Ultimate Guide: Cross Icons for Android Apps

Hello there, fellow app developers and design enthusiasts! Ever wondered why a tiny symbol like a cross icon holds so much importance in an Android app? Well, it’s more than just a decorative element; it serves multiple functionalities. In this comprehensive guide, we will dive deep into the world of cross icons in Android apps.

Basic Cross Icon

The most straightforward form of a cross icon is essentially two lines crossing each other at a 90-degree angle. These are often placed in the corners of dialog boxes, pop-up messages, or modal windows. The key advantage of using a basic cross icon is its universal recognition—users instantly know that tapping on it will close the current window or cancel the ongoing operation.

Key Features:

  • Universally understood symbol
  • Easily customizable in terms of color and size

Rounded Corners

If the sharp edges of a basic cross icon feel too harsh or don’t align with your app’s overall aesthetic, rounded corners are a good alternative. The corners of the intersecting lines are slightly rounded, providing a softer, more organic appearance. This style often complements applications with a more casual, friendly user interface.

Key Features:

  • Adds a touch of elegance and softness
  • Often used in apps with a more relaxed, casual vibe

Text-Based Cross Icons

Sometimes, a cross icon doesn’t have to be a symbol; it can be text-based. Words like “Close,” “Exit,” or even just “X” serve the same purpose as symbol-based cross icons. These are especially useful when your user base may not immediately recognize symbol-based icons or when you want to make the action exceedingly clear.

Key Features:

  • Removes ambiguity, making the action crystal clear
  • Can be localized easily for different languages

Animated Cross Icons

The creme de la creme of cross icons are the animated ones. These icons aren’t static; they transform or move when interacted with. For instance, tapping the icon might trigger a rotation or morph it into a checkmark to indicate a successful action. Animated cross icons are a fantastic way to keep the user engaged and provide feedback on their actions.

Key Features:

  • Increases user engagement and enjoyment
  • Provides visual feedback for user actions

Interactive Cross Icons

These cross icons are a subset of animated icons but are driven by user interactions other than tapping. For example, they may change color when hovered over or clicked, or they may show a tooltip text explaining their purpose. These can be particularly useful in applications where the user might need more guidance or in games where you want to add a playful touch.

Key Features:

  • Makes the UI more intuitive
  • Increases the fun or educational factor

The world of cross icons is richer than it may first appear, each type catering to specific requirements and use-cases. Whether you want to keep things simple with a Basic Cross Icon, add some finesse with Rounded Corners, make actions unmistakably clear with Text-Based Cross Icons, or delight users with Animated or Interactive Cross Icons, the choice is yours. So choose wisely based on your app’s needs and audience preferences!

Also check Bworser icons collection and browser icon pack

Closing an Interface

This is perhaps the most traditional and well-recognized role of a cross icon. Be it a dialog box that pops up to ask if you’re sure you want to exit a page, or a modal window displaying additional information, the cross icon typically sits at the top-right corner, waiting for your tap to close that element. In user interface (UI) design terms, it serves as an immediate escape route, allowing users to dismiss additional layers of interface without affecting the main screen.

Why is this important?

  • It provides a quick and intuitive way for users to return to the main interface.
  • It prevents users from feeling trapped within a certain window or pop-up.

Clearing a Text Field

Have you ever noticed a little ‘x’ icon inside a text field after you’ve started typing? That’s another common use case for cross icons. Clicking this icon usually clears whatever text has been entered into the field, offering users a quick way to erase and start over.

Why is this important?

  • It saves time. Imagine having to backspace an entire long email address or search query.
  • It improves the overall user experience by adding a convenient shortcut for a common action.

Cancellation of Processes

Sometimes, cross icons serve a slightly different function, indicating that an ongoing process or task can be cancelled. For example, if you’re uploading a file, a cross icon may appear beside the progress bar. Clicking it would immediately halt the upload.

Why is this important?

  • It gives users control over actions that might take time or use up resources.
  • It can act as a safety net, allowing users to easily undo a potentially unwanted action.

Switching Tabs or Windows

In some applications or web browsers, a cross icon also appears on tabs. Tapping or clicking this icon will close the tab but not the whole application, providing an easy way to manage multiple open elements.

Why is this important?

