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Apple Debuts iOS 18 – New Customization Apps, Big Redesign of Photos App, Apple Intelligence, More

Apple Debuts iOS 18 – New Customization Apps, Big Redesign of Photos App, Apple Intelligence, More

Apple today previewed iOS 18, a massive update to its iPhone operating system. The upcoming release brings the largest redesign of the Photos app, messaging via satellite, new mailbox management features for the Mail app, and much, much more. iPhone users will be able to rearrange apps and widgets in any open space on the iOS 18 Home Screen, customize the buttons that appear on the Lock Screen, and more.

iOS 18 also introduces Apple Intelligence, the artificial intelligence system that will be available in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia. Apple Intelligence is built with privacy in mind, and it can understand and create text and images, draw from personal context, and simplify and accelerate daily tasks.

“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.”

Customization and Capability

iOS 18 brings new customization features to the iPhone. The updated operating system offers new ways to customize the Home Screen, Lock Screen, and Control Center. Users will be able to arrange apps and widgets in any open space on the Home Screen. App icons and widgets can be customized with a dark or tinted effect, and users can make them appear larger.

Control Center gains new levels of customization and flexibility. The redesign delivers quick access to new groups of a user’s most-utilized controls, such as media playback, Home controls, and connectivity, as well as the ability to easily swipe between each. Users can now add controls from supported third-party apps into Control Center. The new controls gallery offers a full set of available options, and users can customize the layout of the controls, including the ability to adjust them to a favored size and create new groups of controls.

Users can now switch the controls at the bottom of the Lock Screen for the first time ever. Users can choose from options available in the controls gallery or remove the controls entirely. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro MaxAction button can be used to quickly invoke controls available in the gallery.

Photos New Collections, Unified View, More

The Photos app receives its biggest ever-redesign in iOS 18. as a simplified, single view displays a familiar grid, allowing users to browse by themes without organizing photos into albums. Collections can also be pinned, and a new carousel view that “presents highlights that update each day and feature favorite people, pets, places, and more.”

Autoplaying of content brings libraries to life, users can organize collections, pin collections to access frequently, and more.


iMessage’s all-new text effects amplify any letter, word, phrase, or emoji with dynamic, animated appearances. Users can add formatting like bold, underline, italics, and strikethrough. Tapbacks can expand to include an emoji or sticker, and now users can now compose a message, scheduling it to send it at a later time.

The Messages app now supports RCS for richer media and more reliable group messaging compared to SMS and MMS. Messages via satellite allow users to send messages when cellular and Wi-Fi connections aren’t available. Messages via satellite automatically prompts users to connect to their nearest satellite right from the Messages app. Dynamic Island displays when the iPhone is connected to a satellite. iMessages sent via satellite are end-to-end encrypted, just like normal iMessages.


New ways for users to manage their inboxes and stay up to date are on the way later this year. On-device categorization organizes and sorts incoming email into Primary for personal and time-sensitive emails, Transactions for confirmations and receipts, Updates for news and social notifications, and Promotions for marketing emails and coupons. A new digest view will pull together all of the relevant emails from a business, allowing users to quickly scan for important messages.


Safari gets several new features in iOS 18, including a new and easier way to discover information on the web with Highlights and a redesigned Reader experience. Safari uses machine learning to display key information about a webpage. Reader has been redesigned to offer more ways to enjoy articles without distraction, including summaries and table of contents for longer articles.

New Passwords App

The iOS 18 new Passwords app brings improved handling of users’ passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and verification codes. The app also alerts users about easily guessed passwords, when passwords have been used multiple times, and passwords that appear in known data leaks.

New iOS Privacy Features

There are several new privacy features in iOS 18, including tools to manage who can see apps, how contacts are shared, and how the iPhone connects to accessories. Users can now lock an app, hide an app, movie apps to locked and hidden folders, and more.  When an app is locked or hidden, content like messages or emails inside the app are hidden from search, notifications, and other locations across the system.

iOS 18 users can choose to share only specific contacts with an app. Developers will now have a way to connect third-party accessories with an iPhone without letting an app see all the other devices on a user’s network. This keeps users’ devices private and makes pairing seamless.

