IOS 18 could deliver the iPhone and iPad upgrade you’ve been waiting for

The next generation of iOS will make your iPhone or iPad more you

iOS 17 montage
(Image credit: Apple)

The next generation of Apple's software for iPhones and iPads, iOS/iPadOS 18, is expected to be a big upgrade over iOS 17 (pictured above) with lots of AI-powered improvements - Apple is reportedly spending serious amounts of money on the new OS. But the most useful improvement may be a bit lower-tech and a lot more useful. 

According to Mark Gurman at, the iOS 18 and iPadOS Home Screen will be "more customizable"; MacRumors has since spoken to "sources familiar with the matter" who say that in particular you'll have more flexibility with icon placement. 

What new features will be in iOS 18?

According to MacRumors' sources, your app icons will still be locked to an invisible grid but you'll have much more control over how to arrange them – so for example you may be able to insert blank spaces, blank rows and blank columns instead of the current system where the icons all slide together. 

That would be particularly useful if you use photos for your Home Screen background, because at the moment if an app icon obscures something you'd like to see – such as your loved one's face – the only way around it is to edit the image.

Apple hasn't exactly been enthusiastic about customisation, something Android users have taken for granted for years, but its attitude thawed a bit with iOS 16 and its groundbreaking – for Apple – features such as being able to slightly change the typeface on your clock display. At the moment, though, full customisation is still the job of third party apps such as Widgetsmith rather than something you can do in the operating system.

MacRumors doesn't share more details but says that iOS 18 could feature the "biggest Home Screen revamp in several years". If that's the case it'll arrive alongside other new features including improved Siri with generative AI, RCS support in Messages and possibly a design revamp too: we've previously heard that iOS 18 may share some of its design language with the visionOS currently used in the Vision Pro

iOS 18 will be unveiled at the annual WWDC conference, which will take place in June 2024.

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; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).