When making apps for current generations of Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices, application developers must use a certain set of images meeting Apple’s strict Custom Icon and Image Creation Guidelines. As a bare minimum, one needs an application icon and a launch image. However, Apple recommends that apps provide quite a few additional images, such as an icon to be used by iOS when showing Spotlight search results and Settings. Apps that can handle certain file types (such as documents, audio, or video clips) will require images to represent their supported file types. Most apps will also need a fair share of icons to draw their navigation bars, tab bars and toolbars.
As a rule of thumb, Apple has very strict requirements on how to draw these icons so that each app running on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod platform conforms to general specifications and visual guidelines. Specifications ensure that your app looks in line with products offered by Apple and other developers.
The Retina Display: Making Icons That Look Great
Apple’s new pixel-packed Retina display packs more pixels into a small area than was possible just a few years ago. These high-resolution displays allow showing the highest definition graphics to display crisp images with the feel of dimensionality and depth. As such, Retina displays will naturally require higher resolution graphics to be employed in navigation bars, toolbars, and tab bars. Texture-reach, highly detailed, and more realistic images with multiple small elements and carvings will produce the most pleasing effect of three-dimensionality and depth. To display great graphics on Retina displays, developers need their icons in resolutions of up to 60×60 pixels.
Icons for Navigation Bars, Toolbars, and Tab Bars
While, generally, apps can use graphics in any reasonable size or resolution, there are several common sizes your icons must include in order for iOS to draw them properly in navigation bars, toolbars, and tab bars.
For iPhone and iPod touch toolbar and navigation bars, Apple requires the image resolutions of 20 x 20 pixels (standard resolution) and 40 x 40 pixels (high resolution, for Retina displays). Toolbar and navigation bars in iPad apps use 20 x 20 pixel versions solely.
Tab bar icons are specified in two sizes. 30 x 30 pixel icons are used in tab bars displayed in iPad, iPhone and iPod touch apps in standard resolution. In addition, iPhone and iPod touch apps with the Retina display will benefit from having super-sized images in sizes of 60 x 60 pixels.
Ready-Made Icons for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Navigation Bars, Toolbars, and Tab Bars
Aha-Soft offers a collection of ready-made royalty-free icons conforming to Apple’s guidelines for toolbars, navigation bars and tab bars. App Tab Bar Icons for iPhone offer a simple way to create stunning navigation bars, toolbars, and tab bars in iPhone, iPad, and iPod apps. 120 unique app icons are provided in all standard sizes of 20×20, 30×30, 40×40, and 60×60 pixels. Each icon is supplied in black and white versions. Raster PNG and PSD files and scalable vector AI, SVG, and PDF sources are provided.
Do you want to create icon images yourself? Read more at iconeditor.info