Launch Images and Splash Screens

29 Nov 2013

An app’s launch image (aka Default.png) is displayed when an app loads from a terminated state. The original idea of the launch image was to quickly throw a bitmap of the interface on the screen - minus any interactive elements - in order to give the user the impression that that the app was loading faster than it really was. Here are a few examples of apps the follow Apple’s advice: What’s App, Dropbox, Vine, Sunrise, and Things.

image of bleak ui

But many apps aren’t bothering with the bare UI launch image anymore. I can think of a few reasons:

Here’s the current trend – the splash screen:

splash screens

The design bar seems to be quite low - you can probably just slap your logo up there and call it a day. I’m actually a big fan of going even simpler as in Skype’s minimalistic screen - it’s just solid blue. (No retina version required!)

Longer term, launch time will decrease further and combined with automatic snapshots by the OS (e.g. as seen in the app switcher), we’ll be able to remove the various versions of Default.png from our app bundles.

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