Home > macOS > Apple’s Mac OS X May Gain Multi-Sized Icon Interface Apple’s Mac OS X May Gain Multi-Sized Icon Interface Eugenia Loli 2007-04-05 macOS 32 Comments Apple Inc. has developed an enhancement to its Mac OS X Finder user interface that will allow for different-sized icons within the same window as a means of representing their importance, a recent patent application has revealed. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 32 Comments 2007-04-05 7:02 pm Kroc Amiga, amiright? Though it wasn’t used for ‘importance’ per se, icons could be of arbitary size in Amiga OS, even non-rectangular. 2007-04-05 7:11 pm thebluesgnr You can also change the size of each icon in Nautilus. 2007-04-05 7:21 pm tyrione The system does it on-the-fly. Having tens of thousands of icons to browse through via icon view with the system re-scaling could be valuable. I use Column View as I prefer the way NeXTSTEP runs. 2007-04-05 7:19 pm binarycrusader Amiga, amiright? Though it wasn’t used for ‘importance’ per se, icons could be of arbitary size in Amiga OS, even non-rectangular. This looks to be more than that though. It looks as if based on the number of files within a folder, the icon is relatively sized, making it obvious what folders are more “important.” I’m sure that’s just one possible application. 2007-04-05 7:59 pm BlackJack75 Maybe it should grow depending on usage. You can have a folder with 10’000 pngs inside with little importance. 2007-04-05 8:20 pm Pseudo Cyborg That’s a great idea. I’d love to see that. 2007-04-06 10:26 am axilmar And the Amiga’s icons could be animated… 2007-04-07 4:57 pm Raffaele @ Kroc Amiga, amiright? Though it wasn’t used for ‘importance’ per se, icons could be of arbitary size in Amiga OS, even non-rectangular. No, Apple patent regards not the dimensions of the icons which could be free into Amiga. It just regards the behaviour of the icons, which change automatically their aspect dimensions… In the same window you will have: [insert] = Icon of lesser importance [insert icon here] Standard icon with its normal size [Insert big icon here] Important icon, or most accessed file, or a directory full of files [insert huuuuuuge icon here] Very important files are here And the icons will change automatically their size according to number of accesses… Or if these are icons of directories they will become bigger according to the number of files present in that directory. It could be an idea, or could be stupid… It could be useful for the user… Or from another point of view it could be just useless and annoying… Why? Because this visual hack generates lines of icons of various sizes, so it will became a problem to keep these all aligned in reasonable ordered queue… To KEEP tHe AligMENT iN Any WiNDow, ThE aspeCT of MACos DIRECTORY ICons (with this visual hack activated) tHeN coUlD bE sIMilAR To ThiS LiNe I am JuSt WRiTING nOw… There will be bigger icons and quite normal icons and little icons, all mixed one closer to another, and I hope Apple will implement the feature option of align all icons depending from their dimensions importance. It is a minor visual hack, nothing more, nothing else… As a PC and Amiga user I have no interest in it, and I want to keep all icons of the same size and aligned, judging their importance by the name I assigned to the files… (which remains the most logical method of judging the importance of any directory or any file) 😉 . If I had had the chance to use MacOS X I hope I could easily activate and DISACTIVATE this hack that modifies icon aspect dimensions, reaching it with just a few clicks on the desktop options. 2007-04-05 7:37 pm TommyD Until my icons are minature representations of full-length moviews, sing arias of “La Boheme” when I click them, and sprinkle golden fairy-dust on my cursor when I do a mouse-over, I will not be happy. 2007-04-05 7:42 pm Xaero_Vincent In Gnome you can make icons appear giagantic. I think you can strech desktop icons as much as 256×256 and other icons upto 128×128! 2007-04-05 8:18 pm Pseudo Cyborg It’s not the ability to resize icons, as you can already do that with Finder. Rather, it’s having icons of varying sizes–even in the same folder or window. 2007-04-06 4:24 am Phase Angle This is actually possible now. I have seen this as a hint somewhere, I think Macosxhints. It just is not easy to do. 2007-04-06 5:58 am siimo Have been doing this since gnome 2.8 maybe even before. Original poster *did* mean the ability to stretch an individual icon and not change the size of all icons afaik i have done this as well. Edited 2007-04-06 05:59 2007-04-09 4:33 pm Pseudo Cyborg Ah, my bad. Thanks for the clarification. 