SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14.2
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 14.0.
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
- 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
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. EDIT: since this article was written, Apple have published release notes for SF Symbols.
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:
The 41 symbols in the screenshot above annotated with
14.2+ are completely new in iOS 14.2:
Symbols showing a red ⓘ button are restricted and can only be used to refer to their corresponding Apple devices.
rectangle.topthird.inset is missing the
.fill suffix that is found on the related existing symbols
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).
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:
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:
These symbols were renamed because they now also have localizations in other languages (which Adaptivity does not currently show).
The following existing symbols gained multicolor support in iOS 14.2:
In my testing, multicolor symbols don’t display correctly at most scales or weights. See SF Symbols Changes in iOS 14 for examples.
The following existing symbols gained right-to-left localizations in iOS 14.2:
Two of the new symbols in iOS 14.2 have right-to-left localizations:
Most of the separate categories have grown to include more existing symbols. For example, the Health category now includes
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.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.
WWDC 2019: 206, Introducing SF Symbols
WWDC 2020: 10207, SF Symbols 2
iOS Human Interface Guidelines
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.
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
- limit the view to only include symbols that are available in a specific iOS version (13, 14.0 or 14.2), displaying names that are appropriate for that version (which also work on later versions)
- optionally show a small annotation alongside each symbol to indicate if a symbol was added after iOS 13 or if it has been renamed (or both)
- optionally show image alignment and baseline information
- view a symbol at different scales and weights for a range of dynamic type sizes
- long pressing an image shows a larger version and information on right-to-left localisation, multicolor support, iOS version availability and older names (if applicable)
- custom collections to highlight symbols that have been renamed, are restricted, or have right-to-left localizations
- supports multiple windows on iPad and Mac so that, for example, you can browse two different symbol versions at the same time and compare between them
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.