Google has shared info on how, starting with Android 13, any app can offer their own Themed Icon to appear in the Pixel Launcher and more.

With Android 12, Google launched a “beta” feature for the Pixel Launcher called Themed Icons which gives many of Google’s apps a new monochrome icon suited to your Material You theme. To do this, the Pixel Launcher had a built-in catalog of icons to replace the default look of each app, but this of course limited it to only working with Google’s own apps.

For Android 13, Themed Icons are moving out of beta phase and coming into their own as a formal feature of Android. Now any app that wants to offer a themed icon can do so without Pixel Launcher — or any other launcher for that matter — being involved. Developers will simply need to include a new monochrome icon and reference it in their app’s icon information, a process which Google has outlined in full.

Themed Icons in Android 13

At the start, Android 13’s Themed Icons will only be available for Pixel phones, but Google says they’re “working with […] device manufacturer partners to bring them to more devices.” As OEMs unveil their takes on Android 13 later this year, by which point they reportedly will have been required to offer some form of Material You’s color theming, we should see at least some offering Themed Icons out of the box.

Of course, Themed Icons will remain an optional feature of Android 13. For those who don’t want to use the monochrome look, you can still use the same full-color app icons you had used before.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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