10 Things You Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do in IOS 18

Here are some of the most useful things your iPhone can help you accomplish in iOS 18

By Emily Long - Staff Writer
6 Min Read

Apple’s iOS 18, unveiled on June 10 during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, is one of the biggest iOS upgrades in years.

From much-awaited features like RCS support in Messages to a redesign of the Photos app, there’s a lot of new stuff for users and developers alike to dig into. Apple said online that the next operating system will be available to the general public this fall.

If you want to take a closer look at some of things you’re iPhone can do in iOS 18 right now, here’s what you need to know.

What Can iOS 18 Do?

Search your call history

iOS 18 has added the ability to search your call history in the Phone app on your iPhone.

Long overdue, this feature let’s you find a recent phone call you’ve placed or received from the Phone app so that you aren’t forced to scroll through a lengthy call history list to find what you’re looking for.

  1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Recents.
  3. Tap Search.

Change Siri’s name

You can now have Siri respond when you call it by any name you like.

  1. Go to Settings, Accessibility
  2. Scroll down to Settings
  3. Tap Set up Vocal Shortcuts
  4. On the explanatory page that appears, tap Continue
  5. Enter Siri in the search bar
  6. From the three results you get, tap on the one just labelled "Siri"
  7. When prompted, type in the word you want to say, then tap Go
  8. Your iPhone will ask you to say this word three times
  9. When you see Action is Ready, tap Continue

Note that you can always turn this feature off again. Go back to the same section in Vocal Shortcuts, tap Edit, then delete whatever word you’ve set up.

Control iPhone with your eyes

Eye Tracking lets you navigate through the iPhone interface with only your eyes. The feature uses AI and the front-facing camera to determine where you are looking. It can be used to activate buttons, swipes, and other gestures.

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. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Accessibility
  3. Swipe down and choose Eye Tracking(under Physical And Motor)
  4. Tap the toggle to turn on Eye Tracking
  5. Follow the calibration process where you track a colored circle around the screen with your eyes

iOS 18 eye tracking feature

Dwell Control will automatically be turned on after completing the Eye Tracking setup.

With Dwell Control, maintaining your gaze still for a specified duration will perform the selected dwell action. To customize, go to Dwell Control settings within AssistiveTouch.

When AssistiveTouch is enabled (you should be prompted to connect Eye Tracking/Dwell and Assistive Touch), you can use Eye Tracking to lock your iPhone, go to the Home Screen, scroll, and more.

Engage more of the senses with Music Haptics

One new feature seeks to expand music from being a solely auditory experience to one that’s tactile as well. It’s a fascinating new capability called Music Haptics.

When Music Haptics is enabled, the iPhone’s Taptic Engine will play "taps, textures, and refined vibrations" that correspond to the audio of the music. The feature works across millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog.

This feature can provide a new way for the deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy music, but it’s also an innovative new way for anyone to experience their favorite songs.

Music Haptics can be activated from iOS 18’s Settings app under Accessibility ⇾ Music Haptics. There you’ll see an option to toggle the feature on, as well as the ability to test it out.

Schedule text messages

iOS 18 makes it easier than ever before to send timed messages to people so that you never have to be accused or forgetting someone’s Birthday or a wishing them a happy holiday.

Indeed, you can literally wake up on the first of the year and schedule out all your Happy Birthday messages before they come, and your iPhone will automatically send those messages on the time and date you designate.

I’ve been waiting for this feature to come in a stock iOS update for a very long time. Here’s how it works:

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Write your message.
  3. Tap the circular plus button then select More.
  4. Next, select Send Later.
  5. Choose a date and time_** to schedule the message
  6. Tap the send button (up arrow) to set the scheduled message

iMessage Send Later iOS 18

After you set a scheduled message, it will show up on your screen in the thread with a dotted-line bubble.

Tap Edit if you’d like to change the scheduled date/time, want to send it now, or delete the scheduled message.

Remove or change the flashlight and camera buttons on your iPhone Lock Screen

Apple added dedicated controls for the flashlight and camera to its Face ID-equipped models in iOS 12, and they’ve stayed there, unmovable and unchangeable, ever since.

