Compare iOS 7 Icons to iOS 6 Icons at Neue vs. Old

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There has been much written and even more said about the icons in Apple's new iOS 7. Flat when compared to the icons in iOS 6, the icons dump depth for simplicity, and rather than textured backgrounds, they have either a monochrome or a gradient background. Of course, all that could change by the time Apple releases iOS 7, but someone has launched a site that will let you compare the major Apple icons and vote on which one you like best.  It's cleverly called Neue vs. Old, a play on iOS 7's use of Helvetica Neue as the system font. To start, just click on the icon you like best and you'll be taken to the next set. At the end you can see the results. Pretty cool!


Check It Out: Compare iOS 7 Icons to iOS 6 Icons at Neue vs. Old

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Riding the fence. On one hand, I like the cleaner look, but the details are too fine, e.g., thin font in calendar and clock, fine marks on compass dial, tiny type size on passbook, etc.  Sure, a retina display can render details, but at-a-glance, the human eye needs more mass in graphics.


Some are just cosmetic changes, a little cleaner but no big deal.
Some are a problem because they changed from an icon that has a subliminal meaning to something to an abstract thing that does not. An icon is not just an icon, it has to have meaning. Music=a note, Mail=a schematic envelope. However, some of them such as GameCenter and Photos are just abstract blobs with no connection to what they are for. Those I object to. Change just for the sake of change is as bad as too much skuimorphism.

Boyd Petersen

I honestly think it’s a big step back. I don’t think Jonathan Ive’s did a good job. He lost what Apple was about and that’s simplicity. He actually made it so basic that the overall scheme lost it’s simplicity and ease of use. Now instead of a button for the menu’s to navigate it’s just simply text. Those buttons were very useful. My 2 year old knew what the buttons meant now she looks at the text and doesn’t pick up on it as well. Granted she’s 2 but it still shows how the mind works and many adults are very naive to technology and need all the help they can get.

Also, the 3d icons were beautiful and now replaced with a plain, flat, bright, somewhat ugly icon.

Not a big fan at all and the first time I have doubted what Apple was doing and I think it all falls on Sir Ives.

Boyd Petersen

I think if the new icon was the old and the old was the new we would all be like, that is a great upgrade. The old icon is so much better it’s not even funny.

Tyler Allen

1. The grid idea is a great idea.
2. Having limited colors on the icons for simplicity is also great.
Sadly the set of colors apple chose were horrible. very 13 year old girl!
3. the actual redesigns some were good/ok….others an abomination…like game center!
The colors are just so feminine!
Do a majority of people like them? Yes! A majority of people in the US are female! Then add in gay men and then the younger population. (under 15)
(as apple is heavily marketing the iPad to pre/gradeschools!

To me it seems apple knew the only people who would hate the icons are the masculine male…. that in truth that being a minority of apple buyers = If apple had to choose between dad wanting an iPhone or his son/daughter wanting an iPhone. = they’ll choose the kids!

They are just following the money.
Sadly….that leaves me out in the cold!
Who know i might go see how the new blackberry is!

Paul Goodwin

They are new, clean and flat. Unfortunately, they are also not very interesting. IMO, people will get tired of these much quicker than the old ones. They look to me like something you would download from an art website for free.


Hmm, I prefer the bolder colors of the new icons, but some of the iconography (such as Game Center and Contacts) is basic, at best. In regards to color, there’s a great write up about how UI design reflects the general mood of a nation here:



My problem with the new icons is that they seem reactionary, like Apple is following trends rather than setting them.

Bryan Chaffin

Looking at our comments, and one would see that people hate the new icons. Looking at the scores on the Neue vs. Old site, all but the Safari and Camera icons are willing by factors ranging from 2:1 to 4.x:1.

I found that very surprising.


I didn’t think too highly of the new icons based on what I saw at WWDC, but when put head-to-head, I actually voted more for the “neue” than the old.  While some of the old icons I really like, a lot of them have their own flaws too and it wasn’t until I put them under the same magnifying glass as the new icons did this become apparent.

Bryan Chaffin

Substance, I think you hit on an important point: one has a different perspective viewing the icons all-at-once on an iPhone desktop than one has viewing them side-by-side with a blue background.

I also voted for almost all of the new icons in the side-by-sides, but when I see the gradients when viewing the full grid, my teeth start grating. smile

That said, I think it’s fascinating how well all but a couple of the new icons are doing in the Neue vs. Old survey. It’s not scientific, of course, but it’s a big data set. 24,000 people have finished the survey (28,000 people started, but didn’t finish), and the iOS 7 icons are running away with it.

It’s also worth noting that by its very nature, this kind of survey is self-selecting for plugged in geeks who are interested in iOS 7, rather than iPhone owners who couldn’t care less about these things. That makes the results even more interesting.

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