How to Fix a Duolingo App That Looks Old & Sad in 2024

Key Takeaways
  • The Duolingo app occasionally updates its mascot, Duo, to appear old or 'melted' as a visual cue, which has sparked diverse reactions among users.
  • These changes are often part of marketing strategies or technical updates intended to increase user engagement or highlight app features.
  • The company actively responds to user feedback, making adjustments and considering future updates to improve the app and user satisfaction.

You opened your Duolingo app and noticed that its icon looks unexpectedly old and tired. If so, you’re not alone. Many users have reported that despite active engagement with the app, the Duo icon remains worn out, casting a slightly upsetting shadow over their language-learning journey.

This issue has caused a lot of talk and worry among Duolingo users. They are curious why the app icon doesn’t show their learning progress. This post will discuss the reasons behind this odd feature and how it impacts user experience. We will also provide straightforward solutions for those looking to refresh their app’s appearance.

What exactly is the Duolingo app?

What is Duolingo app?

Duolingo is a popular language learning platform that offers courses in various languages. It’s available as a mobile app and a web-based platform, making language learning accessible and convenient for users anywhere. Duolingo uses a game-like format to teach languages, incorporating elements like points, levels, and a virtual currency to motivate users.

The interactive lessons consist of many exercises that help improve reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in the chosen language. Its user-friendly design and adaptive learning approach make it a favored choice for millions looking to learn a new language at their own pace.

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Understanding the Duolingo app icon

Understanding the Duolingo App Icon

The active status icon on Duolingo, generally represented by the app’s symbol, Duo the Owl, is a visual indicator of a user’s interaction with the app. This icon changes appearance based on the user’s engagement levels—looking energetic or tired, for example—to encourage consistent usage.

The icon’s dynamic nature aims to motivate learners by visually reflecting their learning progress or inactivity, forcing them to maintain or increase their interaction with the language-learning activities.

↪ User reactions to the icon

The changing look of the Duolingo app icon has caused many different feelings among users. Many users have shared their unhappiness when the icon looks tired or old, feeling like it’s a negative comment on their learning. People are calling it “Duolingo is melting” online.

This look can make users feel discouraged instead of motivated, with some saying it makes them want to use the app less. This reaction shows how design choices meant to encourage users can sometimes have the opposite effect, affecting how they feel about using the app and how often they use it.

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Why is Duolingo melting (icon getting old)?

Why Duolingo is melting?

In Duolingo, the term “melting” means the app icon looks older or tired, which can surprise or amuse users. This change is part of Duolingo’s plan to keep users interested, but it can make people wonder why the icon looks less lively.

1. Visual representation and its implications

Duolingo changed its icon Duo’s look to make the app seem alive and interactive. The older icon shows fatigue as a playful reminder for users to do their language lessons.

2. Possible technical or marketing strategies

The different icons might be a marketing plan to catch users’ attention and make them use the app more. Duolingo may increase engagement by making users curious or concerned by making the icon look old or tired.

3. Community feedback and impact

User feedback significantly affects app changes. Different reactions to the icon’s look help Duolingo improve its ways of keeping users engaged, ensuring fun with a good user experience. The community’s response helps develop the app to suit better learners’ wants.

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Can you change the icon back to fresh and happy? 

Whether or not you can change the Duolingo app icon depends on the features offered by the app itself and the capabilities of your device’s operating system. Duolingo occasionally offers the option to customize the app icon directly within the app settings.

This feature is usually available for users who are part of specific programs like Duolingo Plus or have certain achievements like long streaks, allowing them to choose from a selection of icons. Follow these steps to update the icon through app settings:

  1. Open the Duolingo app and tap on your profile.
    Open your profile
    Open your profile
  2. Then, select “Settings” in the upper right corner.
    Go to Settings
    Go to Settings
  3. Within the settings menu, find the option labeled “Change Avatar,” select the icon you prefer, which will update your icon.
    Change app's Avatar
    Change app’s Avatar

↪ Alternatives for displaying the icon

If such an option isn’t available directly through Duolingo’s settings, you can use alternative methods to change how the icon appears on your device. For example, on iOS devices, you can create shortcuts with custom icons for any app. Here are some alternatives you can try:

1. Use app widget

Alternatives for displaying the icon

Instead of changing the app icon, you can add a Duolingo widget to your home screen. Widgets often do not reflect the icon changes and can provide quick access without the old icon appearance.

2. Create shortcut

You can create shortcuts with custom icons on many smartphones, especially iPhones. Simply create a shortcut for the Duolingo app and choose any image as the icon.

3. Try third-party apps

Some third-party applications allow for more extensive customization of app icons across different devices. These can be used to customize the Duolingo icon without waiting for app-specific updates.

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Doulingo alternatives

Doulingo alternatives

Several options offer varied features and methodologies for those seeking alternatives to Duolingo for language learning. Here are some of the prominent ones:  

  1. Babbel: It focuses on conversation skills and grammar, making it ideal for practical language use.
  2. Rosetta Stone: This app uses immersive techniques without translation to mimic natural language learning processes.
  3. Memrise: This Duolingo alternative incorporates memorization techniques with real-life language usage and video clips of native speakers.

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Final thoughts

The Duolingo app’s icon, especially when it looks old or melting, has caused much conversation among users, highlighting how visual elements can affect the user experience. While some users think these changes are funny or unusual, others are discouraged by the sad-looking depiction of Duo, the app’s mascot.

Duolingo’s responsive approach to user feedback and readiness to discuss and explain these changes highlight its commitment to maintaining an active and satisfied user community. 


Can changing the Duolingo app icon affect my learning progress?

Changing the icon does not impact your learning progress or streaks; it’s purely a visual preference that can make your learning experience more enjoyable.

Is there a cost associated with changing the app icon on Duolingo?

No, changing the app icon is a free feature available to users who meet specific criteria, like being part of the Streak Society or having a Duolingo Plus subscription.

Are there any accessibility features related to the Duolingo app icon?

Duolingo tries to ensure accessibility, but as of now, no specific features relate directly to the icon except for color adjustments that might benefit visually impaired users.

What is the best way to stay updated on new features and icons introduced by Duolingo?

Following Duolingo on social media, subscribing to their newsletter, and participating in community forums are great ways to stay informed about new features and updates, including new icon options.

Can Duolingo be used without an internet connection?

Duolingo requires an internet connection for most features, but some content can be downloaded for offline use if you have Duolingo Plus.


Khalid Ali

Khalid is a versatile analyst honing his expertise for the past 5 years. With certifications from Google and IBM to back him up, his knowledge extends far beyond the routine coverage of the latest trends and in the industry.