iOS 18: 10 New Features for the Home and Lock Screens

iOS 18: 10 New Features for the Home and Lock Screens

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With the new changes in iOS 18, Apple seems to have overhauled the iPhone Home Screen, introducing numerous design changes that allow for greater customization and personalization. One of these adjustments is the ability to place icons wherever you want, resize them, and add new colors. Additionally, you can hide apps and swap the Lock Screen buttons.

This guide highlights all the new features coming to the iOS 18 Home Screen and Lock Screen.

Rearrange Icons With iOS 18, you can rearrange app icons and widgets on the Home Screen and app pages with spacing between them, providing many new layout options.

Apple has retained the grid system, so you can only move app icons within the grid positions, but icons can be placed anywhere within the grid with space around them. Previously, when adding a new app to the Home Screen, it would automatically move to the next open position. In iOS 18, you can choose where to place it, creating icon-sized gaps, empty rows, and columns. However, you can’t place icons and widgets with uneven spacing due to the invisible grid limit.

Here’s how to move your icons:

  1. Long press on the Home Screen or an app page to enter wiggle mode.
  2. Move the app to the desired position.
  3. Tap Done.

Increase Icon Size

You can enlarge your app icons in iOS 18 by removing the app names. With app names displayed, Apple needs space to show them, but removing them frees up more area for larger folder and icon sizes. Changing the app size doesn’t alter the number of apps displayed, just removes the text and uses that space.

Resize Widgets

You can resize widgets directly from the Home Screen without going into customization options. Widgets now have a small white handle at the corner that you can drag to make them bigger or smaller.

  1. Long press on the Home Screen or an app page to enter wiggle mode.
  2. Use your finger to resize the widget.

New Widgets

Apple has added new Health widgets in iOS 18 that display information from the new Vitals feature available in the Health app and on the Apple Watch. It provides an overview of daily or weekly vital signs, plus a new cycle tracking widget.

The Vitals feature compiles information from the Apple Watch to give daily metrics on heart rate, sleep patterns, respiration, and blood oxygen levels, showing how they change daily and weekly.

Additionally, there’s a new Journal widget with options for writing prompts that you can tap to open the app and respond. You can also choose the Streaks widget to track consecutive days you’ve used the Journal app.

For the new Training Load feature on the Apple Watch, Apple has added a corresponding widget in the Fitness widgets section.

In the Home widgets section, there are new widgets for electricity usage and prices, a feature coming to select users later this year in iOS 18.

Dark Mode Icons

Apple’s built-in apps have both Light and Dark mode options in iOS 18, allowing you to change the icon colors when Dark Mode is enabled. All Dark icons are redesigned with black backgrounds instead of white or colored backgrounds, making them blend better with Dark Mode settings.

You can enable Dark icons independently from Dark Mode, so you can use Light Mode while having Dark icons. You can also set the icons to automatic, changing colors based on whether Dark or Light Mode is active.

Currently, only Apple’s apps have Dark options, but third-party developers may also provide two color options for their icons when iOS 18 launches.

To accompany the Dark Mode icons, Apple has introduced a toggle to darken your wallpaper. Here’s how to change your icons and wallpaper colors:

  1. Long press on the Home Screen or an app page.
  2. Tap on Edit.
  3. Tap on Customize.
  4. Select Automatic, Dark, Light, or Tinted (described below). This is also the interface used to change app icon size and darken your wallpaper (the sun icon).

Icon Colors

Besides choosing Dark Mode for your app icons, you can tint all icons, matching them to your wallpaper. You can’t change individual icon colors; the tint will alter all icons. You can use the eyedropper to select a color from the wallpaper or use two sliders to adjust both color and saturation. Tinting works with all icons by desaturating them and then applying a color over the desaturated icon, resulting in a very monochromatic look.

Similar to icon size, this is a global setting, so you can’t have different shades for different app pages. Tinting affects the app pages, Home Screen, and App Library. To change icon colors:

  1. Long press on the Home Screen or app page.
  2. Tap on Edit.
  3. Tap on Customize.
  4. Select Tinted and use the sliders to adjust the tint to your ideal color.

