Wednesday, June 19, 2024

iOS 18 is official. Here’s how it’s going to change your iPhone forever

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Promotional logo for WWDC 2023.

This story is part of our complete Apple WWDC coverage

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here: iOS 18 has just been announced at Apple’s WWDC 2024 keynote. And, like the rumors have been saying, this is a very big, juicy update for your iPhone.

Contents

  • Home screen changes
  • Control Center
  • Privacy
  • Messages
  • Mail
  • Maps, Wallet, Journal apps
  • Game Mode
  • PhotosShow 3 more items

There’s been a lot of anticipation for iOS 18. Rumors and leaks for the new update have been particularly intense this year, more so than iOS 17 rumors last year. So, was the hype worth it? Here’s what’s coming to your iPhone with iOS 18.

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Home screen changes

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The home screen is getting some big changes, and it’s going to be more like Android in a few ways.

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Reorganizing your home screen will be easier than ever. Now you can select multiple apps and widgets at once and place them anywhere on the screen, which is great for showcasing your wallpaper. App icons now have a new look in Dark Mode, and you can even customize them with a tint color to go better with your wallpaper, or any color you please.

App icons can also be larger.

Control Center

As the rumors speculated, Control Center is getting a huge redesign and new customization options.

The Control Center now features a brand new, redesigned UI that is more streamlined and easier to use. You can swipe to get access to new Control Center pages, and even do a continuous swipe to quickly scroll through your multiple group controls. The layout can now be fully adjusted, so no more locked top half of the screen for controls, and you can also resize the controls to whatever you want. This lets you have more controls on the screen at once or you can make them larger and easier to select.

The lock screen shortcuts can finally be changed from the Flashlight and Camera to whatever you want. Those who have an iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max can also change the Action button to invoke any controls that are available in the Control Center too. And developers are now able to add their own controls to Control Center via the Controls API. This opens up a lot more customization options for Control Center.

Privacy

Apple is a brand that is focused on privacy, and there are some new additions to make that even better. With iOS 18, you cna now lock specific apps so that no one can get into it when you hand your phone off to someone else. Apps can be locked and only accessed via Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode.

There is also an option to hide apps so that they don’t show up on your home screen, nor would they show up in search. When an app is hidden, it will show up only in a Hidden folder in the App Library, and this folder needs authentication to view.

And lastly, when you give an app access to your contacts, you can decide which specific contacts it can see, rather than all of them.

Messages

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First, lets get it out of the way — RCS support will be in iOS 18 through the Messages app. Apple did not give more details beyond that, but we already know the basics of this RCS support.

What Apple did show off was some other new features. Tapbacks is getting a facelift. Not only are the default options redesigned, but you can also use any emoji or sticker for a Tapback.

There is also the ability to schedule messages to send later. Messages can also be formatted with rich text, such as bold, italicize, strikethrough, and more. This helps place emphasis on your messages. And there are new text effects, which are like screen effects, but for text. These effects also help emphasize your messages too, with effects like “blown away” or “bouncing.”

Messages now uses the same tech as Emergency SOS via Satellite to allow you to use satellite connectivity for texting people when you don’t have working cellular or Wi-Fi service. When these are iMessages, they are still end-to-end encrypted, and there is also SMS message via satellite too.

Mail

The Mail app will see some big updates to make it more usable. Mail will now categorize your mail into several different categories: Primary, Transactions, Updates, and Promotions.

Primary will be for those important contacts and other messages you won’t want to miss. Transactions are for receipts and orders, Updates are newsletters, and Promotions are marketing emails. These should help you organize your inbox better. Mail will now group emails from one sender together in a single place, which is easier to find.

Categorization will be coming later this year.

Maps, Wallet, Journal apps

Apple

Maps will have new features like topographical maps for things like hikes, and you can even save your own custom routes. Trail routes will also have turn-by-turn guidance.

Wallet will have Tap to Cash, allowing you to pay someone through Apple Cash just by bringing their iPhones close together. There is also Apple Pay online, and a brand new design for event tickets. The event ticket will also have an “event guide” for additional information for venues and even giving you app suggestions.

Journal now lets you log your state of mind and track your goals with a new Insights view. And yes, you can finally search through your past entries.

Game Mode

Game Mode is currently a macOS feature, but it is now coming to iOS. With Game Mode, it will minimize background app activity so that you get the highest frame rate possible for playing your game. It will also dramatically improve responsiveness with AirPods and wireless game controllers so you never miss a beat.

Photos

Apple

The Photos app is getting its biggest redesign in years. It has unified everything into a single view to reduce clutter.

You’ll now have the Gallery at the top, and memories and collections below it. To access specific times, you can view by Years or Months. There is also a new filter feature so you can look for specific photos, or even filter out screenshots. Yes, finally, you can clean up your photo gallery from all those dozens or hundreds of screenshots. There is the ability to browse by topics, time, people, favorite memories, and more.

Collections can now be shared entirely with a single tap, and you can customize your Photos app to view the things that are most important to you.

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