Here’s why you can’t disable Adaptive Icons in Android Oreo

|

Android 8 Oreo is far from a revolutionary OS that brings your wildest fantasies about future tech to life. In fact, Google focuses on the back-end here. Most changes were made under the hood, so an average user coming from Android Nougat can barely see the difference.

That’s why users who care about their phones debate about some ‘less important’ features way more than they would if there were some game-changers involved.

A particular feature that people usually complain about is the Adaptive Icons. In fact, I’ve barely seen a positive review of this feature. This tells us one thing. Android Oreo users are divided into two groups – those who hate Adaptive Icons and those who simply don’t care enough to talk about them.

Since the second group probably won’t even bother to search for this article, it’s for all of you who have a feud with Adaptive Icons in Android Oreo. For all of you who are frustrated for being trapped with Adaptive Icons and don’t really get why it has to be that way.

We’ll discuss it all here.

Why are Adaptive Icons there in the first place?

Unlike iOS, where Apple pretty much controls the whole ecosystem, Android (being an open source OS) gives each member of its family more liberties. Individually, that’s a great thing. But it may not be beneficial for the greater good.

Developers have the freedom to polish every single aspect of their apps to smallest details. Both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. But we’ll focus on the aesthetics here. Subjectively looking, even though a single app’s icon looks great, it may not fit in with the rest of the icons, giving your home screen an awkward uniquely biased look.

These inconsistencies usually irritate people. In fact, people have been complaining about this since the earliest days of Android. And the fact that different phones all have their own custom ROM brings even more inequality.

So, Google decided to normalize things by trying to satisfy everyone’s taste. That’s how the idea of the Adaptive Icons was born. In theory, the whole plan looks legit and doable. But the result we got with Android Oreo speaks differently.

What are Adaptive Icons

The biggest misconception people have about Adaptive Icons is that it’s a launcher or appearance customization feature. That’s not true. Adaptive Icons is a system feature that should make third-party apps’ icons in-line with default icons provided by OEM.

I won’t dig into technical details too much here, so here’s how Google explainsAdaptive Icons:

“Android 8.0 (API level 26) introduces adaptive launcher icons, which can display a variety of shapes across different device models. For example, an adaptive launcher icon can display a circular shape on one OEM device, and display a squircle on another device. Each device OEM provides a mask, which the system then uses to render all adaptive icons with the same shape. Adaptive launcher icons are also used in shortcuts, the Settings app, sharing dialogs, and the overview screen.”

In order to follow Google’s rules of Adaptive Icons developers have to submit their icons in two layers, a transparent foreground layer and a solid background layer. As explained above, the launcher then cuts the layers into a shape specified by OEM.

As the OS uses an already provided mask to shape the icons automatically, there’s nothing you can do about it. Even though you’re not satisfied with the outcome. It’s just how the system works.

Now you know that as long as you’re using Android Oreo, Adaptive Icons will be there. You can’t simply erase them from your phone in any way. But, there’s a way to at least change the appearance of Adaptive Icons on your phone.

Obviously, this can’t be done using your stock launcher, but if you really can’t stand the current look of Adaptive Icons on your phone, there’s a third-party solution.

Use Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher is arguably the most popular third-party launcher for Android. Mostly because of its wealth of customization features. This includes the ability to change the shape of Adaptive Icons, which was introduced last year.

So, if you want to at least do something about your ugly adaptive icons, you can change their shape. I know it’s not what you’re looking for, but it gives you some customization freedom. Here’s how to change Adaptive Icons in Nova Launcher:

  1. Open Nova Launcher Settings.
  2. Go to Look & Feel Adaptive Icons.
  3. Choose the preffered shape of Adaptive Icons.

That’s about it. It is a bare minimum, but at least you’re able to adjust the icons to a more likable shape. That’s better than not being able to do anything about Adaptive Icons at all.

As it appears, Google still hasn’t solved the problem with unbiased icons on various Android phones. But we have another Android version ahead of us. As we still don’t know what will the new version bring, we can only hope Google will introduce a more viable solution for icons on your Home screen. Hopefully a better one.

What do you think about Adaptive Icons in Android Oreo and the way they function? Let us know in the comments below.

Get to know your phone!

If you just learned something new about your phone, and want more of that, subscribe to our newsletter.

We guarantee 100% privacy. Your name/email address will never be shared.
avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Jess
Guest
Jess

YOU ARE MY HERO. ?

Patrik Ekenberg
Guest
Patrik Ekenberg

Sign me up in the non-existent group that likes adaptive icons. I am looking forward to apps being forced onto Oreo in November so that my home screen can finally look neat and tidy.

Leland Cox
Guest
Leland Cox

Fix: My always on clock does not work. A feature i have used and really like!

JOHN
Guest
JOHN

I like the idea of adaptive icons, but google should polish the icons of its own apps. I have samsung phone, and they only put white background around old icons – it looks awfull, especially on home screen.

Colin Richardson
Guest
Colin Richardson

Looks like Facebook is the first to not ship with a Legacy icon.. shame

Penderghast
Guest
Penderghast

You, sir, are a hero. Thank you.

Mufti
Guest
Mufti

Thanks dy for the tip! Doesn’t work for all icons (especially Google’s own calendar, sigh) but does improve matters. I never minded the different icons, made stuff easier to find! I really can’t understand some of the decisions Google and Apple have made recently, just bad OS updates and ideas for ideas sake. /rant

Peshstheman
Guest
Peshstheman

Great article! Thank you!

Flabba
Guest
Flabba

Awesome! Thank you!

dy
Guest
dy

You can just enable Labs in Nova by holding down Vol – while in the settings main page, then a new option, “Prefer legacy icons” will appear inside the Adaptive icons style settings

It does exactly what you want, unless the app dev puts a pseudo-adaptive icons there

ndb
Guest
ndb

Thank you for the tip on Labs. Fixed almost all my icons except google calendar and settings.

FOLLOW US

Latest articles

Nokia 9 PureView issues: Fingerprint problems, camera crashes, and more

Nokia 9 PureView is, generally speaking, an exceptional phone. Of course, it revolutionizes the camera sensors implementation by using five of them. And that...

Android 9 Pie issues on the Galaxy Note 9: Battery drain, Bluetooth problems, and more

The wait is finally over! Android 9 Pie has started rolling out to users on every major carrier network, as well as to the...

Xiaomi Mi 9 common issues and how to solve them

Xiaomi extends its praised flagship line of smartphones with the new Mi 9. The phone is a beast by all today's performance standards. It...

How to check screen time in Android Pie

Controlling the daily usage of your phone is important. That's what the self-help books and motivational speakers say, at least. And they're right, of...