How much work does Icon Builder save you?


Icon Builder is a Mac app that takes a single image file and creates all the different image sizes that you need to make a set of icons for your app: Mac, iPhone, iPad, iOS Universal or Apple Watch.

Version 4, released 16 September 2016 is available through the Mac App Store.

What’s New in Version 4:

  • Added support for iMessage apps and Sticker Pack apps.
  • Added support for creating Mac .icns files.
  • Better removal of alpha channel for Apple Watch icons.
  • Clearer usage instructions in ReadMe files.
  • iTunes Artwork folders will no longer be over-written with the latest image files.
  • Supports macOS Sierra and Xcode 8

Icon Builder

While working on version 4 and accommodating all these new icon sets (and wishing I had the time to re-write the app in Swift…), I counted up all the icon files that Icon Builder makes for each app type:

App Type Number of Icons
Mac 10
iPhone 8
iPhone supporting pre iOS 7 11
iPad 9
iPad supporting pre iOS 7 13
iOS Universal 14
iOS Universal supporting pre iOS 7 20
Apple Watch (also requires iOS app icons) 8
Sticker Pack app 11
iMessages app 14
iMessages app Messages extension 9

So as you can see, Icon Builder is doing a lot of work for you. It also names all the icon files using the expected format, stores them in an concept folder, creates the JSON file that identifies them all to Xcode and optionally installs them in your Xcode project automatically. That’s a lot of value for dragging in an icon and clicking a button!

So next time your designer sends you the twentieth tweaked icon for the day, don’t get mad. Just drop it into Icon Builder and sit back while it does all the work. (No need to tell the designer that…)


Tags: icons   mac