  • It provides an intuitive way to manage multiple tasks or views.
  • It aids in de-cluttering the user interface.

Deleting Items

In list-based apps or e-commerce shopping carts, you might also find cross icons beside individual list items or products. Tapping these icons usually deletes the item from the list or cart.

Why is this important?

  • It offers a straightforward way to manage lists or carts.
  • It enhances user control over customizable elements within an app.

The humble cross icon is a workhorse in UI design. It offers a variety of functionalities that range from closing interfaces to managing lists. The universality of its utility makes it one of the most important elements to get right, both in terms of appearance and placement, to ensure an intuitive and pleasant user experience.

Guidelines for Using Cross Icons

Size and Scaling

First things first, the size of your cross icon plays a critical role in its usability. Too small, and users will struggle to tap it, leading to potential frustration. Too large, and it might overpower other elements on the screen or eat up precious real estate.

Tips for Size and Scaling:

  • The Material Design guidelines recommend a touch target size of at least 48 x 48 dp.
  • Always consider the scalability. Your icon should look crisp on screens of varying resolutions and sizes.

Color and Contrast

Choosing the right color for your cross icon is not just an aesthetic choice; it’s a usability one too. The icon needs to stand out against its background to be easily recognizable, but it also shouldn’t clash horribly with your overall design.

Tips for Color and Contrast:

  • Use contrasting colors to make the icon pop.
  • Maintain a balance between visibility and aesthetic cohesion with the rest of your app’s color scheme.


Location, location, location. Where you place your cross icon can significantly affect how easily users can find and use it. In Western cultures, users are accustomed to seeing the icon in the upper-right corner of a dialog box or pop-up window. In contrast, some other cultures read from right to left, making the upper-left corner a more intuitive spot for them.

Tips for Placement:

  • Conduct user testing to find the most intuitive placement for your target audience.
  • Consider the overall layout of your app to ensure the icon’s placement is coherent with other elements.

Icon Style

The look of your cross icon should align with your app’s overall design theme. Whether it’s a simple ‘X’ or a stylized, rounded version, consistency is key.

Tips for Icon Style:

  • Maintain a consistent style across all icons in your app.
  • Don’t mix and match—stick to one type of cross icon for a coherent user experience.

Interactive Feedback

Giving users some feedback when they interact with the cross icon can be a great touch. For instance, the icon could slightly change color, scale, or even animate when tapped.

Tips for Interactive Feedback:

  • Use subtle animations or color changes to indicate a successful tap.
  • Make sure any animations are quick and don’t delay the action the user expects the icon to perform.

Explore: Cute Folder Icons Collection and Cute Folder Icons Pack


Last but not least, always remember that not all users will interact with your app in the same way. Make sure your cross icon is accessible to everyone, including those using screen readers.

Tips for Accessibility:

  • Add descriptive alt text for screen readers.
  • Make sure the icon’s function is also available through other means, like a hardware back button or voice command.

When it comes to cross icons, the devil is in the details. Size, color, placement, style, feedback, and accessibility are all vital considerations that contribute to how well your app meets user needs and expectations. So, the next time you decide to place a cross icon in your Android app, keep these guidelines in mind to make the most of this essential UI element.

How to Add Cross Icons in Android Apps

So, how do you add these tiny wonders to your app?

Android Studio

The built-in tools in Android Studio make it simple to add standard icons, including cross icons, to your application. Android Studio often comes packed with a set of predefined Material icons you can use right off the bat.

Steps to Add in Android Studio:

  1. Navigate to the res folder in your project.
  2. Open the drawable directory.
  3. Right-click and choose New > Vector Asset.
  4. From here, you can select a built-in cross icon or import one.


  • Quick and simple.
  • No need to worry about compatibility; these icons are optimized for Android.

Third-Party Libraries

If you’re looking for something a bit more unique or stylized, third-party libraries such as FontAwesome, Material Icons, or even specialized Android libraries offer a range of icons to suit your needs.

Steps to Add Using Third-Party Libraries:

  1. Add the library to your project’s build.gradle file.
  2. Sync your project.
  3. Reference the icon in your XML layout or programmatically in your Java/Kotlin code.


  • Wide range of options.
  • Professional-grade icons often come with added features like built-in animations.

