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With iOS 18, Apple overhauled the Home Screen, introducing design changes that allow for more customization and personalization. You can put icons where you want, change their size, and give them new colors, plus you can hide apps and swap out your Lock Screen buttons.

iOS-18-Home-Screen-Feature-2.jpg

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

Rearranging Icons

With iOS 18, you can rearrange app icons and widgets on your Home Screen and app pages with space between them, providing a wealth of new layout options.

ios-18-home-screen-icons.jpg

Apple stuck with a grid system so you can only move app icons within the grid locations, but an icon can be placed anywhere in the grid with empty space around it. That sounds complicated, but with iOS 17, if you added a new app to your Home Screen, it would automatically go to the next open spot.

In iOS 18, you can choose where to put it. You can have app icon-sized spaces between apps, full empty rows, and full empty columns. You can't put icons and widgets in places with uneven spacing because of the invisible grid limitation, so keep that in mind.

You can put a single app in the middle of a page, have a row of apps at the top and a row of apps at the bottom, create a column of apps, and more. Apple created this design to allow you to place apps and widgets around wallpapers and arrange them into more useful layouts.

Here's how to move your icons:
  1. Long press on the Home Screen or on an app page to initiate wiggle mode.
  2. Move apps into the desired positions.
  3. Tap on done.
Increase Icon Size

You can make your app icons bigger in iOS 18 by removing the app names. With app names in place, Apple needs space to display them, but removing them opens up a lot of area for a larger icon and folder size. Changing the app size does not change the number of apps that are visible, it simply removes text and uses up that empty space.

hide-app-labels-home-screen-ios-18.jpg

With larger icons, you still get a maximum of six icon rows with four icons each, the same that you're limited to when icon names are turned on. To change icon size, follow these steps:
  1. Long press on the Home Screen or an app page.
  2. Tap on "Edit."
  3. Tap on "Customize."
  4. Choose Small to turn on app names, or Large to turn them off.
Note that this setting is universal, so you cannot have small icons on one app page and large icons on a different app page.

Change Widget Size

You can change the size of widgets directly from the Home Screen without having to go into the customization options. Widgets now have a white rounded bar in the corner, which you can drag to make them larger or smaller.

ios-18-resize-widgets.jpg

  1. Long press on the Home Screen or an app page to get into wiggle mode.
  2. Use a finger to resize the widget to be smaller or larger.
You are limited to the minimum and maximum size available with any given widget. For example, the Battery widget can be the size of four app icons, six horizontal app icons in two rows, or a square shape that's four icons wide by four icons tall. When you resize the Battery widget, you are limited to those size options, but you don't need to go into the full widget settings to change the size.

Widgets are still added to your Home Screen and app pages in the same way, though some of the labeling has shifted. Long press and tap on "Edit," then choose the "Add Widget" option. It's one more tap than it was before due to the new customization options.

If an app has a widget, you can also long press on its icon to see widget options right there, turning the app's icon into a widget instead.

New Widgets

Apple added a new Health widget in iOS 18 that shows information from the new Vitals feature that's both in the Health app and on Apple Watch. It provides an overview of daily vitals or weekly vitals, plus there's also a new widget for cycle tracking.

ios-18-new-widgets.jpg

Vitals aggregates information from the Apple Watch to provide a daily readout of how your heart rate, sleep patterns, respiration, and blood oxygen change from day to day and week to week.

There is a new Journal widget as well, with options that provide a writing prompt that you can tap on to open up the app to answer. You can also select a Streaks widget that keeps track of how many days in a row you've used the Journal app.

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

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

Dark Mode Icons

Apple's built-in apps have both Light and Dark color options in iOS 18, which allows you to change the color of your icons when you have Dark Mode turned on. The Dark icons are all redesigned with a black background rather than a white or colored background, which makes them blend in better with the Dark Mode setting.

ios-18-dark-mode-icons.jpg

You can turn on Dark icons independently of having Dark Mode enabled, so you can leave Light mode on while using the Dark icon option. You can also set icons to an automatic mode, which means they'll change color depending on whether Dark Mode or Light Mode is active.

