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What SVG Support Means for Your iOS App Graphics

Alexandra Pizzimenti
Product Designer
July 3, 2020

Updates from Apple’s 2020 WWDC Conference revealed that Xcode 12 will now support the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) file format. SVGs are a format of vector graphics known to be smaller files than other vector graphics formats, and as their name implies SVGs scale well. These attributes make SVGs an ideal format for icons and other vector-based elements for websites and digital platforms that support them.

Prior to SVG support, PDFs have been the typical asset format on iOS. While PDFs are also a vector graphic format, when used in iOS apps PDFs can end up converted to PNGs at build time. This means quality is lost when the graphics convert from the vector PDF format to a PNG image.

In Xcode 12, SVGs appear to remain intact allowing for higher-quality assets to be displayed. SVGs will be supported on devices running iOS 13 and up. On devices below iOS 13, it appears SVGs will be converted to PNGs since they’re not a supported format.

SVGs are typically the preferred asset type for Web and Android platforms. With iOS now supporting the SVG format, one asset format can work across typical platforms. This means less work and thought when it comes to handing off assets for development. While SVGs can be animated, at this time Xcode 12 does not currently support animated SVGs.

Nonetheless, static SVGs will be a great improvement which will mean higher quality graphics for iOS apps.

Alexandra Pizzimenti
Product Designer

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