Custom Design

For those who want full control over every pixel, creating your custom cross icons is the way to go. Tools like Adobe Illustrator or even Android’s XML drawable editor can be used for this.

Steps to Create Custom Icons:

  1. Design your icon using graphic design software or XML.
  2. Export it as a scalable vector graphic (SVG) or PNG.
  3. Import it into your Android Studio project and place it in the drawable folder.
  4. Reference it in your layout file or code.


  • Full customization.
  • Enables you to align the icon perfectly with your app’s overall design.

Adding Functionality

Regardless of which method you choose for adding the icon, you’ll need to add some code to make it functional.

  1. In your XML layout file, give the icon an ID.
  2. In your Activity’s onCreate method, retrieve the icon using findViewById.
  3. Add an OnClickListener to handle taps.
ImageView closeIcon = findViewById(R.id.closeIcon);
closeIcon.setOnClickListener(v -> {
// Add your closing or clearing functionality here

Adding cross icons in Android apps is a pretty straightforward process, whether you opt for built-in Android Studio resources, third-party libraries, or the bespoke route of custom design. What’s key is ensuring that the icon not only looks good but also provides the functionality that aids in enhancing the user experience. Armed with these insights, you’re now well-equipped to implement cross icons in your Android apps effectively.

Best Practices


Maintaining consistency is crucial. If you use a simple ‘X’ as your cross icon in one section, sticking to that style throughout the application will help users build familiarity.

Tips for Maintaining Consistency:

  • Use the same shape and style for the cross icon across different app screens.
  • The functionality should also be consistent. If tapping the cross icon closes a dialog in one part of the app, it should do the same everywhere else.

Visual Cues

Small details can make a significant difference. Subtle visual cues like a change in shade when the icon is tapped, or a brief animation can indicate that the tap was successful, thereby enhancing the user experience.

Tips for Adding Visual Cues:

  • Consider a slight color change or a subtle background glow on tap.
  • Use animations sparingly. While they can add a nice touch, they shouldn’t be too slow or distracting.


Accessibility is often overlooked but vitally important. The icon should be easy to use for everyone, including people with disabilities.

Tips for Ensuring Accessibility:

  • Make the tap target size large enough to interact with comfortably.
  • Add alternative text descriptions for screen readers.
  • Offer alternative ways to perform the same action, such as using the back button or voice commands.


The only way to know if your design is effective is by testing it. Employ both automated tests and human testers to ensure that the icon works as expected and that it meets accessibility guidelines.

Tips for Effective Testing:

  • Use real users to test the app’s usability.
  • Perform A/B testing to compare different icon designs and placements.
  • Use tools to test accessibility compliance.


If your app will be used globally, remember that different cultures have various interpretations and comfort zones for UI elements.

Tips for Localization:

  • Be aware of reading patterns (left-to-right or right-to-left) in different languages and cultures.
  • Test the app with multiple local and international audiences to ensure the icon is universally intuitive.

User Feedback

Finally, never underestimate the power of user feedback. Allow users to easily report issues or provide suggestions. It could provide invaluable insights into how well your cross icon performs its intended function.

Tips for Gathering User Feedback:

  • Implement in-app surveys or feedback forms.
  • Monitor user reviews on app stores for mentions of usability issues related to the cross icon.

When implemented thoughtfully, cross icons can add value to your app’s user interface. By adhering to best practices like maintaining consistency, adding visual cues, ensuring accessibility, and continually testing and improving, you can create a more intuitive and enriching user experience. Remember, a well-designed app pays attention to the smallest details, and a simple cross icon is no exception.

Creating Custom Cross Icons

Designing your own cross icons gives you total control over the look and feel, enabling you to better match the overall aesthetic and functionality of your Android app. If you’re feeling creative and wish to venture into the realm of custom designs, here’s a guide on how to go about it.

Design Software

Your journey begins with picking the right tool for the job. Design software like Adobe Illustrator or Sketch can provide a vast array of tools to help you design intricate or simple icons, all while giving you the creative freedom you desire.

  • Adobe Illustrator: Known for its versatility and extensive range of tools, Illustrator is often the go-to choice for professionals. Its vector-based design capability ensures your icons are scalable without loss of quality.
  • Sketch: Exclusively for macOS, Sketch is another vector-based design tool but with a more user-friendly interface. Its simpler toolset might be less intimidating for beginners.


