Honestly, I’m a fan of what @madsrh suggested, as well as the idea of taking a prominent color like unity7 did. Although I think changing saturation values in script would probably be sufficient, I understand how it could still be problematic, so the half opacity is still a good alternative.
I did wanna bring up, though, that if some sort of automated squircleization happened, could we possible change the shape of the hover highlight, too? Rn it’s rectangular, but it’d be really cool if it was instead a squircle slightly bigger to feel like there’s an outline around the icon. Extending further, we could make the app drawer button significantly different and make it circular.
Could do a mock-up in a bit if people are interested.