MacOS Big Sur is here – but users aren't loving its icons

MacOS Big Sur has been a long time coming, with the new operating system announced way back in June at Apple's WWDC event. It's finally here, and users are now getting to grips with new features as well as brand new look. But one aspect of the updated design is already drawing heat from users online.

MacOS Big Sur's icons appear to mark a return to skeuomorphism, which is more realistic than flat design. With increased shadows adding texture and depth, these new icons are certainly more 3D. But after downloading the new software, many users have taken to Twitter to make their feelings known about the changes. (If you're in the market for a Mac, check out our best MacBook Black Friday deals.)

MacOS Big Sur icons

Some of MacOS Big Sur's new icons (Image credit: Apple)

When the software was first announced back in June, many beta users were less than complimentary about the new icons. In a MacRumors thread dedicated to the offending designs, users described the icons as "horrific and poorly designed," with one suggesting "it's like Apple has just discovered the shadow effect". And now that the software is finally available to the public, many more users are sharing their thoughts.

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As the world of icon and logo design marches on towards flat design, a return to 3D, skeuomorphic design might seem like a backwards step for Apple. Perhaps the problem here is a lack of consistency – while the Stickies icon (with its handwritten shopping list) is positively skeuomorphic with its realistic design, others (such as Messages and Facetime) look like modern, flat designs with a drop shadow slapped on. It's almost as though Apple can't make up its mind which way it wants to go.

However, not everybody is hating the new designs. Indeed, some (below) are enjoying the extra detail of the new style, and appreciating the more fun, colourful look. 

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While Apple may well continue to tweak the icons and eventually find a sweet spot between the two design styles, we'd like to see a little more consistency across MacOS Big Sur.

There's been plenty for Mac fans to get their teeth into over the past few days, with the launch of Big Sur as well as the announcement of not one but three new Macs featuring Apple's own custom M1 chips. Check out the best MacBook deals below, and if you're looking for all the best Apple offers in one place, head over to our Apple Black Friday page. 

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.