iOS 18 – All New CUSTOMIZATION Features

Get ready to customize your iPhone like never before in iOS 18.

By Kevin Hollington - 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.

Customize Home Screen

rearrange apps on iPhone Home Screen

With iOS 18, Apple finally allows you to place apps anywhere you want on the home screen. I mean, without any worry of left-aligned stacking and filling in negative spaces! I’ve missed this customizability, especially on Pro Max and Plus series iPhones because it’s hard to reach the top of their large screens with my thumb while I’m holding the device. Like Android, iOS now allows you to place apps wherever you want — no more rigid grid.

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

To display Control Center, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen. You’ll notice that Control Center is now separated into three different screens. The first screen displays the core controls, the second screen shows the audio player and related settings, and the third has connectivity options. Swipe up or down to move from one screen to another, or tap one of the three icons on the right to jump to a specific one.

You can move any of the current controls on the first screen. To start, tap the plus icon in the upper-left corner to segue to edit mode. Notice that the controls all have a border around them with the familiar minus sign at the top. Drag and drop each control to a new spot until you’ve reorganized them all. Swipe up on the screen when you’re done.

After tapping the plus icon, some controls sport a gray curved handle in the lower-right corner. This means you can resize the control’s icon. Drag the handle and move it up, down, or diagonally. Release it when the icon is the size you wish.

Next, you can directly delete a control you don’t need or want. With the icons in edit mode, tap the minus sign for the icon you want to remove. When the icon is deleted, the surrounding icons should move to fill up the gap.

You can easily add a control to any screen that has available space. Pick a screen with some empty space at the bottom. After tapping the plus icon, tap the command for "Add a Control." Browse the screens of accessible controls until you find the one you want to add. You can also look for a specific control by name through the Search field at the top. Tap the control, and it should appear in the available space, where you can move or resize it if you wish.

If the current screens are already filled with icons, you can set up additional screens to hold more controls. Swipe down to the last screen, which shouldn’t have any free space. Tap the plus icon and then tap "Add a Control." Again, browse or search for the control you wish to add. Tap that control, and it should appear in a new screen. You can continue adding more controls to the new screen this way. You can create as many as 15 screens, though you’ll probably want to stop before you reach that number.

Customize lock screen

ios 18 lock screen buttons

The customizations extend to the lock screen. You can now replace the lock screen icons of Torch/Flashlight and Camera with other apps, so they are just one swipe away from the lock screen.

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 Kevin Hollington Staff Writer
Kevin Hollington is a seasoned tech journalist based in Los Angeles with a penchant for all things Apple. He started writing about Apple products in 2007 and it’s been a love affair ever since. He has spent over a decade testing and writing about iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple products. In his spare time, he likes nothing more than catching up with the latest news and sports podcasts on the beach.
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