Right now, it's only Apple's apps that have a Dark option, but third-party developers will presumably also be able to include two color options for their icons when iOS 18 launches.

To go along with the Dark Mode icons, Apple also introduced a toggle that makes your wallpaper darker. Here's how to change your icon and wallpaper color:
  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, an option described below. This is also the interface used to change app icon size, and darken your wallpaper (the sun icon).
The wallpaper option makes your chosen wallpaper a bit darker in color, dimming bright shades when enabled. Tapping toggles Light... Click here to read rest of article

Article Link: iOS 18: 10 New Home Screen and Lock Screen Features
 

arthurgd3

macrumors newbie
May 14, 2019
24
101
Los Angeles
Funny how reading about these "new" features in iOS 18 as a longtime Android user only shows how behind iOS has been for years. It's great for life long iOS users who have never been exposed to these features but it's just funny how these so-called "new" features get spun in the press as some kind of revelation when Apple is finally onboard with what the rest of the industry has been doing for years.
 

steve09090

macrumors 68020
Aug 12, 2008
2,327
4,434
Funny how reading about these "new" features in iOS 18 as a longtime Android user only shows how behind iOS has been for years. It's great for life long iOS users who have never been exposed to these features but it's just funny how these so-called "new" features get spun in the press as some kind of revelation when Apple is finally onboard with what the rest of the industry has been doing for years.
iOS may be behind Android for customisation. iOS is also years behind Android for stealing data. Or could be said that Android is years behind in privacy. Privacy versus pretty icons… hmmmm. I know where I would want my development to go.
 

Fluffyk

macrumors newbie
May 10, 2024
4
8
Can you hide app labels with standard sized icons? In the first beta you can’t.
 

sgreen314

macrumors member
Aug 22, 2013
37
50
Since dark mode has been a thing, I’ve been confused on why the icons didn’t go dark as well. Doesn’t matter how dark a background is if a good portion of your screen is still relatively bright. Better late than never though.
 

noraa

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2003
553
1,252
Funny how reading about these "new" features in iOS 18 as a longtime Android user only shows how behind iOS has been for years. It's great for life long iOS users who have never been exposed to these features but it's just funny how these so-called "new" features get spun in the press as some kind of revelation when Apple is finally onboard with what the rest of the industry has been doing for years.
As if this is the only thing Apple updated in iOS 18…

Plus, nobody is acting like this is a revelation, just something that is nice to have.

Finally, Apple is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Many have been clamoring for this ability to customize for years. Apple finally introduces it, and then we’ve got people like you complaining that “Android has been able to do this for years, what took so long!?” And if Apple hadn’t introduced the feature, you’d be complaining that “Android had been able to do this for years, why can’t I on my iPhone!?”
 

BGPL

macrumors 6502a
May 4, 2016
964
2,627
California
Allow users to change the number of icons per row. Iconoclasm allowed us to do this some 15 years ago. I don't understand why you can change the dock size on a Mac but you can't change the app icon size on the iPhone to allow for more apps per row. I understand it looks "cluttered" and some folks might "peck" the wrong app, but let the users worry about that. It would be glorious to have 35 apps on my home screen.
 
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tomchr9

macrumors member
Apr 10, 2024
67
139
Rainbow Time, really? Christ, at least give us the ability to customize separate colors for hours and minutes and a blinking colon in sync with seconds.



Here is a few suggestions:
  • remove App Library
  • icon name fade out
  • dark mode clock icon with dead-beat seconds
  • Split screen
  • Freely movable PiP
  • Status bar fade out, i.e. fade out of clock and mobile, wifi and battery symbols
 
Last edited:

kerr

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2010
852
1,561
Australia
Can anyone confirm whether icons within folders can be placed anywhere, or do they still default to the top left?
 

scorpio vega

Suspended
May 3, 2023
1,448
1,834
Raleigh, NC
Funny how reading about these "new" features in iOS 18 as a longtime Android user only shows how behind iOS has been for years. It's great for life long iOS users who have never been exposed to these features but it's just funny how these so-called "new" features get spun in the press as some kind of revelation when Apple is finally onboard with what the rest of the industry has been doing for years.
Android is still a terrible os.
 
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