One of the lesser-known new features in iOS 10.3 is the ability for third-party apps to offer alternative home screen icons, and today the first major apps have been updated for these new capabilities, reports TechCrunch. Both MLB.com At Bat and NHL now provide the ability for users to change the default home screen icon to reflect their favourite team’s logo. Both apps will prompt the user initially to select an icon to use when first re-entering the app or setting up their favourite teams for the first time, however users can change the icon to another team at any time from the app’s settings. Interestingly, for whatever reason icons don’t yet appear to be available for all teams (sorry, Leafs fans).
The iOS 10.3 feature, described in a new User-Selectable App Icons section in Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines, suggests that it should be used in conjunction with theme customization to “evoke a personal connection and enhance the user experience,” specifically describing the use of a sports app as a primary example. The guidelines emphasize that the user should only be able to change the icon when theme customization is a “primary feature” of the app, and that the icon can only be changed by the user, and iOS will always require explicit confirmation of such a change, preventing app developers from simply swapping out icons behind the scenes. Replacement icons must also be used consistently through the entire iOS user experience, including not only on the home screen, but also in places like the Spotlight and Settings apps. Notably, these guidelines preclude any use of “live” icons that could be used to reflect things like changing weather conditions or time and date information — it seems like these features will remain limited to Apple’s own core apps like Calendar and Clock.