in alpha. 

He later added that the Facebook has also added themed icon support in app version 439. alpha. Meanwhile, Andrew Pallach has reported that Facebook Messenger version 433. in beta has also added support.

themed app icons

Rahman initially reported that Instagram had added themed app icon support, leaving Facebook the odd one our in his social media folder (Image credit: Mishaal Rahman)

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.

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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).

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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.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.