The 50×50 Icon Size for the iPad

If you’ve built iOS applications using AIR for iOS (also known as the Packager for iPhone in Flash Professional), you may have come across an inconsistency in icon sizes. According to the iOS Human Interface Guidelines, Apple says you need a 50×50 icon for iPad applications (for use in Spotlight search results), but AIR doesn’t support 50×50 icons. Instead, we support a 48×48 icon both on the desktop, and for the iPad. There are two reasons we stuck with the 48×48 icon size rather than 50×50:

  1. Apple trims a one pixel border from the icon in order to add a shadow, so the icon is really 48×48.
  2. Since we already support 48×48 icons for the desktop, and since Apple turns your 50×50 icon into a 48×48 icon anyway, we figured we should just stick with the 48×48 icon.

Unfortunately, there’s one problem: Apple is currently trimming the one-pixel border off the 48×48 icon, so your 48×48 icons are actually 46×46. The good news is that this is a known issue and we’re fixing it in a very cool way. Rather than supporting 50×50 icons, we’re planning to continue to support 48×48 icons, but we will add a one-pixel border around the icon for you which Apple will then trim off. That means you can design your 48×48 icons without having to worry about the fact that you are going to lose two pixels in both dimensions.

I can’t say when this fix will be out just yet, but I can confirm that it’s in the works.

3 Responses to The 50×50 Icon Size for the iPad

  1. Radley says:

    While you guys are adding in new icon sizes, can we also get desktop app icon sizes like 256 x 256 & 512 x 512? They’ve been a part of real desktop apps for YEARS. Would be nice for AIR apps to look like real apps too…


  2. Mike says:

    Has this been implemented? It’s now the end of February, 2012, so I’m hoping that’s the case. Thanks!

  3. Romeo Copaciu says:

    It would be nice to just let us use any icon size we believe necessary. Maybe I want to deploy an air app to a windows system that uses 188×188 icons. For example a custom console running windows.

    Maybe I’m overlooking something, but seems like a possible alternative.