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Why everyone is talking about Instagram’s new dynamic theming

Why everyone is talking about Instagram’s new dynamic theming
Kerem Gülen

Kerem Gülen

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Around the same period last year, Android 13 garnered attention with its dynamic theming feature, a natural progression in home screen customization after Android 12’s debut of the Material You dynamic theming for major UI components. Now it’s time for Instagram it seems.

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What actually is dynamic theming?

Numerous popular apps, including those from Google, quickly embraced this trend before it plateaued. Yet, several top-tier social media apps, surprisingly, didn’t integrate this icon theming feature. Instagram was one such app, but it’s now rolling out an update for its Android app icon.

Themed icons are crafted following the Material You design ethos. Using Android’s Monet theming mechanism, primary colors from a user’s chosen wallpaper are identified and merged to generate a balanced yet striking color layout. This design is then reflected across various user interface elements, from the notification dropdown to Quick Settings toggles and even within apps.

With Android 13, this color harmony was extended to encompass app icons. Yet, a number of apps hesitated in adopting this new look. To address this, an Android 13 beta version introduced a force theme option, ensuring a consistent aesthetic even if some apps lagged behind. While this addition was generally effective, it came with its own set of minor issues.

While the forced dynamic theming didn’t disrupt the Instagram app icon on Android, Meta hadn’t shown interest in supporting this feature. However, in a recent update shared by Apex Android specialist Mishaal Rahman on Telegram, it was revealed that version v307.0.0.0.30 of the Instagram Android app has now embraced dynamic theming for its icon, as can be seenm below:

Consequently, users who upgrade to this version will notice the Instagram icon on their home screen seamlessly adapting colors from their current wallpaper.

While Instagram has finally caught up, Rahman points out that Meta’s journey with app icon updates isn’t over, especially given the glaring bright blue icon of the main Facebook app. Other platforms like X, Twitch, Reddit, Discord, Mastodon, LinkedIn, and Threads have already transitioned to themed icons.

It’s high time Meta updates the Facebook icon, as a few non-conforming icons amidst a sea of dynamic themed ones can disrupt the aesthetic appeal. Until such updates are rolled out across all apps, users can still opt for forced dynamic theming. This feature can be accessed via the Home Screen section within the Wallpaper & style application.

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The evolution of Android’s dynamic theming underscores the tech world’s commitment to user personalization and aesthetic cohesion. As major apps like Instagram finally embrace this trend, it’s evident that the push for a harmonized user experience is more than just a fleeting fad. However, the onus remains on giants like Meta to ensure their entire app suite aligns with this vision. As the digital world continues to evolve, so too should its visual language.

Kerem Gülen

Kerem Gülen

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