  • Make use of layers to separate different parts of your icon, which will make editing easier.
  • Always keep the end-user in mind. Make sure the design is intuitive and matches the overall theme of the app.

Android Drawable Resource

Once your design is ready, the next step is to bring it into your Android project. This is where Android Drawable Resource comes into play. Drawable resources are graphic files that can be drawn to the screen and are the standard format for custom icons in Android apps.

Steps to Implement:

  1. Export the Design: Save your custom icon as a PNG or SVG file, ensuring it retains its transparency.
  2. Import into Android Studio: Navigate to the res/drawable folder of your Android project and place the exported image file there.
  3. XML Configuration: Open your XML layout file and reference the drawable resource to set it as a cross icon.

  1. Test Across Devices: Given the variety of Android devices, it’s crucial to test your icon on multiple screen sizes and resolutions.


  • For multiple screen resolutions, you might want to save different versions of your icon (e.g., hdpi, xhdpi, xxhdpi).
  • Make sure the icons are not pixelated or distorted on any device.

Creating custom cross icons is not only a creative outlet but also a pathway to enhancing user experience. By picking the right design software and understanding how to integrate your designs as Android Drawable Resources, you’re well on your way to bringing your unique vision to life.


  1. What are the most popular software tools for designing custom icons?
    • Adobe Illustrator and Sketch are commonly used for this purpose.
  2. Can I use JPEG files for my custom cross icons?
    • It’s best to stick to PNG or SVG to retain transparency and quality.
  3. Is it difficult to import custom icons into Android Studio?
    • No, the process is straightforward. Just place your graphic files in the res/drawable folder.
  4. Do I need to code to implement my custom icons?
    • Minimal coding is needed, mainly in the XML layout file where you reference your drawable.
  5. How can I make my custom icons accessible to all users?
    • Ensure that the tap target is large enough and that contrasting colors are used for better visibility.

Cross Icons for Different Android Versions

So, you’ve created this snazzy cross icon that’s going to revolutionize your app’s user experience, but wait—will it work on all Android versions? Unlike iOS, where the device and OS ecosystem is relatively controlled, Android is a wild west of different versions and device capabilities. Here’s how you can ensure your cross icons are well-received across the board.

Backward Compatibility

It’s crucial to ensure that your icons are compatible with older versions of Android. Imagine creating an incredible animated cross icon only to find out it doesn’t render properly on devices running older Android versions—tragic, isn’t it?

  • Vector Drawables: One way to ensure backward compatibility is to use vector drawables. They scale well and are supported back to Android 4.4 via the AndroidX library.
  • Conditional Resources: Android allows you to place resources in version-specific folders like drawable-v21 for Lollipop and above, ensuring older versions use a simpler, compatible icon.

Tip: Test your app rigorously on different Android versions to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Updating Icons

The Android ecosystem is continuously evolving, and keeping your cross icons up-to-date is crucial for maintaining a modern look and feel. But how do you go about it?

  • Follow Material Design Guidelines: Google frequently updates these guidelines, and following them ensures your icons look contemporary.
  • Check for Deprecated Features: Android updates might deprecate some features or introduce new ones that can make your icons more engaging. Keep an eye out!

Tip: Make updating icons part of your app’s regular maintenance cycle. Your users will thank you for it.

Handling Different Android Versions

What if your app is targeting both old and new Android versions? Here’s a simplified guide to managing your icons across different Android versions:

  1. Resource Qualifiers: Use Android’s resource qualifiers to serve different icons to different versions.
  2. Runtime Checks: In your code, you can use runtime checks to determine the Android version and then set the appropriate icon programmatically.
// set icon for Lollipop and above
} else {
// set icon for older versions
  1. Test, Test, Test: This cannot be stressed enough. Always test on both emulators and real devices spanning various Android versions.

Navigating the maze of Android versions might seem daunting, but it’s entirely manageable with some planning and thorough testing. Making sure your icons are both backward compatible and updated will go a long way in delivering a consistent and modern user experience.

Challenges and Solutions for Cross Icons in Android Apps

Ah, the cross icon—a seemingly straightforward UI element, but don’t be fooled. Even the simplest components come with their own set of challenges that can make or break the user experience. Let’s delve into some common issues you might face and how to tackle them head-on.

