Apple WWDC 2024: iOS 18 announced with redesigned Photos and Messages, Hidden Apps folder, and more

  • iOS 18 has been officially unveiled.
  • It brings satellite connectivity and RCS to Messages, customisable app icons, and more.
  • iOS 18 will be released to compatible iPhones later this year. 

Apple today unveiled iOS 18 at the Worldwide Developer Conference. iOS 18 is the latest software update for iPhones and it will be released later this year. This year Apple has mostly focused on customisation for iOS apps. Ahead of the official release, Apple unveiled the new iOS 18 features coming this year to iPhones. Here’s a look at what’s new for iPhones. 

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iOS 18 features

This time Apple has added more customisations for existing features and apps on iOS 18. Starting with app icons and widgets, you can now drag and move several apps at the same time. There’s a new look for app icons in dark mode with customisations like changing the colour. It looks similar to Google’s Material You design.

Control Center has been redesigned with more customisation options. There’s now another space for the media controls and home controls that you can get to by swiping up from the Control Center.

iOS 18 brings more privacy to apps by allowing you to lock apps which require authentication to open them. If anyone tries opening the apps, they’ll need your Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode. Also, content of locked apps won’t appear in search, notifications and other places.

The Photos app is getting its biggest redesign ever in iOS 18. It has been unified into a single view with the photos grid on top and the library below. You also have months and years view at the bottom, and a filter button to search through different types of content. Apple has added ‘Collections’ that let you browse through photos and videos by topics like time, people, favourite memories, and new ones. ‘Recent Days’ organises photos from each day and these can be customised. 

  • Apple has also added a Hidden Apps folder so you can hide apps that you don’t want others to see on your iPhone. iOS 18 will also let you decide which contacts an app can see when you share it with them.
  • The Messages app is getting new features in iOS 18. You can now ‘Tapback’ with any emoji or sticker and schedule messages to send later. iOS 18 will also let you bold, Italicise, underline, or strikethrough messages. More text effects have been added like shake and nod.
  • A major update coming to iOS 18 is satellite connectivity. Even without cellular or internet connectivity, you can send iMessages and SMS via any satellite. You can even use features like emojis and Tapback with satellite support. Apple says all messages sent via satellite are end-to-end encrypted.
  • RCS (Rich Communication Services) is coming to iOS 18, which will enable cross-platform messaging with Android phones as a replacement to SMS. RCS is just like iMessage, but will now be possible with Android phones.
  • Apple is also finally adding a ‘Game Mode’ to iPhones with iOS 18. This gaming mode will offer a more immersive experience by minimising background activity and improving responsiveness with AirPods and controllers.
  • iOS 18 adds more features like ‘Tap to Cash’ to Apple Wallet, which will let you pay someone by just holding your iPhones together. Other apps like Mail and Maps are also getting new features in iOS 18.