- In one of the more marketer-friendly changes to come out of Apple’s recent iOS 10.3 software update, developers can now enable users of their apps to personalize the icon that appears on the home screen, according to reporting by 9to5mac.com.
- Apps for Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have been updated to reflect the new capability, with users able to customize the apps based on their favorite teams.
Developers need to file in advance to offer personalized icons, and the feature will only be available in apps that have theme customization as a main feature, according to International Business Times.
Personalized icons are not a major development, but do underscore the trend toward more personalization on mobile. The feature is particularly well-suited for sports leagues, as fans are often passionate about one team and are regular users of related apps, especially as MLB, NHL and others have built out a well-rounded set of features, including streaming video for subscribers. The NFL and other sports leagues will be likely to jump on board in the near future.
While marketers are not as quick to jump into mobile app development these days, and for good reason — research shows consumers increasingly spend time with just a few favorite apps and forget about the rest — for those already in the space or considering it, personalized icons offer another way to make an emotional connection with potential users and drive downloads as well as repeat use.
For now, the icons can only be changed at the user’s request or by a developer as part of a major software update. However, it is easy to see how more dynamic app icons could be a welcome addition for users and developers, such as weather app icons changing based on current weather conditions.
The pairing of mobile personalization and sports fans has been a powerful one in the past. Nissan had a surprise hit with its Die Hard Fans app that enables users to virtually paint their face in the colors of their favorite team and then share the images on social media. As of last summer, the app had been download approximately 466,000 times and made more than 40 million masks.