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Preparing Mobile Apps for Distribution
Screen Sizes, Launch Icons, and Splash Screens

Screen Sizes and Resolutions

The Android Universe. Android is an open source operating system that had been adopted by many different device manufacturers. Consequently, there is great variation in screen sizes and resolutions.

Here is just one comparison put together by a developer at jacksonkr.com.

For an even more vivid picture of the diversity of Android devices sizes and resolutions see this post at opensignal.com.

As you can see, developing for Android can be a challenge due to the great variety of screen sizes you have to support. But the sheer number of users make it an attractive market for developers.

The iOS Universe. The range of devices iOS devices is considerably smaller than in the Android universe, so the different screen sizes and resolutions that you might need to develop for is also considerably smaller. Here are the choices:

iPhone/iPod Touch

Model Screen Size (Diagonal) Resolution
Original iPhone – iPhone 3GS
iPod Touch 1st gen – 3rd gen
3.5 in. 320x480
iPhone 4, 4S3.5 in.640x960
"Retina" display
iPhone 5 4 in. 640x1136

iPad

Model Screen Size (Diagonal) Resolution
Original iPad, iPad 2 9.7 in. 768x1024
iPad 3rd – 4th gen9.7 in.1536x2048
"Retina" display
iPad Mini 7.9 in. 768x1024
iPad Mini 2nd gen 7.9 in. 1536x2048
"Retina" display

More information on iOS devices:

Wikipedia's Detailed list of iOS devices.

A handy reference for iPhone screen sizes and resolutions.

A handy iOS device "cheat sheet" by web developer Jonathan Hillebrand.

Application Icons

When you build an app for distribution you should include the icon files that will be used for launching the app. Depending on which devices you are supporting, you may need to supply several different sizes. The specifications for iOS apps are more exacting than for Android apps:

iOS Springboard (Home screen) Icons:

Standard Res iPhone: 57x57
Retina iPhone: 114x114
Standard Res iPad: 72x72
Retina iPad: 144x144

Android Home Screen Icons: According to developer.android.com icon guidelines, "launcher icons should be 32-bit PNGs with an alpha channel for transparency." This citation goes on to list recommended sizes for various display resolutions, but LiveCode only requires a single 72x72 icon for the launcher screen.

Launch Images (Splash screens)

Apple requires launch images for all iOS apps. These are static images that appear briefly while the app is launching. They should be the same size as the screen resolution of the device. In other words:

Standard Res iPhone: 320x480
Retina iPhone: 640x960
iPhone 5: 640x1136
Standard Res iPad portrait: 768x1024
Standard Res iPad landscape: 1024x768
Retina iPad portrait: 1536x2048
Retina iPad landscape: 2048x1536

Here is a detailed explanation of app icons and launch images required for iOS apps.

Launch images or splash screens are not required for Android apps, but LiveCode allows you to include a 600x600 image, which will be displayed at launch. Some Android experts actively discourage developers from using splash screens in Android apps.


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