Instantly grab a high-res icon for any iOS app

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As a blogger who writes about a lot of apps, I frequently need to grab artwork for iOS apps. iTunes and its web previews don’t make this an easy task, especially for high-res versions. To assist in this process, I wrote a quick script to allow me to search for an iOS app by name and instantly write its 1024px version (or the highest resolution available) to the current directory in Terminal. There’s also an OS X application version at the end of this post, so you can perform this trick without needing the command line at all.

From the command line

This script uses iTunes search API to locate the best match possible for entered keywords, so you don’t need to paste in a URL or anything. Just enter something like:

itunesicon.rb super monsters ate my condo

The result will be written out to a file named based on your search terms, in all of its high-resolution glory. The results are square, not rounded with a bezel, so you’ll need to mask it if you want it to appear the way it does on iTunes. I always handle this myself, so I didn’t automate the process, though it could be automated easily enough with ImageMagick and a transparent PNG mask. Here’s a 1024px mask you can use to overlay an icon in your favorite image editor, if you need it.

Download and save the script as itunesicon.rb to a folder in your PATH and make it executable (chmod a+x /path/to/itunesicon.rb). Then just run it with your search terms after the script name and it will let you know what filename it’s saved the icon as, or give you an error message if it fails to find or write the icon.

As an application

I also made an Automator application version of the script so that you can use it without ever touching the command line. Just run the application and it will ask you for the search terms. Enter the title of the application you want an icon for, and — assuming iTunes finds the application and the file save is successful — the high-res icon for the app will be on your Desktop1.

ItunesIcon v2.1

An application for quickly retrieving the high-res icon for any Mac or iOS apps.

Updated Sat Feb 15 2014.

More info…

  1. If you have Acorn installed, you can also automate the masking of the icon in Automator. It will take some tweaking and knowledge of Ruby and Automator, but you can modify the script to pass the resulting image path instead of a success/error message to the next action. Add the “Layer on Images” action from Acorn and use the mask I created as the layer. Save the result as a JPEG and you should have a nicely rounded and beveled image on a white background.