10 New Home Screen Features Coming to iPhone with iOS 18 « Apple :: Gadget Hacks

With the iOS 18 software update, your iPhone will have exciting new Home Screen customization options, including some we’ve been waiting for for years. Your iPad can also use all these Home Screen features with iPadOS 18.

Both the iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 are currently in beta, with a stable release set for the fall. If you can’t or don’t want to join the beta, here’s what you can expect for your Home Screen when Apple releases the new software updates to everyone.

1. Rearrange Home Screen App Icons/Widgets

One of the most frustrating things about the Home Screen was that you couldn’t put apps, folders, and widgets on a page without them conforming to Apple’s gapless left-to-right, top-to-bottom reading order. There were complicated, infuriating workarounds most people would never even try, like web tools that use icon tricks to create gaps, but you’d have to redo the work anytime you wanted a new wallpaper.

With iOS 18 and iPadOS 18, we can finally place an app icon, folder, or widget anywhere on the Home Screen. For example, you could place apps closer to the bottom for easier access or frame them around the subject of a photo wallpaper. Icons and widgets no longer have to obstruct important details in your backgrounds, like a pet’s face or the sun setting. You can move everything around to work with your wallpaper.

2. Dark Mode for Icons, Widgets, and More

On iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, your Home Screen won’t change much or at all when you turn on Dark Mode. That’s changing with iOS 18 and iPadOS 18. Whether Dark Mode is automatically or manually turned on, it can darken app icons, folders, and widgets on your Home Screen, along with the wallpaper and dock. You can even set Dark Mode to work with the Home Screen even when the system-wide Dark Mode is off.

3. Dim Dark Appearance

On past iOS and iPadOS versions, you could dim or not dim adaptive wallpapers when in Dark Mode. That option returns in the new “Customize” menu, which appears in a nonmodal sheet at the bottom. When “Dark” is selected, tap the sun icon in the corner to dim or not dim the wallpaper.

4. Color Themes for Icons and Widgets

In the Home Screen’s new “Customize” menu, you can adjust your Dark and Light preferences, but you can also choose “Tinted,” which suggests a color for your app icons, folders, and widgets that complements your current wallpaper. If you don’t like the suggested color, adjust it using the gradient and luma sliders. You can also use the color picker tool to select any color on your wallpaper.

5. Hide App, Folder, and Widget Names

The “Customize” menu also has a tool that lets you enlarge app icons and folders on your Home Screen. This is great if you need larger icons to recognize things more easily, but it’s also got a very cool side effect: it hides app, folder, and widget names. It was somewhat possible to do on iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 and earlier using a few workarounds, like jailbreak tweaks and special Unicode characters, but iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 will do it for you with the “Large” switch.

6. Resize Widgets

Widgets are easier to work with on iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 since you can easily resize the widgets already on your Home Screen. No more deleting them and adding them back as a different size from the gallery — now you just do it from the widget’s quick actions menu or via its drag handle. More interestingly, the quick actions option also lets you turn a widget into an app icon, and you can use an app icon’s quick actions to turn it into a widget!

7. Lock and Hide Apps

From an app icon’s quick actions menu on the Home Screen, you can quickly lock the app behind Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode protection to keep other people out. While you can “Require Face ID,” “Require Touch ID,” or “Require Passcode” on any app you want to lock, only some apps will let you hide them. For example, apps like Files and Freeform can be locked but can’t be hidden.

8. New App Library Transition and Effect

When you swipe to open the App Library on iOS 18, you’ll notice a new transition. On iOS 17, the App Library crossfades into the last Home Screen page, changing opacity over apps, widgets, folders, and the dock. On iOS 18, the App Library pushes the last Home Screen page offscreen.

Also, instead of a background behind the search bar that obscures that portion of the App Library collections, iOS 18 uses a translucent background, so you can see the collections partly blurred behind it.

Swiping open App Library on iOS 17 (left) vs. iOS 18 (right).

9. App Library Hidden Collection

You’ll also find the new “Hidden” collection at the bottom of the App Library. Any apps you lock with Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode can be hidden from the Home Screen, Spotlight Search, and other locations, but you can find them all in the locked “Hidden” folder.

10. Widget Changes

There are a few new and updated widgets for your Home Screen. New ones include:

  • Home widgets for Electricity Usage and Electricity Rates.
  • Health widgets for Daily Vitals, Weekly Vitals, and Cycle Tracking.
  • Journal widgets for New Entry and Streaks.

And changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Calendar widgets use calendar icons instead of lines to distinguish different calendars.
  • Calendar widgets also highlight events with the calendar’s color instead of just having a colored line beside it.
  • Calendar widgets now incorporate scheduled tasks in Reminders.
  • Home widgets for Grid Forecast have a new lightning bolt symbol on the green bar.
  • Maps widgets show a larger area of the map.

Just updated your iPhone? You’ll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what’s new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover photo, screenshots, and GIFs by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.