iOS 18 could bring a groundbreaking feature that will change the look of your iPhone

iOS 18 will make it easier than ever to completely customise your iPhone

iPhone 15 in pink product pic
(Image credit: Future)

From the very first iPhone, Apple has had pretty strong views on what you should and shouldn't be allowed to do when it comes to customising your iPhone – but in the last few iOS releases it's become a little more relaxed, with iOS 17 being the most personal iOS so far. And with iOS 18 you're going to get even more control over the way your iPhone looks.

With iOS 18, Apple will enable you to position icons pretty much anywhere on the Home Screen. And a new report says you'll be able to change the way they look too. That isn't just a cosmetic thing. It can be a productivity booster and time-saver too.

What customisation is coming in iOS 18?

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, his Apple sources tell him that iOS 18 will enable you not just to put icons anywhere without being stuck to a grid, but to recolour them too. 

That's a feature that you'll occasionally find in individual apps, often limited to more premium users, and if you've got lots of time you can do it in Shortcuts. But with iOS 18 it'll be simple and system-wide – so if you don't want Just Eat to be red or Uber to be black you'll be able to change their icons to suit. Or at least, that's the hope. Some icons are trademarked logos, so it's possible that the likes of McDonalds won't let you override them. It'll be interesting to see how Apple handles that.

That could make using your iPhone (and iPad; this is likely to come to iPadOS too) a little more convenient, because coloured icons can help with recognition or get in the way of it: for some reason most of my food-related apps are red, but so are some of my social ones. That often means opening the wrong folder when I want to open a specific app. By enabling me to change the colours, for example by making food apps green and social ones red, iOS would remove a little but common irritant. 

The move makes sense: when Apple introduced the Shortcuts app, which is a pretty powerful automation app, the most excitement appeared to be over using it to customise icons. So making that option much easier and available to everyone is a worthwhile improvement. We'll see how it works when Apple shows off iOS 18 at WWDC in June 2024, although iOS 18 won't launch in its final form until September.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).