The Highlight — UI Animations

The Highlight — UI Animations

Last year, as part of our ‘Best of 2012‘ feature series, we published our picks for the best UI Animations in apps for 2012. The response to that post was terrific and we loved the feedback that we received with it. A lot of you shared it with your friends and colleagues and quite a few of you wrote in to us. This year too, we’ve selected some fantastic apps in our list of The Highlight — UI Animations.

Note: This post has a number of videos embedded that showcase the animations we’re talking about. Here’s a handy playlist with all the videos.

Pocket Casts 4 Pull To Refresh

Pocket Casts is our favourite cross platform podcast app and in the iOS app, the pull to refresh animation is amazing. They could have gone with the built-in animation available in iOS 7, but chose to create a lovely custom animation involving a radio tuner. When you pull slowly, the tuner indicator slides down and it moves from left to right quickly like an old FM radio tuning to the right frequencies. Pocket Casts is available on the App Store as a universal app for $3.99.

Interesting for iPhone Sidebar

Interesting by Mike Rundle is a great iPhone app to just browse through headlines from different news sources, from categories you wont normally read about. It got a complete UI redesign a few months ago and is one of the few apps to pull off a “hamburger” button with sidebar properly on iOS 7. You can either swipe from the edge or tap the button on the top left to reveal the beautifully done sidebar with colour coded glyphs for each category and a nice lively animation for the categories appearing. Interesting is available on the App Store for $1.99.

Tweetbot 3’s Translate Tweet Animation

The new Tweetbot 3 for iOS 7 is an all new app for iPhones running iOS 7 and Tapbots have really outdone themselves when it comes to animations. There’s a nice use of blurring in the app and the interaction for switching accounts looks glorious. Our favourite animation in the app is the animation as a tweet is translated. A custom alert view pops up indicating the translation happening and the translated tweet nudges this view off the screen. It is really well done. Tweetbot 3 is available on the App Store for $1.99 for a limited time before it goes up to $4.99.


Thunderspace is a spectacular iPhone app that brings stereoscopic 3D audios that create virtual thunderstorms around you. The app contains high quality audios recorded by Emmy-award winning nature sound recordist Gordon Hempton and is a fabulous way to just sit back and relax, listening to soothing music that calms you. Taptanium, the developers of the app who also have apps like Haze to their credit, have done a remarkable job with the animations and interactions in Thunderspace. The video above should give you enough idea of this. Thunderspace also uses your iPhone's flash to simulate lightning and the audio is actually synced to an atomic clock, so all users of Thunderspace around the globe listen to the same audio at the same time. Thunderspace is available for $3.99 on the App Store.


Llumino is a lovely calculator app for iPhone with playful and joyful animations. We wrote about Llumino back in March this year and the app has continued to get better with every release. The animations in here are really wonderfully done and just a few taps will get you hooked. Llumino doesn't try to be a power-packed, full-featured calculator app — instead, it offers a dark, simple UI with some lovely animations to handle your small calculations. Llumino is available for $1.99 on the App Store.


When we first sat down to list out the potential apps to include in our annual 'UI Animations' list, Tick was the first app to make the list. Since its release back in October, Tick has been updated with some fantastic features like Reminders, Due Dates, Custom Fonts & URL Schemes. But Tick's primary USP still remains its phenomenal animations & interactions. You really have to experience these. Take a look at the video above and if you've already made up your mind, Tick is available for just $0.99 on the App Store.


Flamingo is the gorgeous Google Hangouts & Facebook Chat app for Mac. Since its release in October, it has become my primary chat app thanks to its inline previews for popular web services. Not only is the app a great way to chat, it also sports some fabulously done animations. I love how the bubbles animate when you send and receive chat messages. Flamingo is available on the Mac App Store for $9.99.


Although Timehop actually came out in 2012, we missed including it in the post last year. Timehop's iPhone app has a lovely pull-to-refresh animations that has its mascot, Abe spinning the loading indicator with its paws. If you scroll to the bottom, you'll find Abe again, is his Hawaiian shorts. Check out the video embedded above or go download Timehop, Free from the App Store.