Dynamic theming has seen a significant uptick in adoption since its debut in Android 12, and many third-party apps have hopped on this bandwagon with Android 13. However, there has always been a noticeable holdout – Meta. Now, in what appears to be a significant shift in their approach, Meta’s suite of apps, including Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger, are finally embracing the trend of themed icons on Android.
Meta’s Embrace of Themed Icons
- Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger are now rolling out support for themed icons on Android.
- The new themed icons on Android allow apps to showcase their icons in a color palette that matches Material You generated from users’ wallpapers.
- Originally, this feature wasn’t widely adopted due to limited app support. However, the list of supporting apps has been growing, with Meta being the latest significant addition.
App Versions and Availability
These themed icons are being spotted in the latest Alpha and Beta versions of these apps:
- Instagram: version 307.0.0.0.30 (currently in Alpha) and 307.0.0.0.42 (Beta)
- Facebook: version 4184.108.40.206.30 (Alpha)
- Facebook Messenger: version 4220.127.116.11.8 (Alpha and Beta)
It’s essential to note that these Alpha releases won’t be found in the Play Store like the usual beta programs. Instead, Facebook has chosen to distribute these versions via a more private group. However, for those eager to try them out, sideloading is an option, provided the APKs come from a reliable source. As for when these updates will be available to the broader user base via stable releases, the exact timeline remains uncertain.
The Rise of Dynamic Theming
Instagram’s adoption of dynamic theming implies that its icon will now harmonize with a user’s phone wallpaper, adopting the core color palette and presenting a cohesive visual experience. Powering this feature is Android’s Monet theming engine. The significance of this move is highlighted when considering the steps taken by other renowned apps, such as X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Reddit, Telegram, and WhatsApp, which have already incorporated this feature.
Android 13 was the torchbearer for dynamic app icons. Although many apps were initially hesitant, leading to a patchwork of visual consistency on users’ home screens, the scenario is changing as more app developers acknowledge and embrace this trend.
What This Means for Users
With the rollout of these themed icons, users who prefer a unified look on their Android home screens will find relief. Previously, the non-compliant icons from Meta’s apps often ended up hidden within folders or relegated to secondary streams. The forthcoming changes suggest users can soon flaunt these apps on their primary screens without any aesthetic disruptions. There’s also hope that this feature will coincide with upcoming Android updates or potential feature drops, enhancing user experience further.
The Broader Implication for App Developers
Meta’s decision to adopt dynamic theming might serve as an impetus for other developers, especially those still contemplating the jump. The continued evolution of Android’s theming capabilities, coupled with the adoption rate by major players, offers a clear message: user-centric design is not just a fad, but a critical aspect of modern app development. Developers that don’t adapt risk being left behind in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
Meta’s gradual move towards adopting dynamic-themed icons indicates the growing influence and popularity of Android’s theming engine. As one of the last major holdouts, Meta’s shift could potentially influence other developers to adopt this feature more swiftly, leading to a more unified and aesthetically pleasing Android experience for users worldwide.
Furthermore, this transition by Meta, a tech giant, sheds light on the evolving nature of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design philosophies in the tech industry. As devices become more personal and integrated into our daily lives, the need for more customized and user-centric designs becomes imperative. Such dynamic theming doesn’t merely make our devices aesthetically pleasing; it underlines the importance of aligning technology with personal tastes and preferences, ensuring a seamless blend between our digital and physical worlds.