10 Best iOS 18 Features You Should Check Out

Here are the best iOS 18 features you need to know about

By Moses Johnson - Managing Editor
7 Min Read

The new iOS 18 software announced at WWDC 2024 brings lots of new features to your iPhone. You just need the iPhone XS/iPhone XR or a newer iPhone to try it. For more see our iOS 18 compatible devices guide.

So what’s new in iOS 18? The tech giant announced the iOS 18 will include a lot of new features, like more ways to customize your home screen, updates to the Messages app and much more.

iOS 18 is in developer beta now and anyone can try it, and the iOS 18 public beta will be available in July before its official launch in September. Here are the best iOS 18 features you need to know about.

Best iOS 17 features

New eye tracking for iPhone

It’s not just the Apple Vision Pro that supports eye tracking. Thanks to iOS 18, this feature is available for iPhone (and iPad) users, too.

This feature is useful for anyone who cannot use the iPhone with their hands. Plus, it’s also a fascinating perk to have if you’d like to have a bit of fun with your iPhone.

This feature uses the FaceID camera. Of course, it likely won’t be as sophisticated as the eye-tracking system on the Apple Vision Pro, but it’s useful if you need a hands-free navigation experience.

you can use Eye Tracking to lock your iPhone, go to the Home Screen, scroll, and more.

Setting up the Eye Tracking feature is easy. To get the best results, Apple recommends setting up Eye Tracking with your iPhone on a stable surface roughly 1.5 feet away from your face.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap on Accessibility.
  3. Tap on Eye Tracking.
  4. Toggle on **"Eye Tracking," **ensuring the slider turns green.
  5. You will then get a prompt that says, "Follow the dot with your eyes as it moves around the screen."
  6. Follow the dots on the screen with your eyes until you get a white checkmark.

Now youll be able to navigate your iPhone with your gaze. When you’re ready to select something, all you need to do is stare at it for a few seconds.

change iPhone app colors and theme

For more than a decade, it’s taken jailbreaking or other workarounds to customize iPhone apps with a unique look. Now, iOS 18 includes the ability to change iPhone app colors and more natively. Here’s how:

  1. From the Home Screen, press and hold in an empty area
  2. Tap Edit in the top left corner
  3. Now pick Customize
  4. Choose between Automatic, Dark, Light, and Tinted
  5. You can also pick between small (default) and large app icons
  6. Choosing tinted lets you change all iPhone app colors to a single choice.

Hide and Lock Apps

Want to keep an app away from prying eyes? You could bury it in an unrelated or boring folder, but iOS 18 will do you one better and let you hide it in a private Hidden folder that’s only accessible via Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.

If someone is using your phone and you’ve locked an app, when they try to open that app, they’ll see a popup that says it can’t be accessed without secondary authentication.

To hide an app, long press the app’s icon and choose Hide and Require Face ID. The app will also instantly disappear from your Home Screen and your App Library.

Then, how can you find these hidden apps? If you scroll over to yoru App Library, you’ll see a new Hidden folder at the bottom. This won’t show anything until you tap on it, at which point you’ll need to authenticate with either the Face ID or Touch ID to open it and see all your hidden apps.

To stop hiding an app, press and hold on the app icon and choose Don’t Require Face ID.

If hiding apps a bit much, you can just lock them with the Face ID or Touch ID instead, which will keep them on your Home Screen and in search, but stop others from opening them.

To lock an app, long press an app icon and choose Require Face ID. From the new popup, choose Require Face ID again, and the app will be locked.

To stop locking an app, press and hold on the app icon and choose Don’t Require Face ID.

Schedule Messages With Send Later

The Messages app on iOS 18 lets you schedule messages with the Send Later feature. This is a feature iMessage users have requested for years, so I’m glad Apple finally added it.

  1. Open the Messages app and open a conversation or start a new one.
  2. Type your message.
  3. Tap the Plus icon, and then tap More.
  4. Tap Send Later.
  5. Use the day, hour, and minute sliders to select when you’d like your message to be sent automatically.
  6. Tap the upward arrow to schedule your message. The message will then get stored on the device, ready to be sent at a later time.

Add Your Favorite Shortcuts To Lock Screen

For years users were limited to having the Torch and Camera shortcuts on their iPhone’s lock screen. That changes with iOS 18 which now allows them to replace those buttons with their favorite shortcuts.

Now users can choose from a wide variety of shortcuts. They can add shortcuts for the Calculator, a Shortcut from the Shortcuts app, Magnifier, Translate, Home, Timer, and much more.

