Sep 15, 2014

Will older apps look bad on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus because of the larger screen?

Something that I was recently exposed to when I upgraded my home TV from a 32” to a 60” screen is that some things that used to look pretty good on the smaller screen don’t look great on the larger one. The best example of this is our old Wii (the original one) that we still play Mario Kart and SSBB. On the larger screen, you really see the relatively low res textures and jaggies much more than you did on the small screen. Will this be the same for the iPhone 6, since the older apps were designed with a smaller screen size in mind?

iphone 6 and plus allows you to change the size of icons on the screen, no worry.

You might find this website interesting - it talks about the iPhone 6's screen resolution in a straightforward manner with lots of illustrations. 


Here's John Gruber's take on it:


"When you run existing apps that have not yet been updated for iOS 8 and adaptive display layout, you simply get a scaled up version of the 1136 × 640 version of the app. It actually doesn’t look too bad, even on the 5.5-inch 6 Plus, where they’re really getting scaled quite a bit, and at @2x instead of @3x. But it doesn’t look good either, and scrolling is a bit weird, and the keyboard is too tall, which makes typing feel wrong. With apps that are updated to support these larger displays, typing is better on both new phones than it was on the 5S, simply as a function of the keys being larger targets, but not so large that you have to move your thumbs too far to get to them. With scaled apps, the keyboard is too tall, and it does feel like you have to move your thumbs too far to reach the top row.

Visually, these scaled apps are far better than @1x apps running on the first retina iPhone (the 4) back in 2010. And they’re less annoying spatially than the letterboxed apps running on the first 16:9 iPhone (the 5) back in 2012. But simple scaling does not magically make them look sharp or feel properly sized. Developers should update their apps to support these new displays as soon as they can.

(Games shouldn’t matter as much. No rush there, I think.)"

You probably will not notice anything different other than the larger size. It’s the same 16:9 ratio as older iPhones except for the oddball 4S with its 4:3 ratio display. This makes it easy to scale up. Also, there is auto-scaling built into iOS 8, so it should be a non-issue for the most part, unless perhaps you are using an iOS 6 app. If the new devices had markedly lower pixel density that the older ones, it might be an issue. However, the iPhone 6 Plus has a 401 ppi display, so it won’t be. 


Keep in mind that Android devs deal with many, many variations of screen size and resolution, and it is almost always something that is dealt with well enough that it is a non-issue for Android users. Apple just added two variations - I think iOS devs should be able to handle that easily. 

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