Google’s updated design language, called Material You, makes interface design a much more personalized experience on Android phones with UI elements that pull their colors from your wallpaper. But the theme could not be limited to message shadow, accent colors and app background. The evidence is growing that it can also be extended to app icons – if developers add support to it.
As reported by app-devs kdrag0n and Kieron Quinn, there is a hidden flag that allows you to theme a few app icons on Android 12 Beta 2 that match the colors retrieved from your wallpaper. The list is currently exclusive to most pre-installed Google apps that are safe for a few like Messaging, Phone and Photos.
Credits: Kieron Quinn (left), kdrag0n (center and right).
In the examples above, you can see that apps have been given accent-colored backgrounds and black iconography in light mode, while conversely in dark mode. This makes the icons monochrome, giving a beautiful and discreet design that is almost the opposite of Google’s recent push for candy-colored app icons. First, I would not mind such a home screen.
According to evidence gathered by Quinn, it seems that the list of compatible apps is currently hard-coded in Pixel Launcher. While support may initially be limited to these pre-installed Google apps, it seems that the company is getting everything in place to extend support to third-party apps. Developer Dylan Roussel has already implemented theme support for a pre-release version of his device information app Inware.
So, I did something again 🙂
The icon can be based on these colors. pic.twitter.com/mRYXWYMOek
– Dylan Roussel (@evowizz) May 20, 2021
For now, it’s still up in the air if Google really wants to pull through with these drastic changes in app icon design. For all we know, the company may use these theme icons elsewhere than the launcher, such as in the notification screen or the News screen.
For more on Android 12, see our ongoing series coverage here, or bookmark our regularly updated change log and check in later. If you want to install the developer preview on your own device, find out how to find it in our Android 12 download guide.