While the flashlight is helpful for many folks, some find it too easy to activate accidentally. On the other hand, the camera button has always been somewhat redundant since you can swipe to the right of your Lock Screen to do the same thing.

The good news is that Apple has finally seen the light, and iOS 18 allows these two buttons to be used for other purposes — or even removed entirely if you’d prefer a cleaner Lock Screen. Here’s how:

  1. Wake up your iPhone, make sure Face ID unlocks your phone, and then touch and hold somewhere on the Lock Screen. You can also go inside your iPhone, swipe down to get to the Notification Center, and then touch and hold to enter editing mode.
  2. Tap Customize.
  3. Select Lock Screen.
  4. To remove one or both of these icons, tap the minus button and then hit Done from the upper right corner.
  5. To change these toggles to something else, tap the minus button and then tap the plus icon. Now, select one of the available actions and tap Done.

ios 18 lock screen buttons

Lock individual apps

iOS 18 includes a dedicated option to lock and even hide individual apps even when the iPhone itself is already unlocked.

If someone using your iPhone tries to open an app that you have manually locked using the following method, they will see a popup informing them that it can’t be accessed without secondary authentication via Face ID (or Touch ID on the iPhone SE). Here’s how it’s done:

  1. On your Home Screen, press and hold on the icon for the app that you want to lock.
  2. Tap Require Face ID (or Touch ID).
  3. Tap Require Face ID (or Touch ID) to confirm.

Lock app iOS 18

See Calculator history

If you use the Calculator app on your iPhone frequently, you might want to see your previous calculations for reference or verification. Luckily, iOS 18 now lets you view the history of your calculations. This is such a basic feature to have but it took Apple more than 16 years to add it to its stock Calculator app.

  1. Launch the Calculator app.
  2. Tap the Menu (three vertical dots with vertical line) button located in the top left corner of the screen.
  3. Now, the full calculator history will be visible.
  4. To delete the calculator history, tap Edit, select the calculation, and tap the Delete (no. of calculation) button at the bottom left corner.
  5. Alternatively, you can tap the Delete All button to erase the complete calculator history.

Hide Home Screen app icon labels

As part of its Home Screen customization overhaul, iOS 18 lets iPhone users hide the labels on app icons for a cleaner look. Here’s how to do it:

  1. On the Home Screen, press and hold on an empty area.
  2. Tap Edit in the top-left corner.
  3. Tap Customize.
  4. In the customization menu that appears, tap the Large button.
  5. Tap anywhere on the Home Screen to save your preference.

Hide app labels iOS 18

Format text and add Effects in Messages app

iOS 18 allow users to format text they type in the messaging field of the native Messages app for the first time.

This means that when you’re sending iMessages, you can bold, italicize, strike, or underline text that you send to other people, and this helps you get your point across more easily. In addition, there are all-new text effects that can animate words within an iMessage, including Big, Small, Shake, Nod, Explode, Ripple, Bloom, and Jitter. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to a conversation inside the Messages app on your iPhone.
  2. Type your message.
  3. Now, tap the format icon above the keyboard. You can also select a word or sentence and choose Text Effects from the menu strip.
  4. Now, choose a text formatting style.
    • B: Bold
    • I: Italics
    • U: Underline
    • S: Strikethrough
    • Text effects: Pick one of the eight options. All of these add animated effects to your text except for Big and Small.
  5. Hit the blue arrow button to send your message with the added text formatting.

iOS 18 format text iMessage
iOS 18 Text Effects iMessage

Note that you can combine bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough and apply them all to a selected text. However, you cannot combine these four styles with one of the eight text effects.

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By Emily Long Staff Writer
Emily is a staff writer at GeeksModo, and is interested in all things Apple. This includes its best products such as the iPad, iPhone, Mac, AirPods, and Apple Watch. When she’s not tinkering with the latest Apple gear, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures on her Sony A7 and exploring the great outdoors.
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