SF Symbol Changes in iOS 15.4
When examining the iOS 15.4 simulator in the Xcode 13.3 betas, I noticed that there had been a few changes to SF Symbols. Firstly, seven new symbols have been added (unfortunately, the Face ID logo with a mask is not one of them). More interestingly, Apple have retroactively changed the availability of eighteen symbols from iOS 13.0/watchOS 6.0 to iOS 13.1/watchOS 6.1.
There are now nine different sets of symbols to consider:
- SF Symbols v1.0 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/Mac Catalyst 13.0, watchOS 6.0 and macOS 11.0
- SF Symbols v1.1 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/Mac Catalyst 13.1, watchOS 6.1 and macOS 11.0
- SF Symbols v2.0 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/Mac Catalyst 14.0, watchOS 7.0 and macOS 11.0
- SF Symbols v2.1 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/Mac Catalyst 14.2, watchOS 7.1 and macOS 11.0
- SF Symbols v2.2 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/Mac Catalyst 14.5, watchOS 7.4 and macOS 11.3
- SF Symbols v3.0 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/Mac Catalyst 15.0, watchOS 8.0 and macOS 12.0
- SF Symbols v3.1 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS 15.1, Mac Catalyst 15.1, watchOS 8.1 and macOS 12.0
- SF Symbols v3.2 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS 15.2, Mac Catalyst 15.2, watchOS 8.3 and macOS 12.1
- SF Symbols v3.3 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS 15.4, Mac Catalyst 15.4, watchOS 8.5 and macOS 12.3
My own Adaptivity app is a tool for iOS developers and designers, and one of its many features is a very comprehensive view to browse SF Symbols. It can view any of the SF Symbol data sets that your device supports. The screenshots in this article were taken from version 8.7. They demonstrate the new symbols in iOS 15.4 and the moving of eighteen symbols from the iOS 13.0 data set to a new iOS 13.1 data set.
For a detailed list of symbols that were added or renamed in earlier iOS versions, see my previous articles:
- SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14.0 (SF Symbols 2.0)
- SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14.2 (SF Symbols 2.1)
- SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14.5 (SF Symbols 2.2)
- SF Symbols Changes in iOS 15.0 (SF Symbols 3.0)
- SF Symbols Changes in iOS 15.1 (SF Symbols 3.1)
- SF Symbols Changes in iOS 15.2 (SF Symbols 3.2)
Changes in SF Symbols 3.4
There are very few changes this time:
- New symbols there are 7 new symbols
- Hierarchical / Palette rendering 6 of the new symbols support the hierarchical and palette render modes
There are no renames or changes to multicolor symbols.
The following 4 new symbols were added in iOS 15.4 beta 1:
The following 3 new symbols were added in Xcode 13.3 beta 3, which means they appeared in either iOS 15.4 beta 3 or 4. (I cannot be sure which because iOS 15.4 beta 3 did not have a separate Xcode 13.3 beta release.):
Adaptivity’s ‘Availability’ annotation (selected from the Info icon in the bottom right) adds a small
15.4+ annotation to symbols which are new in iOS 15.4. To make it easier to see which symbols are not supported in iOS 13.0, there is no annotation shown for symbols that were available in iOS 13.0 (unless they have been renamed since).
Adaptivity also has a custom ‘Added’ collection which shows all the symbols that have been added in the data set you are viewing:
Hierarchical and Palette Symbols
The screenshots above show 6 of new symbols support hierarchical and palette render modes. Here’s a closer look at them:
The data files in Xcode 13.3.1 do not list any new restricted symbols. Apple finally updated their SF Symbols Mac app at the end of April 2022 to include the symbols added in iOS 15.4 (after I prompted them!). In that app, two of the new symbols as marked as restricted and may only be used to refer to “creating or signing in with a passkey”:
Changes in SF Symbols 1.0 and 1.1
In addition to the seven new symbols for iOS 15.4, the simulator data files in Xcode 13.3 beta 1 have changed the availability of eighteen of the original symbols from iOS 13.0/watchOS 6.0 to iOS 13.1/watchOS 6.1:
Note that two of these symbols were renamed in iOS 14.0 (SF Symbols v2.0):
flip.horizontal → arrow.left.and.right.righttriangle.left.righttriangle.rightflip.horizontal.fill → arrow.left.and.right.righttriangle.left.righttriangle.right.fill
At the time of writing, the latest version of Apple’s own SF Symbols Mac app is v3.2 (build 67) and it claims these symbols have been available since SF Symbols v1.0 and iOS 13.0. By running an older version of Adaptivity on an iOS 13.0 simulator, I was able to confirm that these symbols really were not available in iOS 13.0:
There seems to have been some confusion over the version of SF Symbols that was included in iOS 13.0. This is perhaps down to the fact that iOS 13.1 was released just five days after iOS 13.0 and 13.1 was effectively considered the “first” version.
I expect a future version of Apple’s SF Symbols Mac app will correct this historical accident and mark these symbols as being available in SF Symbols v1.1 and iOS 13.1. Adaptivity v8.6 removed these eighteen symbols from its iOS 13.0 (SF Symbols v1.0) data set:
It also added a new iOS 13.1 (SF Symbols v1.1) data set to add the eighteen symbols. These symbols now show an availability annotation of
13.1+ (except when viewing an iOS 14.0 or later data set, where the two renamed symbols are annotated
14.0+,13.1 to indicate that they were renamed):
Adaptivity has many other features in addition to browsing SF Symbols. It is primarily a tool to visualize the different window sizes, layout margins, readable content guides, bar heights and Dynamic Type sizes that a modern, adaptive, iOS app uses when running on different devices and iPad multitasking sizes. There are also views for browsing System Colors, System Fonts and System Materials, and a view for exploring iPadOS Pointer Interactions. In iOS/iPadOS 15 you can also configure
UISheetPresentationController options for modally-presented view controllers.
The app is a universal purchase and includes the Mac Catalyst version. On macOS 11 and later, this is “optimised for Mac” with native controls and does not scale content. If you are an iOS developer or designer, I’m sure you will find Adaptivity very useful. Testimonials, more screenshots and information on all the features is available on my web site.
Other Articles That You Might Like
I have written articles on Xcode Build Times with Custom SF Symbols, How iPad Apps Adapt to the New 8.3" iPad Mini, How iOS Apps Adapt to the various iPhone 12 Screen Sizes, Bringing Adaptivity to Mac Catalyst, How to Switch Your iOS App and Scene Delegates for Improved Testing and the View Controller Presentation Changes in iOS 13.
The search algorithm used in Adaptivity’s System Colors and System Images views is described in A Simple, Smart Search Algorithm for iOS in Swift. I have also written about Working with Multiple Versions of Xcode and how to Hide Sensitive Information in the iOS App Switcher Snapshot Image.
If you found any of these articles helpful then please take a look at my apps in the iOS App Store to see if there’s anything that you’d like to download (especially the paid ones 😀).
If you work with a lot of Xcode projects you might like my Mac Menu Bar utility XcLauncher. It’s like having browser bookmarks for your favorite Xcode projects, workspaces, playgrounds, and Swift packages. There is more information on my website about XcLauncher’s features.