iOS 18 announced – Customizable Home Screen layouts, lockable apps, redesigned Photos and more

Apple has officially announced iOS 18, the latest major update to its iPhone operating system, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 alongside watchOS 11, iPadOS 18, visionOS 2, and macOS Sequoia. This release introduces many new features focusing on customization, artificial intelligence, and enhanced user experiences.

iOS 18

iOS 18 features

“We are thrilled to introduce iOS 18. It is a huge release with incredible features, including new levels of customization and capability, a redesigned Photos app, and powerful ways to stay connected with Messages. There are so many benefits for everyone,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “This release also marks the beginning of a tremendously exciting new era of personal intelligence with Apple Intelligence delivering intuitive, powerful, and instantly useful experiences that will transform the iPhone experience, all with privacy at the core. We can’t wait for users to experience it.”

Advanced Home Screen Customization

iOS 18 brings unprecedented customization options to the Home Screen. Users can now freely place app icons anywhere, allowing for a more personalized layout that doesn’t obscure background photos. Additionally, app icons can automatically tint with Dark Mode for a visually cohesive look. This new theming capability extends to all app icons, enabling users to apply a uniform tint color across their Home Screen.

iOS 18 Home Screen

Revamped Control Center

The Control Center has been redesigned with a multipage layout, allowing for greater customization and utility. A new “Controls Gallery” lets third-party developers offer widgets that can be added to the Control Center. Users can also replace default lock screen icons, such as the camera and flashlight, with any Control Center toggles of their choice, providing more flexibility and control over their device’s functionality.

iOS 18 Control Center

Enhanced privacy features and new Passwords app

iOS 18 introduces the ability to lock individual apps using Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode, significantly boosting privacy. These locked apps won’t appear in search results, making it easier to keep sensitive information secure. This feature is particularly beneficial for apps with AI functionalities that require additional privacy measures.

The new Passwords app offers a unified hub for organizing various passwords, covering Wi-Fi access, application and website logins, as well as authentication codes. This application synchronizes seamlessly across all Apple devices and extends its accessibility to Windows through the iCloud for Windows application.

 iOS 18 privacy

Improvements to Messages and Mail

The Messages app sees several updates, including the ability to react to messages with any emoji or sticker, scheduled message sending, and new text formatting options like bold, underline, and strikethrough. Apple has also added support for RCS, enhancing messaging capabilities, especially in areas with limited connectivity.

iOS 18 messages

The Mail app now features automatic categorization, similar to Gmail, sorting emails into categories such as promotions, newsletters, and transactions. A new digest view consolidates important emails, such as flight information, making them easily accessible when needed.

 iOS 18 mail

Photos app redesign

The Photos app receives its most significant redesign to date, offering a unified, single view for easier navigation. Users can filter photos by years, months, and other categories, and new buttons allow for zooming in and out. Below the photo grid, collections are now organized by topics like people, trips, and favorite memories, which can be customized and pinned. A new carousel interface plays an autoplaying video of favorite photos and videos, refreshing daily to highlight new memories.

iOS 18 photos

Game Mode and additional enhancements

Game Mode debuts on the iPhone with iOS 18, optimizing device performance for gaming by minimizing background activities. This ensures the highest frame rates and more responsive connections to AirPods and wireless game controllers.

iPhone Game Mode

Other notable updates include the introduction of Messages via Satellite, enabling iPhone 14 and 15 users to send messages without Wi-Fi or cellular service, and enhanced Apple Wallet capabilities. The Wallet app now supports tap-to-cash payments using Apple Cash, improved event ticket handling, and detailed topographic maps in Apple Maps with offline support.

iOS 18 Messages

Developer and public beta availability

The first developer beta of iOS 18 is available starting today, with a public beta to follow later. The official release to the public is scheduled for this fall alongside the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro.

iOS 18 promises to deliver a more personalized, intelligent, and user-friendly experience, marking a significant step forward for Apple’s mobile platform. Stay tuned for more updates and hands-on impressions as we explore the full capabilities of this exciting new release.

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.