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I am currently debating if:

  1. The "i" icon should only be used when the target page\view only displays additional information. (help text, credits, about, terms & conditions, etc.)
  2. The "i" icon can also be used when enabling navigation towards minor settings or additional features. (small quantity of settings, subscription renewal, etc.)

In the iPhone app I am working on, the "i" button currently goes to a modal view with two tabs, "help" and "credits". I will be including a third in order to renew your subscription the the app. I am thinking the "i" icon may no longer be the most appropriate. What do you guys think? Is there a best practice?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

For the first case, the "information", it's perfect and I recommend it.

IMO the "i" icon shouldn't be used for your second case, that's meant to have a different icon! (such as something that represents "settings" or in you example, "renew/subscriptions").

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Agreed. "i" for "information", gear-icon for settings. – Jonta May 24 '11 at 8:53

According to the iOS human interface guidelines, the info button's intended behavior is: "Flip to the back of the view to display configuration options or more information." A display of configuration options on the back of a view is supposed to be the right place for 'options that people are unlikely to change frequently'. That's your option 2.

People who are not used to these iphone peculiarities will be confused though, since outside the iphone info buttons are normally used just for displaying info (such version information, credits and such), and not for settings. And that's your option 1.

The best thing you can probably do to really find out what works for your particular users and your particular app is to mock up both alternatives and test your users' reactions.

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