10 Cool iOS 18 features to check out and customize

Just installed iOS 18 on your iPhone? Read on for a look at some of the coolest features to test out and customize on your device including changing your app icon colors, customizing Control Center, replacing the flashlight and camera buttons, and more.

By Stacey Butler - Senior Staff Writer
6 Min Read

iOS 18 lets you personalize your iPhone experience like never before. There are new tools for arranging apps and widgets, changing your app icon colors, customizing Control Center, replacing the flashlight and camera buttons, and more. Apple has even made several of its individual apps newly customizable, like Photos.
Here’s how to customize your iPhone in iOS 18.

Cool iOS 18 features to customize

rearrange apps on iPhone Home Screen

From the earliest versions of iOS, the iPhone’s Home Screen has required apps to be placed on a strict grid. Want an app in the bottom corner? First you had to fill in all the space above it with other apps.

iOS 18 brings introduces much more freedom to the app grid. Now, you can leave empty space anywhere on the screen and put, say, just a couple apps or a single widget near the bottom of the screen. This can be especially nice when you have a wallpaper subject that you don’t want covered up by apps.

To rearrange icons, press on an app and hold, as ever. When a pop up menu appears, you can choose Edit Home Screen, or just wait for a moment longer.

In either case, all of the apps on your iPhone start wiggling and gain a minus-sign icon at top left. To move the apps around, you can again press and hold while it’s wiggling, and drag it wherever you want.

That now means to any position on the screen, or rather to any position in Apple’s invisible grid. Drag the app to any point and when you let go, it snaps to the nearest neat spot.

Customize the color of app icons on iPhone

iOS 18 allow you to radically transform the appearance of app icons on your Home Screen and App Library. You can make the normal app icons darker or wash out the original colors and superimpose a chosen tint. You can even use the dominant color of your wallpaper and add that to all the app icons!

In addition to reducing eye strain in dark environments, these new app customizations are also a delight for those who want to give their Home Screen a distinct look like no other.

1) Touch and hold an empty spot on your Home Screen until all apps start jiggling. You can also touch and hold an app icon and choose Edit Home Screen.
2) Tap the Edit button from the upper left corner of the screen and choose Customize.
3) A dock-like pane will appear at the bottom of the screen. From here, you can do one of the following:
Light: This will keep all your app icons and widgets in their normal appearance, irrespective of whether your device is in Dark Mode or Light Mode.
Dark: If you select this option, supported app icons and widgets will get a dark appearance.
Automatic: Select this option if you want app icons and widgets to change to Dark and Light Modes, depending on which mode your iPhone is in.
Tinted: If you want to remove all pop colors, tap Tinted and drag the sliders to add a desired color to all your app icons. The top slider allows you to pick a tint, while the bottom one is for adjusting its intensity. If you drag the bottom slider all the way to the left, it will make your app icons black & white.

In addition to selecting a color from the slider, you can tap the color picker tool and then drag it over one of the spots on your wallpaper to match the app icons to that color.

Furthermore, you can tap the sun icon and settle for a dark or light appearance. This is available in both Dark and Tinted styles.

Hide app and widget names on iPhone Home Screen

Hide app labels iOS 18

Jailbreak tweaks like nolabel and cleanlibrary have existed for a long time to remove app names on the Home Screen and App Library. But with iOS 18, Apple now offers a built-in way to remove apps, widgets, and folder names.

  1. Touch and hold an empty spot on your iPhone or iPad Home Screen until all apps start wiggling. Alternatively, you can tap and hold an app icon and choose Edit Home Screen.
  2. Tap the Edit button and select Customize.
  3. You will see two tabs: Small and Large. Tap Large, and all app icons will inflate in size, and their labels will hide.
  4. Tap outside the bottom dock-like area to return to your Home Screen with no app, widget, or folder names.

Now, if you go inside an app folder on your Home Screen, you will notice no app labels there.

Furthermore, if you swipe to App Library and enter a category, this won’t display the app names either. However, if you swipe down on the App Library screen to see all apps in alphabetical order, they will show the names there.

Progressive web apps or website shortcuts you add from Safari to your iPhone Home Screen will also hide their names.

customize Control Center

iOS 18 Control Center

Now every control in Control Center can be removed, rearranged, or resized

You still swipe down from the top right on iPhone to get Control Center in iOS 18, but after that, it’s a whole new design and how you edit has completely changed.

There was always a kind of mental disconnect between Control Center with its rows of icons, and the straight list of options for it in Settings. In Settings, you could drag an option up and down, but the result was the control moved up, down, left, or right depending on where it was.

That meant that you tended to drag up and down the list, then have to go into Control Center to really see the effect.

This has entirely gone in iOS 18. There is still a Control Center section in Settings, but now it’s got a single option to do with whether you can swipe down for it when you’re in an app.

You want that, and it’s the default, so you may never again bother going into the Settings for this — because everything you need is now in Control Center itself.

  1. From the Lock or Home Screen, swipe down from the top right corner of your screen
  2. You can stop on the first Control Center screen (Favorites) or do one longer continuous swipe down to access the new Music, Home, or Connectivity Control Center screens
  3. Tap the icon in the top left corner to add controls and customize (or long press in an empty space)
  4. Drag on the bold rounded corner of a control to make it larger or smaller
  5. When in edit mode, you can tap the dotted circle icon just below the Connectivity page to create a fifth or sixth Control Center page from scratch

Change Replace flashlight and camera buttons

ios 18 lock screen buttons

For the first time, the iPhone’s flashlight and camera buttons can be replaced on the Lock Screen. You can replace these controls with any of the variety of controls supported by Control Center, including third-party options.
You can still only have two Lock Screen buttons, but Apple does let you set different controls for different custom Lock Screens—a nice touch.

To set your own custom Lock screen controls in iOS 18:

  1. Long-press the Lock screen to edit it
  2. Swipe to the wallpaper that you want to edit and select ‘Customize’
  3. Tap in the lower-left or lower-right corner on the existing buttons
  4. Choose which controls you want to replace the flashlight and/or camera
  5. Select the new control button(s)

Customizing Apple’s apps to your liking

Customization doesn’t stop at system-wide tools. In several cases, even Apple’s individual apps have gained new customization powers.

  • Photos: The major redesign of Photos in iOS 18 brings powerful new abilities to customize nearly every aspect of the app, including what types of collections it displays, how your library is sorted and filtered, and more.
  • Reminders: Other than Reminders being integrated into the Calendar app, one of its other main iOS 18 updates is that you can reorder the sections in your Today list, such as moving overdue reminders to the bottom.
  • Fitness: Even the Fitness app is getting in on the customization game. Now you can modify the Summary screen to display only the data you want to see, whether that’s your Activity Rings, trainer tips, or any of the many other options.

Wrap-up

There once was a day when it seemed like Apple would never provide powerful customization options on the iPhone. The company’s opinionated designs that sought to serve all users were intended to provide a simpler, more elegant experience.
Whether you preferred those times or not, they are certainly gone and done with. iOS 18 makes your iPhone more personalized than ever, and I’m fascinated to see how users take advantage of its customization tools.
How do you plan to customize your iPhone? Are there any customization options still missing? Let us know in the comments.

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By Stacey Butler Senior Staff Writer
Stacey is a senior staff writer at GeeksModo and has been writing about Apple for nearly a decade. She covers all things Apple for GeeksModo, including iPhones, iPads and Mac. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, Stacey is often found hiking precarious landscapes or tinkering with a camera.
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