6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

With iOS 18 on the horizon, my fingers are officially crossed.

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

Key Takeaways

  • Apple's iOS has come a long way over the years.
  • The operating system overall is mature and feature-rich.
  • With that being said, there's still always room for improvement.

It’s no secret that we’ve come a long way since that first, fateful 1.0 release of iOS (née iPhone OS) back in 2007. This first version of the now-ubiquitous operating system came hand-in-hand with the release of the original iPhone.

“Now, software on mobile phones, it’s like baby software. It’s not so powerful. And today, we’re going show you a software breakthrough, software that’s at least 5 years ahead of what’s on any other phone. Now how do we do this? Well, we start with a strong foundation. iPhone runs OS X.” Those were the words of Steve Jobs, proclaimed in front of a roaring MacWorld keynote crowd during the launch of the first generation of iPhone.

Apple made the wise decision to leverage the underpinnings of its existing Mac software, giving its phone a competitive advantage over existing models on the market. Jobs highlighted the multitasking, networking, power management, and security prowess inherited by the iPhone.

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

This same original version of software that launched the iPhone didn’t have an app store. It also didn’t have copy and paste functionality, and didn’t even offer support for wallpapers.

The company rapidly iterated on its new platform, each year bolstering its capabilities to coincide with the year-on-year performance improvements that came alongside new iPhone releases.

Today, iOS is a mature, highly polished operating system. While the era of rapid mobile innovation is now behind us, there’s always room for OS improvements. Apple's annual developer conference WWDC is right around the corner, kicking off June 10, where we expect Apple to preview iOS 18 along with the rest of Apple's software updates. With that in mind, here are 6 iPhone features, in no particular order, that I’d love to see in this year’s release of iOS 18.


6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

1 Customizable lock screen shortcuts

I can already access my camera in other ways, but why not my calculator?

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

This is a feature that’s been around on various flavors of Android for many years. It may seem like a small thing, but the ability to customize the shortcuts on a phone’s lock screen is truly handy. The iPhone currently provides a flashlight shortcut in the bottom left corner of the screen, as well as a camera shortcut on the bottom right side.

With there being so many different ways to launch the camera across the system already, I’d love to swap out the redundant shortcut button for something else I use regularly — such as the calculator. Quick access would benefit the accessibility of other utilities as well, including timers, alarms, and digital wallets.

2 Support for app icon packs

Who doesn’t love an extra sprinkle of personality?

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

Another Android mainstay, the ability to customize the look and feel of home screen icons would be a welcome addition to iOS. The appeal for such a feature is obvious, and there’s already a burgeoning market for the concept.

Existing, well-crafted icon packs such as Leather Icons and Vision iOS App Icons are already on the market, but Apple makes it overly difficult to apply them to the system. It requires making use of the Shortcuts app, which is a haphazard workaround. Apple could, and should, support the feature natively to empower us in customizing the interface to our liking.

3 A less intrusive and more customizable action center

Why is it so much work to rearrange my quick settings?

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

Apple’s action center is well-designed. So much so, in fact, that many Android OEMs have essentially emulated the experience on their custom interfaces. It could absolutely be improved upon, however.

I’d love the ability to rearrange more of the various shortcuts and quick settings to my liking, and to be able to do so on demand without having to jump into the settings app.

I’d also like the action center to be less intrusive when invoked. With most iPhone apps, multimedia is immediately paused when swiping down to access the quick settings menu. This is pretty jarring, and needlessly frustrating when I want to adjust media volume in real time.

While we’re at it, I’d love to be able to pin quick setting modules directly to my home screen as well. After all, they follow the same basic grid system that app icons also conform to.

4 Persistent notifications on the lock screen

Android figured this one out years ago

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

The single biggest growing pain I experience whenever I switch over to an iPhone from an Android, is management of notifications. There’s something about the way Android handles incoming alerts that seems to click better with me.

I particularly enjoy that on Android, notifications remain persistent on the lock screen until they are acted upon. A simple toggle to enable this behavior in iOS would please me, without upsetting those who prefer the Apple way of doing things.

There are tons of other improvements Apple could implement to bring its notification system up to speed with Android, but a simple 'stay on lockscreen' toggle would suffice for me.

5 Stage Manager, just like on the iPad

Let me take full advantage of my phone’s compute power

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

The biggest missed opportunity with the iPhone continues to be the inability to fully harness its power. Apple boasts about the performance of it’s A series chips each and every year, but most of that CPU and GPU grunt is lost in translation when scrolling through TikTok and Instagram. I’d love for Apple to adopt its own ‘desktop mode,’ in the same vein as Samsung’s DeX.

This one is the least likely for Apple to adopt, in my opinion. It’s for the same reason that the iPad isn’t a full-blown Mac replacement yet — the company stands to lose hardware revenue if users can accomplish more, and do so with fewer devices.

That being said, all the building blocks are in place already. iPadOS, with its same underlying code as iOS, supports external monitors and windowing apps on screen via Stage Manager. I’ll continue to cross my fingers that one day, I’ll be able to plug my iPhone into a USB-C monitor and get some serious work done.

6 App icon placement anywhere on the home screen

Either add this feature in, or make phones smaller again

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

This last one’s been rumored to arrive in iOS 18, and I sure hope the leaks prove accurate. For as long as we’ve been able to rearrange icons, the system has automatically justified all apps to the top left hand corner of the screen.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Apple can continue to maintain a simplistic and consistent design language across the home screen, while letting us place our apps wherever we choose to do so.

This is an accessibility issue as much as it is a customization gripe — and it's a problem that didn’t arise until smartphones started getting truly massive in size. It’s genuinely difficult to reach the top corner of a modern display while using a phone with one hand.

Some users have even taken to inserting blank widgets on their home screen to force apps closer to the (reachable) bottom portion of the display.

With WWDC 2024 less than 2 months away, I sincerely hope Apple adds at least some of these features into iOS 18. If there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that we’ll have our answers soon enough.

6 things I really want to see Apple add in iOS 18

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