How to Get Adaptive Icons on Any Android Device

One of the broken features of Android has always been app icons. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a stock or a custom icon pack, once you take a look at your app drawer, you’ll quickly realize that most of the apps are out of place. Android Oreo tries to fix this issue by adding support for “Adaptive Icons”. All this is fine until you realize that you don’t know when you’ll get the Oreo update. Unless you’re one of the minority users with a Nexus or Pixel device, the wait will be long. But would you be interested if I told you that you don’t have to wait for Android Oreo to get this feature? Well, we’re going to do exactly that. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about adaptive icons, and also show you how to get this feature without having to upgrade to Android Oreo.

note: You will need a device running Android Lollipop (5.0) or higher. I’m using my OnePlus 3 running Android Nougat.

What are Adaptive Icons?

Adaptive icons, as the name suggests, are icons that can adapt to any shape or size. The shape and size of the icons are changed by applying different masks on them. As you know, different OEMs and different launchers use different masks for their native implementations. This means that when you download a third-party app, its icon will most likely appear in place. This problem can be solved with adaptive icons. Adaptive icons contain two layers. One is a solid background layer and the other is a transparent foreground layer.. These layers allow launchers to cut icons to fit the native look of the launcher or the device you are using.

One thing to note here is that Android Oreo may support this feature, but it’s still up to the developers to implement this feature. However, once developers step in and start adding adaptive icons, all of your apps can be masked to look the same. Developers also get some incentive to include adaptive icons. this two-tier configuration will allow them to play with various visual effects Like depth of field and parallax to give their icons a unique look. Therefore, we can expect developers to include adaptive icons in the future.

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Get Adaptive Icons Without Oreo

If you’re a regular Beebom reader, you might know that we love Nova Launcher. This is because besides being one of the most versatile and unique launchers available on the Play Store, it is one of the few launchers that receives regular updates and brings the features found in the latest version of Android to its bigger siblings. With the latest beta update, Nova started supporting adaptive icons as well. So let’s take a look at how we can get them.

1. Become a Beta Tester of Nova Launcher

Before we move on, as this feature was introduced with the latest beta update, You will need to install the beta version of Nova Launcher. If you don’t want to install the beta software, you will have to wait a few weeks until the feature is introduced in the stable version. If you want to try it now, Nova Launcher’s Beta Play Store page and login with your account. Here, Click on “Become a Tester Button”. The page will now show you that you are a tester.

If you don’t want to take this step, visit: Official beta website of Nova Launcher and scroll down to find the latest beta. Here, Download and install the APK on your device.

apk

2. Using Adaptive Icons

Since this is a feature still in beta, there are a few bugs here and there, other than that it should work fine. Ok, in the meantime, let’s see how we can use adaptive icons.

  • Open Nova Settings and Tap on “Look and feel”.

Stage 1

  • Here, enable “Adaptive Icons” by tapping the toggle. Now tap on “Adaptive Icon Shape”.

step 2

  • you can here choose the shape you want for your icons. For this lesson, I will choose “Squircle”.

Stage 3

  • Now that we’ve done that, let’s see if the changes are displayed in our app drawer. As you can see, not much has changed. This is because the developers have not updated their apps to include adaptive icons..

step 4

  • Don’t worry, Nova launcher provides a workaround for that too. Until developers support adaptive icons, Nova Launcher lets you forcibly mask old icons. To do this, go to step three and Enable “mask old icons”. Now, let’s see what my app drawer looks like.
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Step 5

As you can see, Nova Launcher has forced all legacy icons to adopt our selected icon shape. The best part is that Nova uses the app’s accent colors for the background. This makes the app’s icons look more natural. Here are pictures of my app drawer showing other shapes for icons.

see photo

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Get Adaptive Icons On Any Android Device

As you can see in the images above, Nova Launcher allows you to have Adaptive Icons feature even if you are not running Android Oreo. I also like the forced masking feature that keeps the old icons sticking to the design language. Of course, this won’t be necessary as more and more developers start adding adaptive icons to their apps. However, until that happens, the forced masking feature is great for maintaining the homogeneous look and feel of a person’s android device. Try this feature and let us know if you like it or not. Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below.