SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14.2

Introduction

For a detailed list of symbols that were added or renamed in SF Symbols 2, please refer to my earlier article SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14.

On November 21st 2020, Mike Stern (Platform Experience and Design Evangelism Manager at Apple) announced on Twitter that Apple’s SF Symbols Mac app had been updated to version 2.1:

SF Symbols 2.1 is out. Over 40 new symbols, improved symbol localization, design refinements, and various software fixes.

There are now three different sets of symbols to consider:

  • SF Symbols v1.1 available in iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/Mac Catalyst 13.0, watchOS 6.0 and macOS 11.0

An app can only use symbol names that are supported by the OS version it is running on. Symbols that were renamed in SF Symbols v2.0 or v2.1 are still available using their earlier names for backwards compatibility.

What are the Changes in SFSymbols v2.1?

Apple’s SF Symbols app’s What’s New category doesn’t contain the symbols that were added or renamed in v2.1. In fact there are fewer symbols in this category in v2.1 than in v2.0: two symbols that were renamed have been removed without their replacements being added. The app shows OS availability (and other information) for the selected symbol in the side bar. Availability information is missing for the new symbols in v2.1. This makes it difficult to discover what has changed between versions.

My own Adaptivity app is a tool for iOS developers and designers, and one of its many features is a view to browse SF Symbols. As long as your device is running an OS that supports them, you can choose whether to browse the symbols available in iOS 13, 14.0 or 14.2. This can be incredibly useful because it limits the symbols to only those available in that iOS version. It also shows the names that were used in that iOS version (which will continue to work in later versions).

When the iOS 14.2 symbols are selected, Adaptivity shows the changes for iOS 14.0 and iOS 14.2 in its What’s New category. A separate iOS 14.2 collection shows the new and renamed symbols in iOS 14.2:

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System Images iOS 14.2 collection in Adaptivity v7.5 on 12.9" iPad Pro

New Symbols

The 41 symbols in the screenshot above annotated with 14.2+ are completely new in iOS 14.2:

directcurrent
aqi.low
aqi.medium
aqi.high
shuffle.circle
shuffle.circle.fill
repeat.circle
repeat.circle.fill
repeat.1.circle
repeat.1.circle.fill
infinity.circle
infinity.circle.fill
cart.circle
cart.circle.fill
torus
play.tv
play.tv.fill
photo.tv
tv.and.mediabox
iphone.homebutton.landscape
iphone.landscape
iphone.homebutton.badge.play
iphone.badge.play
ipad.homebutton.badge.play
ipad.badge.play
ipad.homebutton.landscape.badge.play
ipad.landscape.badge.play
ipodtouch.landscape
exclamationmark.applewatch
lock.applewatch
rectangle.topthird.inset
rectangle.badge.person.crop
rectangle.fill.badge.person.crop
shield.checkerboard
clock.arrow.2.circlepath
textformat.size.smaller
textformat.size.larger
brazilianrealsign.circle
brazilianrealsign.circle.fill
brazilianrealsign.square
brazilianrealsign.square.fill

Symbols showing a red ⓘ button are restricted and can only be used to refer to their corresponding Apple devices.

Note that rectangle.topthird.inset is missing the .fill suffix that is found on the related existing symbols rectangle.bottomthird.inset.fill, rectangle.leftthird.inset.fill and rectangle.rightthird.inset.fill. This seems to be a naming mistake. It might get renamed in the future (as happened in iOS 14 with some inconsistently-named symbols from iOS 13).

Renamed Symbols

character.book.closed and character.book.closed.fill are new names in iOS 14.2 but the symbols were added in iOS 14 (as indicated by Adaptivity’s 14.2+, 14 annotation) under different names: a.book.closed and a.book.closed.fill.

character is a new name in iOS 14.2 but has been available since iOS 13 (as indicated by Adaptivity’s 14.2+, 13 annotation) under a different name:a.

These symbols were renamed because they now also have localizations in other languages (which Adaptivity does not currently show).

Multicolor Symbols

The following existing symbols gained multicolor support in iOS 14.2:

externaldrive.fill.badge.plus
externaldrive.fill.badge.minus
externaldrive.fill.badge.checkmark
externaldrive.fill.badge.xmark
paperclip
video.fill.badge.plus
wifi

In my testing, multicolor symbols don’t display correctly at most scales or weights. See SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14 for examples.

Right-to-Left Localizations

The following existing symbols gained right-to-left localizations in iOS 14.2:

doc.text.below.ecg
doc.text.below.ecg.fill
text.below.photo
text.below.photo.fill

Two of the new symbols in iOS 14.2 have right-to-left localizations:

cart.circle
cart.circle.fill

Category Changes

Most of the separate categories have grown to include more existing symbols. For example, the Health category now includes heart.text.square and heart.text.square.fill. It doesn’t seem very useful to document all the category changes.

Some new iOS 14.2 symbols have been added to appropriate categories but there are some omissions. For example, textformat.size.smaller and textformat.size.larger have not been added to the Text Formatting category.

The order of some images in the Arrow category has changed to better group together symbols with similar arrow directions.

Resources

Apple

WWDC 2019: 206, Introducing SF Symbols

WWDC 2020: 10207, SF Symbols 2

iOS Human Interface Guidelines

SF Symbols Mac app

SF Symbols Release Notes

Other Articles

SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14.

SF Symbols in iOS 13 and SF Symbols: The benefits and how to use them guide by Antoine van der Lee.

What’s New in SF Symbols 2 by Zgeng.

Adaptivity

The screenshots in this article were taken from Adaptivity v7.5. The app has some features which can make it more useful than SF Symbols for browsing the symbols:

  • runs on your phone, iPad and Mac
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System Images view in Adaptivity v7.5 on 12.9" iPad Pro
  • custom collections to highlight symbols that have been renamed, are restricted, or have right-to-left localizations
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Comparing symbols that were renamed in iOS 14 and 14.2 in Adaptivity v7.5 on 12.9" iPad Pro

Adaptivity has many other features. It is primarily a tool to visualize the different screen 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. The app is a universal purchase and includes the Mac Catalyst version. On macOS 11 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 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.

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.

Independent and freelance software developer for iPhone, iPad and Mac

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