In Android 8, Google added adaptive icons, essentially making all apps use the same shape for their icons. This is widely adopted now and you can often customize the shape. However, if you do not like the concept of adaptive icons and prefer the legacy icons where apps are free to use their own shapes, you are in much worse luck nowadays where seemingly everything only cares about adaptive icons. Most launchers don't even have an option to use non-adaptive icons. Many instead have options to force "legacy" icons inside white circles to make them "adaptive".
Thankfully, all is not lost. One launcher, Nova Launcher, still has the option in "Look & feel" → "Icon style" → "Android 7.1 icons" to try to make app shapes unique.
However some of you may prefer other launchers without this feature or may live in a dark day when Nova may remove this useful feature (which they briefly did in Nova 7). Therefore, I am here presenting a backup method to get "legacy", non-adpative icons.
This method is fairly easy using Icon Pack Studio. It will allow us to create a custom icon pack for just our own personal use which is just the icons of our apps but not adaptive. Then you can use this icon pack with most popular launchers. You may have to regenerate and reinstall this icon pack as you install more apps in the future, but at least it's doable.
After installing Icon Pack Studio, the steps in the app to generate a non-adaptive icon pack are as follows:
- Hit "New" at the bottom and create a new "Adaptive icon" pack. (Yes, you want to hit "Adaptive icon" even to make non-adaptive icons. This basically just means you want colors.)
- Go to "Background" and toggle off the Shape to get an icon with no background.
- Go to "Logo", then "Design, then change the "Type" to "Not adaptive" and change "Compositing" to "Overwrite".
- Turn the size up to 100 to compensate for not having padding added all around it.
- Hit "Preview", then "Apply", then "Overwrite", then "OK", install the resulting icon pack, and apply it. (It might take a minute to generate.)
Then voilà! Your icons should be back to their classic looks. This way even makes more icons non-adaptive than Nova Launcher's built-in option does. You can also use both methods at the same time to provide a backup for new apps so you don't have to regenerate the icon pack as often.