This is a small change, but Chrome OS 90 has come with a change that I didn’t fully realize until today and I absolutely love it. Though Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have carried their icons along with them for some time, pinned web apps that aren’t fully realized as PWAs on Chromebooks have a tendency to forget their app icon between logins. For me, that means apps like Discord that don’t have a technical PWA available won’t remember the app icon when I log into a new Chromebook. It’s a small annoyance, but an annoyance all the same.
Above is a screen grab of my Chromebook shelf after just logging into this device yesterday. For reasons unknown at this point, my ‘Hatch’-based Chromebook is still stuck on Chrome OS 89. As you can see, there is one app icon that doesn’t quite look like the rest. That gray circle with the capital D you see is my pinned Discord web app and ever since we began using Discord as our internal communication tool, I’ve dealt with this tiny aggravation every time I log in to a new device. All my other apps show up with their icons just fine, but Discord (and others, to be fair) won’t go and automatically pull the site icon.
The only fix – up to this point – has been to remove the shortcut completely and remake it. Every. Single. Time. Upon deleting the shortcut and going through the process to re-add it, the icon appears just fine. Leaving that Chromebook and signing into a new one never brings the app icons over, however. That is changing, though, and I love it.
Have icon, will travel
With Chrome OS 90, all of this is solved and websites you pin retain their icon across Chromebooks. Finally! It’s been a bit hit-or-miss, but it seems that if you have a device logged in on Chrome OS 90 and have all your icons in place the way you like, all those icons will travel with you to your next device running Chrome OS 90. There are no extra steps needed and no new processes: this just works the way we all expect it to.
I’m not sure why icon fetching hasn’t just worked up to this point, but it seems Chrome OS is finally capable of snagging those pesky favicons from your pinned sites without issue. Sure, I’d love to see all great web experiences just go full-blown PWA (*cough* Discord *cough*), but until they all do, this little update will help those fantastic web applications feel much more native in the meantime.