Other iOS 18 Features

Additional features in iOS 18 include: 

  • In Apple Maps, users can browse thousands of hikes across national parks in the United States and easily create their own custom walking routes, which they can access offline. Maps users can also save their favorite national park hikes, custom walking routes, and locations to an all-new Places Library and add personal notes about each spot.
  • Game Mode enhances the gaming experience with more consistent frame rates, especially during long play sessions, and makes wireless accessories like AirPods and game controllers incredibly responsive.
  • Users get new ways to pay with Apple Pay, including the ability to redeem rewards and access installments from their eligible credit or debit cards.5 With Tap to Cash, users can send and receive Apple Cash by simply holding two iPhone devices together.6 Tickets in Apple Wallet bring a richer experience for fans, putting key event information like stadium details, recommended Apple Music playlists, and more at their fingertips.7
  • SharePlay with Apple Music allows even more users to share control of music playing from HomePod, Apple TV, or any Bluetooth-enabled speaker, making listening together more fun and engaging.
  • The AirPods experience gets even more personal, private, and convenient with Siri Interactions, allowing AirPods Pro (2nd generation) users to simply nod their head yes or gently shake their head no to respond to Siri announcements. For even clearer call quality, Voice Isolation comes to AirPods Pro, ensuring the caller’s voice is heard in loud or windy environments. AirPods updates also provide the best wireless audio latency Apple has ever delivered for mobile gaming, and add Personalized Spatial Audio for even more immersive gameplay.
  • In the Notes app, formulas and equations entered while typing are solved instantly with Math Notes. New collapsible sections and highlighting make it easier to emphasize what’s important.
  • In Journal, an all-new insights view helps users keep track of their journaling goals, and the ability to search and sort entries makes it easy to enjoy past memories. Time spent journaling can be saved as mindful minutes in the Health app, and users can log their state of mind right in Journal. A Journal widget is now available for users to quickly start an entry from the Home Screen or Lock Screen, audio recordings are automatically transcribed, and users can export and print journal entries.
  • Calendar becomes even more helpful by showing both events and tasks from Reminders. Users can create, edit, and complete reminders right from Calendar, and the updated month view provides an overview of events and tasks at a glance.
  • In the Health app, Medical ID has been redesigned to make it even easier for first responders to find the most important information in an emergency. The Health app can help users better understand their data during pregnancy by making adjustments and recommendations to reflect changes in their physical and mental health.
  • Emergency SOS Live Video allows users to share context through streaming video and recorded media. In the middle of an emergency call, participating emergency dispatchers can send a request for a user to share live video or media from the user’s camera roll over a secure connection, making it easier and faster to get help.
  • The Home app introduces guest access, providing users with easy ways to grant guests control of select smart home accessories, set schedules for when guests can access the home, and more. For an effortless home entry experience, hands-free unlock with home keys leverages Ultra Wideband technology to allow users to instantly open supported entry locks as soon as they are six feet away from their door. With convenient updates to the Energy category, the Home app makes it easier for eligible users to access, understand, and make more informed decisions about their home electricity use.
  • Accessibility updates include Eye Tracking, a built-in option for navigating the iPhone with just eyes; Music Haptics, a new way for users who are deaf or hard of hearing to experience music using the Taptic Engine in iPhone; and Vocal Shortcuts that enable users to perform tasks by making a custom sound.

The developer beta of iOS 18 is available through the Apple Developer Program at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta will be available through the Apple Beta Software Program next month at beta.apple.com. iOS 18 will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone Xs and later. Apple Intelligence will be available in beta on iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and iPad and Mac with M1 and later, with Siri and device language set to U.S. English, as part of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia this fall.