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Apple WWDC 2024: 7 New iPhone Upgrades That Can’t Come Soon Enough

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With the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote past us, we can digest the announcements a little more calmly. And there were certainly enough to give indigestion if consumed at one sitting. Here, I’ll concentrate on the best new iPhone upgrades that aren’t based on Apple Intelligence, the company’s new AI software suite. Some are coming to the iPad, Mac and Apple Watch as well.

ForbesExactly Which iPhones Will Work With iOS 18: Just Confirmed

1. An All-New Home Screen

If you’ve ever found you don’t like the arrangement of the app icons on your home screen—or you envy Android users who can configure theirs any way they choose—you’ll like this upgrade.

With iOS 18, you can place icons and widgets wherever you want—though there’s still no option for an entirely app-free screen, unless you count the lock screen.

You can also tint app icons, for example, in dark mode, which looks cool and potentially confusing in equal measure if you just can’t associate an app with its new color.

2. A New Lock Screen Detail

Quick access to the flashlight and camera on the lock screen is handy, but, as you likely know, you can also swipe the lock screen to the left to launch the camera, so maybe you’d prefer something in its place? Or maybe you never use the flashlight—seriously, who are you?

Now, you can swap these two for other items, such as Translate, Shazam or, my favorite, Magnifier.

3. Messages Upgrade

Tapback with any emoji or sticker, not the small range currently available. Add text formatting options such as underscore or strikethrough. Not to mention effects called Shake, Explode and Jitter.

4. Messages via Satellite

With iOS 18, satellite connectivity becomes much more usable with everyday capabilities: iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 users will be able to send iMessages without Wi-Fi or cell service. Big changes coming then.

5. Apple Wallet

Tap to pay for Apple Cash is coming, making settling a debt intensely simple and quick (for places where Apple Cash is available).

6. Photos

The redesign of the Photos app is the biggest ever, Apple said. A simple view with a grid of images is meant to be easier than going into albums. Content is auto-played throughout the app and there are sections for favorite people, places and—most importantly—pets.

7. Passwords

Apple rarely introduces new apps, and this one’s important. Keychain is already great, but a dedicated app will encourage people to save passwords securely and not just use PASSWORD for everything. I’m still devoted to 1Password, but let’s see.

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