To turn off tinting, follow the same steps and select Light or Dark to return to standard icon colors.

Hide and Lock Apps

iOS 18 includes a security feature to lock apps or hide them completely from the Home Screen and app pages. Locked apps require Face ID or Touch ID to open, so even if someone has your unlocked iPhone, they can’t open the locked apps.

Hiding an app works similarly but goes a step further by removing the app from view entirely. You’ll only see it in the Hidden folder in the App Library, which also requires authentication to access. Locked and hidden apps don’t appear in iPhone searches, Siri can’t access them without authentication, and notifications and alerts from these apps are disabled, keeping them private without authentication.

Locking and hiding apps is useful when you need to hand your phone to someone to view photos, play games, or similar situations.

For a locked app, there’s no indication it’s locked until someone tries to open it, prompting Face ID or Touch ID authentication. Hidden apps simply don’t show anywhere except in the App Library.

Apps appear in your App Store purchase/download list but not in the Settings app. You can access settings for hidden apps in a separate Hidden Apps folder, which requires authentication. Here’s how to lock or hide an app:

  1. Long press the app icon you want to lock or hide.
  2. Tap on Require Face ID.
  3. If you just want to lock the app, tap Require Face ID again. If you want to hide it, select Hide and Require Face ID.
  4. Authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID.
  5. For a locked app, that’s it. For a hidden app, you’ll see a screen informing you that notifications or calls from the app are disabled.
  6. Tap on Hide App.

To remove the lock from an app, long press the icon on the Home Screen or app page and select Don’t Require Face ID. You’ll need to authenticate to disable it.

To unhide an app, go to the App Library, select the Hidden section, authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID, long press the app icon, and select Don’t Require Face ID or Unhide App. This removes the lock and un-hides the app.

If you disable the lock and don’t add it back to the Home Screen, you’ll need to find it in the App Library to place it back on the Home Screen.

Lock Screen Updates

Apple hasn’t made major changes to the Lock Screen since its overhaul with iOS 17, but there are some notable updates.

Rainbow Time and New Lock Screen Widget Options

In iOS 17, Apple added options to customize the font and color of the Lock Screen time, and in iOS 18, there’s a new rainbow color option. Additionally, you can add a new Journal widget displaying journaling prompts that open the app when tapped.

For widget options, there are new Health Vitals widgets and items for electricity usage and prices, matching the new Home Screen widgets.

Quick Buttons

For the first time, you can change the Flashlight and Camera icons on the Lock Screen, choosing something more useful or turning them off completely. You can select any Control Center option for the Lock Screen buttons, including Shortcuts, Dark Mode, Airplane Mode, Remote, Alarm, Translate, etc. This change is related to the Control Center redesign, giving you more options for what you can launch from the Lock Screen.

Apple is allowing third-party apps to add Control Center icons, so you can choose from those as well. Depending on your selection, you may need to use Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate before accessing the app from the Lock Screen, protecting user privacy and keeping sensitive data secure.

Here’s how to change the Lock Screen buttons:

  1. Long press on the Lock Screen after authenticating.
  2. Tap on Customize.
  3. Tap on Lock Screen.
  4. From this interface, tap on the “-” icon to remove any apps assigned to the buttons. If doing this for the first time, you’ll set the Flashlight and Camera apps to default and need to remove them.
  5. Then, tap on the “+” icon and select a new control to add.
  6. Tap on Done at the top right corner.

iOS 18 Wallpapers

There are four new iOS 18 wallpaper options in pink, yellow, blue, and purple with matching darker tones. All have Light and Dark Mode shades customized by Apple, with Dark Mode having backlighting for the darker part of the design.

You can find the new wallpapers by long pressing on the Lock Screen and selecting Customize to modify an existing wallpaper or “+” to add a completely new one.

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