Scaling Issues

The first pitfall many designers and developers face is scaling. An icon that looks good on a high-resolution display may not fare so well when scaled down.

  • Vector Graphics: The best way to counter scaling issues is to use vector graphics. They allow you to scale the image without any loss of quality. Tools like SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) are especially handy for this.
  • Multi-Resolution Support: Android supports different drawable folders like hdpi, xhdpi, and xxhdpi. You can create different versions of your icon to cater to different device resolutions.

Tip: Use Android Studio’s preview function to see how your icon scales across various screen sizes before deploying it.

Color Contrast

Ever used an app where you can barely make out the icons against their background? Yeah, it’s annoying. This is often due to a lack of adequate color contrast.

  • Follow W3C Guidelines: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has guidelines on text and image contrast. Try to stick to them as closely as possible for maximum visibility.
  • Testing: Various online tools can test the contrast ratio of your icon against its background. Use these tools as a final check.

Tip: Keep in mind that what may be visible to you might not be the same for others, including those with visual impairments. Always consider accessibility.

Tackling Both Challenges

Combining both solutions for scaling and color contrast, you’re well on your way to a solid user experience. Here’s a checklist to keep you on track:

  1. Design Phase: Decide on the icon’s style, shape, and dimensions. Create multiple versions if necessary for different resolutions.
  2. Implementation Phase: Import the icons into your Android project, placing them in appropriate drawable folders.
  3. Testing Phase: Test the app on different devices and screen sizes. Make adjustments as necessary.
  4. Accessibility Checks: Run contrast tests and consult W3C guidelines to ensure the icon is easily discernible for all users.
  5. Final Deployment: Once you’re confident that the icon scales well and maintains good visibility, it’s time for the final deployment.

While it might seem like a small piece of the puzzle, a well-designed cross icon can significantly impact user experience. Being aware of challenges like scaling and color contrast, and proactively addressing them, can make your app more user-friendly and accessible.

Case Studies: How Top Apps Use Cross Icons Effectively

Let’s face it—when in doubt, it’s always a good idea to look to the pros for inspiration. In this case, we’re talking about some of the big players in the app world: Facebook, Instagram, and Google Maps. Each of these apps has millions of users and has undergone numerous iterations to perfect its user interface, including the use of cross icons. So, what can we learn from them?


Facebook, the social media giant, needs no introduction. With billions of users, Facebook can’t afford to make mistakes in its UI.

  • Consistency: One of the first things you’ll notice is the consistency in icon design. Whether it’s a pop-up or a sidebar, the cross icons maintain a uniform look and feel.
  • Accessibility: Facebook also pays great attention to accessibility. The cross icon is easy to see and tap, facilitating a smooth user experience for everyone.

Takeaway: Consistency and accessibility should be your bread and butter when it comes to cross icon design.


If Facebook is the king of social networking, Instagram is the queen of visual storytelling. So how does Instagram use cross icons?

  • Visual Cues: Instagram incorporates subtle visual cues like shading to make their cross icons stand out.
  • Placement: Instagram generally places cross icons at the top right corner, making them easy to find but not intrusive.

Takeaway: The use of visual cues and smart placement can enhance the user’s experience significantly.

Google Maps

Google Maps is all about functionality. Every element is designed to make navigation simpler, and this extends to its use of cross icons.

  • Functionality Over Form: In Google Maps, the cross icon is often used to close menus or cancel navigation. It’s straightforward and functional.
  • Color and Contrast: Google Maps uses a simple yet effective color scheme that maintains a high level of contrast, making the icons visible under all circumstances.

Takeaway: Sometimes, keeping it simple and functional is the best approach.

These case studies show that even within the constraints of a simple element like a cross icon, there’s room for creativity and innovation. What unifies Facebook, Instagram, and Google Maps in their approach is a focus on user experience, be it through consistency, visual cues, or functionality. The next time you’re stuck on how to incorporate a cross icon into your app, think about how these industry leaders have done it, and you won’t go far wrong.

