Why iOS 18’s customizable home screen layout matters

  • iOS 18 may add new home screen customization options.
  • You can place icons anywhere you like, not just in neat rows.
  • Icon grid customization is a god of aesthetics and accessibility.

The iPhone's home screen is about to become more customizable—and it just took 17 years.

According to well-informed Apple reporter Mark Gurman, in iOS 18, Apple will finally allow us to place app icons wherever we like, rather than forcing them into a strict grid that goes from left to right, top to stacked down, like some kind of anti-gravity brick wall. Of course, Android has always had this feature, and today we'll take a look at what it means for iPhone users.

Billy Parker, Managing Director of Goldhook Group Limited, told Lifewire: “The ability to customize app icons and add widgets to the home screen provides users with a more personalized and efficient experience. Users can prioritize the apps they use most and Access them quickly." "This feature also makes the home screen more aesthetically pleasing, as users can arrange icons and widgets to their liking."

The Home screen looks pretty much the same since the iPhone launched in 2007: a grid of icons that can be rearranged, but never shakes off that strict grid. In iOS 4 we got home screen folders to help organize, in 2020 with iOS 14 Apple added home screen widgets, and in 2022 with iOS 16 we got lock screen widgets.

But even these widgets force app icons to flow around them in a familiar grid. This fall, with the release of iOS 18, this grid will be broken down and you'll be able to place icons and widgets wherever you like. Apple's designers may have balked at this, thinking it looked like a toothless smile, but on the other hand, everyone has put an ugly photo of their child or partner behind their icon, so for years Getting here has been a losing battle.

We've been able to fake a more organic layout, but it was a real pain and involved creating black app icons and using them as spacers on a matching black home screen wallpaper.

In iOS 18, we may be able to insert blank rows or squares in the grid, or have columns without icons. We'd also like to see some customization options for the existing lock screen. For example, imagine being able to have an icon partially obscured by your face in a portrait mode photo, just like you can have the time displayed on your lock screen.

For many of us, our phones are our primary or even only computers, and it's only right that we should be able to fully customize our digital homes. But there's more to it than just making the place look nice and feng shuiing the virtual carpet to match the virtual curtains. Space arrangement helps people find their apps and widgets more easily.

"Allows app icons and widgets to be placed anywhere on the home screen, taking personalization and efficiency to the next level. It enables users to design workflows that fit their daily needs, combining the depth of information in widgets with This combines with the accessibility of app icons to simplify their interaction with the device,” Allan McNabb, Vice President and COO of Image Building Media, told Lifewire via email.

For example, you can group icons by purpose and leave gaps between the groups. Spatial memory is very important and is a great way to make an abstract interface to a computer more accessible. After all, this is how we negotiate with the real world. Once you know where objects are, you can quickly find them without having to think too much. Think of the pedals and gear lever in a car, or the keys on a keyboard.

Being able to arrange icons better is also a big boon for people with low vision. It's easier to find the right icon to click if the icon is surrounded by white space and contrasts strongly with the background.

The ability to customize app icons and add widgets to the home screen provides users with a more personalized and efficient experience.

This update should be good for everyone, and it's hard to understand why it took Apple so long to make such obvious improvements. Unless it figured out some radical new way to display apps on the home screen, Apple's programmers never seemed to get around to fixing it.

guess what? By pasting the icon anywhere you will be able to leave a gap to see the beautiful face of your child or spouse, which is what we really want anyway.