2007-04-05 7:55 pm hobgoblin I kinda recall that apple lisa had a similar system in place… Browser: Opera/8.01 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/3.1.7139/1662; nb; U; ssr) 2007-04-05 8:41 pm bousozoku Looks like it’s been in the works for a while. BBEdit is at version 8.6.1 now. While this is probably more attention-getting than coloured labels, it could be interesting to see what kind of jumbled mess one could make with sizes signifying importance. Hopefully, changing the level would be just a right-click away. It also needs someone who is obsessive about order to make it work doesn’t it? How many people actually rate their songs in iTunes? 2007-04-05 8:55 pm PowerMacX Different sized icons could be enabled using a hidden preference setting back in 10.0 (maybe 10.1 too? I don’t remember), but they took it away. Perhaps they reconsidered? I personally use labels to highlight important files and really miss that when using XP. Different sized icons doesn’t sound all that useful, but I’ll definitely be open to trying them if this is indeed going to be on Leopard. A possible practical use would for applications’ disk images (main app with a large icon, with a small readme file on the side, for instance) edit: for those unfamiliar with OS X, labels are simply highlight colors you can assign to files/folders. It was a feature from OS 9 that got removed and then re-added by popular demand to OS X. Edited 2007-04-05 20:57 2007-04-05 8:55 pm Laurence To be honest I really don’t see the point of multi-sized icon arrangements. However, once this becomes standard across most OSs, like most UI ‘innovations’, I’m sure I’ll look back and wonder how the hell I managed without icons of varying sizes 2007-04-05 10:49 pm Brandybuck Usually I look back on my GUI ‘innovations’, and wonder how the hell they ever took off in the first place… 2007-04-05 9:00 pm StephenBeDoper Wasn’t there a hack to do the same thing a while ago? IIRC, the capability has been there since OS 10.0 (if not earlier) – just no included interfaces to work with that capability. 2007-04-05 9:03 pm helf I *hate* it when all the icons are NOT the same size. Also, all these icons that are HUGE drive me up the wall. Much rather have tiny 32×32 icons Glad we have the option to leave stuff tiny 2007-04-05 9:32 pm roger64 a truly non innovative idea, not worth 20 years of protection. I think this one will never be granted 2007-04-06 7:09 pm de_wizze but think about how much more wonderful it will be if it is … “You’re icons scale automatically, pay us !!!” 2007-04-05 11:25 pm apoclypse Do they really need to patent this crap?! We need patent reform soon. This is getting ridiculous. 2007-04-09 3:37 pm shykid Seriously. I find it appalling that Apple basically copied the GUI from Xerox PARC and now holds an indiscriminately large number of vague and prior-artish patents for GUI elements, a very good deal of them not even being used. Edited 2007-04-09 15:38 2007-04-06 12:04 am mlopes a recent patent application has revealed. This just shows how ridiculous software patents are. The day will come that you’ll simply not be able to sell software on the USA anymore — you won’t afford all the royalties you’ll have to pay to companies for using a GIF image, a radio button, a one click checkout, etc… 2007-04-06 8:49 am Johnnybw2 I agree. It also causes companies to patent the software in protection of another company patenting the software and suing them. 2007-04-06 12:58 am Tuishimi …you can find on MacUpdate that changes the size of file and folder icons (and text) based on files and use. It’s interesting but a little difficult to use (to me). 2007-04-06 3:46 am milatchi Yeah, variable sized icons in the same directory or workspace based on importance or label is a cool feature and all. But is it really something to be patented? Isn’t that like me trying to patent having a shoe store that carries different sizes of shoes under one roof? I’m not really seeing what they’ve invented here that is patent worthy. 2007-04-06 4:14 am bubbayank …but have they patented Finder’s method of randomly moving your mounted volumes around on the Desktop? Or the random placement of new files created on the Desktop. That’s one of my favorite FTFF gripes. 2007-04-06 6:21 pm chaosvoyager …but it probably will be. Of course, now that we know about it, we can be held twice as accountable for infringing it (if it’s granted) than if we didn’t, at least in America. House always wins. 2007-04-07 5:15 pm Alleister Apple has turned into an real patent troll.