One of iPhone's upcoming new features is subtle but very welcome

iOS 18 will bring one of our favourite Mac features to help personalise your iPhone

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

iOS 18 is bringing one of the Mac's more subtle features to your iPhone: dynamic wallpapers.

Dynamic wallpapers change colour as the day progresses.

The third developer beta of iOS 18 has been released, and it introduces some changes that we'll see on our iPhones when the final version comes out later this year. One of the most welcome changes is also one of the most subtle: dynamic wallpaper.

Dynamic wallpaper is wallpaper that changes over the course of the day, with warmer tones during the sunlight hours and cooler ones in the evening. That means you effectively get the same wallpaper in a range of different colours that change automatically as the day progresses.

What can you customise in iOS 18?

Dynamic Wallpaper is one of several new customisation features coming to iOS 18.

It's a feature we've used on the Mac for a few years now – you can find it on your Mac under System Settings > Wallpaper if you're running macOS Sonoma – and on iPhone it's separate from both light and dark mode wallpapers, and from the live wallpapers that enable your iPhone to display animations such as the current weather. 

One of the most dramatic new customisation options is the ability to tint your Home Screen icons and place them wherever you like; on iOS 17 you're stuck to the same grid as before, but with iOS 18 you'll be able to leave spaces so you can do things like have vertical icon strips or something more random. 

iOS 18 is currently in its third developer beta, and that isn't recommended for ordinary users to install: it's designed to be an early preview for app developers, not something for the rest of us to mess around with.

However, the official public beta has been promised for a July release and that's a much safer option. You still shouldn't install it on your everyday iPhone because beta software by its very nature is unfinished, but it's much closer to the final release and should be more stable too.

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).