Max DockTile size ?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by zeppenwolf, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. zeppenwolf macrumors regular


    Nov 17, 2009
    On the most Godzilla system, with the most Godzilla monitor, with Dock Prefs size=max and Dock Prefs magnification=true and the mouse directly over some dock icon, thus magnifying it to the maximum maxitude...

    What is the size of that icon ?

    If any of you have a real Godzilla system and you're williing to spend a minute to help me, can you compare the size of some app's dock icon in the circumstances described above to an icon family displayed in IconComposer, and maybe give me an eyeball estimate... Thx.
  2. zeppenwolf thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 17, 2009
    The assignment was not difficult, so it can't be that. It was about like asking Einstein forums dot com to help with the algebra homework.

    So do I need to lower the standard, or make it more explicit, or both ? I'll try this:

    Suppose you bought your Mac within... the past three years, and the screen you got was the largest *or* the second-largest offered to the general public...

    Can you perform the experiment described earlier and report ? Thx.
  3. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    What do you want to know? Are you simply curious? In that case, it's not a programming question and you should take it elsewhere. If you want to know which sizes of icons your app bundle should include, Apple lists them in the OS X HIG somewhere. The maximum dock size obviously won't have the biggest instance of an icon though - that'll occur in the Finder somewhere, possibly when quick looking the .app or when viewing Cover Flow (I don't think the grid view will show the icons very large, although I'm not sure). And of course there are other file browsers that users could use, which may display icons at an even larger size (I'm writing a file browser, but the largest icons it ever shows are 16x16... Although I'm writing it with plugins in mind, so maybe someone will add a plugin to change that).

    Also, your post was rude and you double posted, even if you weren't posting in the wrong section.
  4. zeppenwolf thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 17, 2009
    > What do you want to know?

    I want to know the real-time screen dimensions of the largest docktile a user or at least some users are ever likely to see. I think I made that part pretty clear.

    I want to know what that maximum is, because I want to provide an image file from my app with the *minimum* stored dimensions necessary to display at the maximum rendered size discovered in paragraph one.

    I want to know that I can strip down my image file to just having the sizes which are utilitarian, because unlike the usual situation in an app, my app will be hosting large number of these image files.

    And I suppose I want to know if there is any other way of getting the max-rendered-size in paragraph one without having to ask for a volunteer here like I did. I think you can see that talking about the HIG docs is barking up the wrong tree-- the image files my app hosts are for use in the dock, NOT in the finder to represent my app.

    It's an unusual situation, which is why I asked for unusual help. But if you can think of another way to get the answer, please do tell.
  5. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    I think the following has the answer to your question regarding what image resolutions to provide:
    Create a Set of Icons That Includes High-Resolution Versions
    You should create a set of icons that consist of pairs of icons (standard and high resolution) for each icon size—16x16, 32x32, 128x128, 256x256, 512x512. The naming convention is:


    where <sizeinpoints> is the size of the icon in points, and <scale> is @2x for the high-resolution version. (Don’t add a scale for standard resolution.) Additionally, the filename must use the icon_ prefix.

    The images must be square and have the dimensions that match the name of the file.
    Ideally, you would supply a complete set of icons. However, it is not a requirement to have a complete set; the system will choose the best representation for sizes and resolutions that you don’t supply. Each icon in the set is a hint to the system as to the best representation to use. A complete set consists of the following:


    Note: There is no longer a 1024x1024 size. That’s replaced by 512x512@2x.
    AFAIK, these icon files will be used in Dock tiles.

    The max actual size is 1024x1024. This is the maximum, in the sense that no higher resolution has any practical purpose or effect.

    Found using google search terms:
    os x icns file
  6. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    What makes you think the HIG doesn't cover icons in the dock? It covers everything having to do with the standard UX in OS X. The dock and Finder are both preinstalled on every Mac, and it's all but certain that every users will interact with both of them, so obviously they're covered in the HIG.

    And just for the record, the dock is a part of Finder.
  7. zeppenwolf thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 17, 2009
    After a million years of computing, I have an answer. And the answer is...


    Ok, ok, I'm kidding. The answer is...



    But if you're familiar with Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, you might well be reminded of the "answer" of 42 being announced, at which point it became clear that nobody really understood what the question was...

    But I won't make you wait another million years for "the question"; I'll ask it again here, this time from the inside-out, sorta:

    Q: Given an app, which has an "Icon File" in its bundle, an icns file with the full array of icns sizes in it, what is the largest icn the Dock will ever choose to display the app?

    There. That's just gotta be clear now. And it should be clear that this is a detail of implementation, an obscure and arbitrary detail, a most unlikely factoid to ever appear in the Apple documentation, and a detail which can only be found by testing, moreover.

    So test I did. Without volunteers, it was clearly up to Zeppenwolf The Bold to go snooping around in retail stores with a little spyware app on a thumb drive... So my answer is based on statistics and intuition, but based on what I found I am confident. And I'm posting not just because I have the answer some future googler might appreciate, but also because I came across a couple surprises.

    The first surprise is a false assumption in my original post, that the maximum displayed size of the app would be different for different screens or systems. I am confident now that it is not.

    In other words, the maximum displayed size of an icon in the Dock is ALWAYS 128, regardless of screen size or system.

    It is very easy to test this on any particular system, of course. To test my own system, I put together a tiny ShowIconSize application. It's a Hello, World application which doesn't even say Hello, it just opens and quits. BUT it does have a very special Icon File. Instead of the same image at different resolutions, each size of icon in the icns file displays the text of what size it is. So the 512 icon has an image of the text "512", the 256 icon says "256", etc. Which of course means that you can see which size of icon the system uses in any particular place... For example, here in the Info window we see three separate sizes all used at one time:


    I'm making this app available, because it's kind of a gas to take this thing for a walk around your system. Well, if you're a nerd like me it is.


    I'm getting to the second surprise, really. First, I want to point out how the ShowIconSize app appears when it's in a folder you are viewing by the finder's "View by Icon" choice. With the magnification control in the bottom of the window, you can observe the finder doing exactly what you might expect: when the icons are all really small, the finder uses the 16 size to display the app, proven by the fact that it says "16". Then as you increase magnification, it switches to the 32 size, which scales up until it gets to 64... until you finally come to rest at the 512 image.

    The second surprise is that the Dock DOES NOT do this dynamic switching between icon sizes. No matter how you squish the size of the Dock through the Dock preferences, the Dock never switches down to the 64 or smaller icon sizes, it continues using the 128 size.

    So, ultimately, we have the following: The Dock uses the 128 icon size and only the 128 icon size, at all times, on all systems, in all cases... (assuming a 128 is available).

    And again, because I've reached this conclusion partly by examining a tiny fraction of the world's Macs... I can't logically be absolutely positive, but I'm pretty sure. But by all means, if you're interested in disproving the hypothesis, please do extend the knowledge base-- download my little app, take a screenshot... I might be a bit disappointed to see my theory go down in flames, but hey-- I'd rather have the truth.

  8. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Nice solution for finding the answer.

    Two additional things:
    Can you post the OS versions you tried it on?
    Can you post whether the models were Retina or not?

    Since you mentioned Stardate, I have some additional thoughts on "strange new worlds" to seek out...

    Is it the same regardless of screen-zoom magnification (System Preferences > Accessibility)?

    Is it the same for folders on the Dock as it is for apps?
    That is, if you give a folder a custom icon, is 128x128 still the max resolution that's actually used?

    The Trash icon appears on the Dock. Is its max resolution 128x128?
    I don't know where this icon is stored without looking it up, but it shouldn't be hard to find.

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