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Chrome OS 86 will make all app icons circular

Last year, we saw that Google had ambitions to make all app icons in Chrome OS use a circular design. Now, with Chrome OS 86, they seem to be following through on that goal.

Ahead of the launch of the Pixelbook Go — in fact, before we had even heard the “Pixelbook Go” name — we came across screenshots of an internal Google Doc showing that Chrome OS would get a handful of new apps in its shelf by default. Alongside that, we saw a mention that Chrome OS app icons would soon all become circular, instead of the wild mixture of icon shapes available today.

That proposed redesign wasn’t completed in time for the Pixelbook Go’s release, but now, over a year since we first spotted it, Google has gone through with changing all of Chrome OS’s app icons. On recent builds of Chrome OS Canary, apps like Stadia and Gmail that previously simply used their raw icon now appear with a white circle behind them. Other web apps like Photopea adapt to the circular design by using a different icon.

All in all, making app icons circular is a very subtle change, but it’s one that speaks to the consistency in design between Android and Chrome OS. App icons now look nearly identical between Chrome OS and the default theme of Google’s own Pixel phones. With time, perhaps Chrome OS could introduce some of the other icon shapes offered on Pixel phones, but for now, the circles are well suited to Chrome OS’s overall design.

Chrome OS Canary is currently on version 86, which suggests we could see the newly circular icons arrive for all web, Android, and Linux apps starting with Chrome OS 86.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw 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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