iOS 7 Leverages Retina iPhone App Assets to Improve '2x' Mode on Non-Retina iPads

One of the more subtle changes surfacing in Apple's iOS 7 beta 3 released to developers yesterday is a move to leverage the Retina assets included in iPhone-only apps to improve the viewing experience in "2x" mode on non-Retina iPads such as the iPad mini and the iPad 2.

Since the launch of the iPad, Apple has supported the use of iPhone-only apps on its tablet platform, allowing users to toggle between a "1x" mode where the app appears in an iPhone-sized window in the center of the iPad screen and a "2x" mode where pixels are doubled to allow the app to fill more of the iPad's screen. But up until iOS 6, this 2x pixel doubling has been performed on the non-Retina iPhone versions of the apps for non-Retina iPads, expanding a 480x320 app to fill a 960x640 space on the iPad display and resulting in jagged text and blurry images.

But with the advent of Retina displays on the iPhone supporting apps at 960x640, Apple moved to take advantage of those higher-quality assets to provide a better viewing experience on the iPad for those apps that do not have native iPad interfaces. Since the introduction of the third-generation iPad last year, Apple's Retina iPads have been able to tap into the Retina assets in iPhone apps to display higher-quality 2x apps, and with iOS 7 beta 3 Apple has now brought that capability to its non-Retina tablets.

ios_6_7_2x_ipad_mini

Apple Store app on an iPad mini in 2x mode on iOS 6 (left) and default 2x on iOS 7 (right)
(Click for larger)

Interestingly, on the latest iOS 7 beta users are no longer even presented with a 1x/2x toggle on non-Retina devices such as the iPad mini, and iPhone apps are instead presented simply as 2x apps taking advantage of Retina assets included in the app package. The result is a much better looking 960x640 app on the iPad's 1024x768 screen. Retina iPads have not, however, seen any changes to their handling of iPhone apps and continue to offer the 1x/2x toggle.

Apple's move to leverage the Retina assets in iPhone apps by default is essentially identical to the strategy used by RetinaPad, a jailbreak tweak that provided owners of non-Retina iPads with the higher-quality 2x scaling. That tweak had gained new popularity with the release of the non-Retina iPad mini late last year, but with Apple now building that support directly into iOS 7, all users will be able to take advantage of the higher-quality experience.

Apple announced back in March that as of May 1 it was requiring all app submissions and updates to support both Retina displays and the iPhone 5's taller display, pushing developers to support Apple's latest devices. The Retina support requirement also allows more apps to take advantage of the new 2x improvements for non-Retina iPads in iOS 7.

Top Rated Comments

Quercus Alba Avatar
102 months ago
I could never work out why they didn't do this years ago.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AlexHunter Avatar
102 months ago
This is probably a good sign that the new minis will not be retina.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FirstNTenderbit Avatar
102 months ago
I have neither jailbroken my iDevice nor rooted my Android, but both those dev communities deserve a hat tip for pushing the envelope on both OSes(sp?). Some very good things have come to the forefront due to their efforts.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WilliamG Avatar
102 months ago
I could never work out why they didn't do this years ago.

I know... Seems like such a simple thing to implement.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Some guy Avatar
102 months ago
Finally.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jabingla2810 Avatar
102 months ago
Very good decision.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
Ports 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1 copy

Stolen MacBook Pro Schematics Confirm Apple's Plans to Add More Ports and Remove Touch Bar

Wednesday April 21, 2021 10:31 am PDT by
Schematics stolen from Apple supplier Quanta Computer outline Apple's plans for the next-generation MacBook Pro models that are expected in 2021, and clearly confirm plans for additional ports and a return to MagSafe. MacRumors saw the schematics after they were leaked online, and some of them feature the logic board of the next-generation MacBook Pro. On the right side of the machine,...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
13 inch macbook pro m1

14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro Models With XDR Displays Expected to Launch Later This Year

Wednesday April 21, 2021 7:08 am PDT by
Apple yesterday unveiled a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a Liquid Retina XDR display that uses mini-LED backlighting to achieve up to 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness and up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness. With over 10,000 mini‑LEDs grouped into more than 2,500 local dimming zones, the display also has an impressive 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Apple has so far branded its mini-LED...
14

Apple Says iOS 14.5 Will Be Released 'Next Week'

Tuesday April 20, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Apple today in a press release about its new AirTag item tracker announced that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will be available starting "next week." iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are packed with new features, including the ability for iPhone users who are wearing an Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will also be the minimum software versions...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
airtag engraving 69

Apple Tries to Limit Offensive AirTag Engravings... With Mixed Results

Wednesday April 21, 2021 3:16 am PDT by
Apple's AirTag item trackers can be custom-engraved using text, numbers, and even emoji, but users looking to express some college humor will likely need to look elsewhere, because Apple's online AirTag personalization tool is easily offended. An AirTag is just big enough to fit up to four characters or up to three emoji. That might seem just enough to get dubiously creative with your...
maxresdefault

Apple Event 2021: Everything Apple Announced at Its 'Spring Loaded' Event in Just 6 Minutes

Tuesday April 20, 2021 4:23 pm PDT by
Apple today held its first event of 2021, and it was one of the most exciting events that we've seen in some time. Apple announced a whole slew of new products, including an M1 iMac, an M1 iPad Pro, a refreshed 4K Apple TV, and the long-awaited AirTags. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce all of the new devices during its virtual...