Splash screen vs Launch screen in iOS

⋅ 1 min read ⋅ Development

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What is a Splash screen

Splash screen usually refers to a screen that appears briefly before entering an app on the first launch.

A splash screen can contain an image, a logo, and sometimes a subtle animation.

Here is an example of a splash screen in Android.

Gmail splash screen in Android
Gmail splash screen in Android

This is a place where most people want to put their branding in and be as creative as possible.

But this is not what iOS expects you to do.

In iOS, a splash screen is called a Launch screen, and Apple has set up some guidelines about it.

What is a Launch screen

Launch screen is a screen that displays while your app launches. You can think of it as a term that iOS use to refer to a splash screen.

Even though it sounds the same, it isn't. Apple expected different things from the launch screen.

Apple don't expect you to put a logo or a fancy animation here.

What is the purpose of a launch screen

A launch screen's only function is to reduce the launch time.

It does that by mimicking the first screen that will appear in an app.

Here is an example of a launch screen of Safari. As you can see, the launch screen contains the toolbar and navigation bar of the first screen.

This gives a perception that the app is launched immediately.

Safari launch screen in iOS
Safari launch screen in iOS

What are the characteristics of a Launch screen

Here are a few guidelines on how to craft your launch screen.

  1. Design a launch screen that’s nearly identical to the first screen of your app.
  2. Make sure you correctly handle dark mode.
  3. Avoid including text on your launch screen since you can't localized a launch screen.
  4. Avoid a launch screen that delays people.
  5. Don't advertise. The launch screen isn't meant to include logos or other branding elements. It is meant to enhance user experience.

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