Mobile App Design Trends: The Rise of Interactive and Animated Cross Icons

We live in an age of rapid technological advancement where standing still is synonymous with falling behind. This applies to all aspects of life, including mobile app design. One of the trends making waves in the mobile UI/UX space is the use of interactive and animated cross icons. So, why are they getting so much attention, and should you be jumping on the bandwagon? Let’s dig in.

What are Interactive and Animated Cross Icons?

At their core, interactive and animated cross icons are an evolution of the basic cross icons used to close a window, cancel a process, or any other such action. What sets them apart is their dynamic behavior.

  • Interactive Icons: These icons respond to user actions like touch or hover. A small ripple effect when you tap, or a color change when you hover over it, adds a layer of engagement that static icons can’t.
  • Animated Icons: These are a step further, undergoing a visual transformation when interacted with. For instance, the cross could morph into a checkmark when a task is complete.

Why the Trend?

So why have these animated and interactive icons gained traction? Here are a few compelling reasons:

  • User Engagement: The slightest interaction can make an app feel more responsive and alive, contributing to a more engaging user experience.
  • Visual Feedback: Interactive and animated icons give instant visual feedback, letting users know their action has been recognized, which is particularly useful for touch interfaces.

How to Implement Them

Before you decide to incorporate animated and interactive cross icons into your app, there are some key considerations:

  • Library or Custom: You can choose from existing libraries like Lottie or FontAwesome, or you can create custom animations with software like Adobe After Effects.
  • Performance: Make sure the animations are optimized so as not to hamper your app’s performance.
  • Test Extensively: Always test the animations on multiple devices and operating systems to ensure they work as intended.

Best Practices

If you decide to go down this road, here are some best practices to follow:

  • Keep it Simple: A flashy animation can be distracting. The aim should be to enhance user experience, not detract from it.
  • Accessibility: Ensure the animations are not too fast and provide an option to turn them off for accessibility reasons.

Interactive and animated cross icons are not just a fad; they are a valuable tool that can significantly improve user engagement and overall experience. However, they should be used thoughtfully and sparingly, always keeping the user’s needs in focus. Are you ready to give your app that modern twist?

Testing Cross Icons: The Crucial Step for Ensuring Effectiveness

Picture this: you’ve designed a beautiful app complete with a suite of cross icons for various functions, from closing dialogue boxes to clearing text fields. You’ve even thrown in some interactive and animated icons to elevate the user experience. But how can you be sure that these icons are as effective and user-friendly as you intended? The answer is simple: testing. Below, let’s explore the importance of testing cross icons and how to go about it.

Why Test Cross Icons?

Let’s get one thing straight: no matter how perfect you think your design is, it’s not truly effective until users say it is.

  • User Expectations: People have built-in expectations when it comes to UI elements, including icons. Testing ensures that your design aligns with these expectations.
  • Usability: The primary role of a cross icon is functionality. If users find it hard to click or even see the icon, it’s a fail, and testing will highlight such issues.

Types of Testing

When it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of cross icons, different types of testing can be applied:

  • A/B Testing: This involves providing two variants (A and B) with different cross icons to see which performs better in terms of user engagement and functionality.
  • User Surveys: Post-interaction surveys can provide insights into what users liked or disliked about the cross icons.
  • Heatmaps: These offer visual representations of where users are clicking most frequently, which can be useful for positioning your cross icons.

Things to Consider While Testing

As you proceed with the testing phase, keep these points in mind:

  • Device Diversity: Make sure to test on different devices and screen sizes to ensure your icons scale well.
  • User Demographics: Consider who your users are. Older adults might have different preferences and needs compared to a younger audience.
  • Accessibility: Don’t forget to include individuals with disabilities in your testing to ensure your app is accessible to all.

Analyzing the Results

Once testing is complete, what next?

  • Data Interpretation: Go through the data meticulously to identify patterns or issues.
  • Iterative Design: Use the insights gained from testing to iterate and improve your cross icons.

Testing is an indispensable step in the design process, especially for something as vital as cross icons that are key to user experience. Whether it’s A/B testing, user surveys, or any other form of evaluation, this step will provide the insights needed to fine-tune your icons and make them as effective as possible.

There you have it—a complete guide to understanding, choosing, and implementing cross icons in Android apps. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned developer, I hope this guide serves as a valuable resource for your next project. So go ahead, cross out those old designs and bring in the new!

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