Perhaps the most useful shortcut that you can add to your lock screen is ‘Open App’ which lets you quickly launch any app of your choice right from the lock screen.

Replacing Lock Screen shortcuts with your desired shortcuts is easy. Just follow the steps below to add your favorite shortcut to the Lock Screen in iOS 18.

  1. Lock your iPhone to access the Lock Screen.
  2. Long press on the lock screen to access the Collections screen and then tap on the Customize option.
  3. From the Customize Wallpaper screen tap on Lock Screen Preview.
  4. Next tap on the ‘-‘ button to remove the existing shortcut.
  5. Then tap on the ‘ ’ button to access the Controls menu.
  6. Find and add the shortcut that you want to add to your lock screen.
  7. When done finally tap on the Done button from the top of the screen to save the changes.

Highlight Text in Notes

iOS 18 supports colors for typed text for the first time, providing an option to add new hues to text.

Whether you’re a student color-coding study notes, a professional marking up important document details, or simply someone who enjoys adding a personal touch to your digital reminders, highlighting brings a new level of functionality.

Apple offers five colors, including purple, pink, orange, mint, and blue.

  1. **Open the Notes app on your iPhone.

  2. Select the text (or pieces of text) that you need to highlight–you can use different colors in one sentence.

  3. Tap the formatting interface button (Aa) above the keyboard.

  4. Select the color palette icon on the right side of the screen. Scroll through the drop-down menu and choose between the available colors (e.g., purple, pink, orange, mint, and blue).

New Text Effects in Messages

You’ve long been able to add birthday balloons and other effects to Messages, but in iOS 18 your very words can shake, rattle, and explode.

The new feature is called Text Effects and you apply your choice of its options after you’ve written a message, but not yet sent it. Unlike the new Check In or Send Later options, though, Text Effects are not a separate app.

Instead of having to tap the plus sign and then find a Text Effects Messages app, you just highlight the text you want to change. A regular iOS pop up appears with the familiar options for bold or italic, but also now with Text Effects.

First select some text, then tap on the pop-up control’s arrows until you get to Text Effects

When you have it, though, you can tap and see a range of eight effects options. They replace the keyboard and are shown as large buttons that are labelled with the effect you want. At present, the options are:

  • Big
  • Small
  • Shake
  • Nod
  • Explode
  • Ripple
  • Bloom
  • Jitter

Tap the one you want, and that effect is applied to the text you highlighted in your message. You’ll now see that effect in place in your message and if you’re happy with it, you can now tap the send button.

You can apply as many effects to different parts of your message as you want, and iOS 18 will rotate through previewing each one

If you aren’t happy with it, the eight options still remain on screen so you can try another one.

Siri Interruptions

iOS 18 lets you interrupt Siri by simply saying the activation word. This lets you quickly get Siri’s attention without waiting for her to finish speaking. Here’s how to enable this feature:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Siri.
  4. Turn on the switch next to Require “Siri” For Interruptions.

Sound Actions

Sound actions is a cool iOS 18 feature that lets you trigger different features in iOS or even run a Shortcut. For example, accessing the Control Center by swiping down on the screen isn’t the most convenient gesture. We can launch the Control Center with Sound Actions by making an "ooo" sound.

Sound Actions allows you to make sounds to perform actions such as the following:

  • Launch the App Switcher
  • Open Flashlight
  • Lock Rotation
  • Lock the Screen
  • Access Control Center
  • Access Notification Center
  • Adjust the volume
  • Take a screenshot
  • Scroll up or down
  • Activate Siri

Here’s how to set up Sound Actions:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap "Accessibility"
  3. Select Touch
  4. Select "Sound Actions”
  5. Tap a sound, then assign an action to it.
  6. You can also tap Practice to practice sounds before assigning one to an action

New power off button

Have you ever forgotten how to turn off your iPhone? You’re not the only one. It might seem silly needing to Google search how to turn your device off, but plenty of people do it.

But Apple has made a change in iOS 18 that makes this problem a thing of the past.

One of iOS 18’s tentpole features is a new Control Center that puts a lot more capabilities at your fingertips.

An unsung addition to the new Control Center is a power button. All you need to do is access the newly updated Control Center by swiping down from the top right corner of the display. Youll see a power button in the top-right corner. Press that button, and the standard power slider will appear on screen so you can turn off your iPhone.

More on iOS 18:

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By Moses Johnson Managing Editor
Moses Johnson is the Editorial Director of GeeksModo.com, who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. Moses is commonly referred to online as The Professor, with decades of experience in tech under his belt.
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