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iOS 18 will continue to crib from Android with app locking system, dark home screen icons

The app locking system seems like it won't be as versatile as Android's Private Space or Samsung's Secure Folder.

Published onJune 9, 2024

iPhone 14 Pro in hand with the display on
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • A last-minute leak of iOS 18 features suggests we could see an app locking system and dark home screen icons.
  • Notably, the app locking system appears to only work with first-party apps.
  • Both of these features already exist on Android.

Tomorrow, Apple will unveil iOS 18, the next major version of the operating system powering the company’s most important product, the iPhone. We’ve already seen a ton of leaks for this, so we know we should expect many AI-powered features, more customization tools, and redesigns of Control Center and Settings, which haven’t seen refreshes in years.

Today, though, we have two last-minute leaks of iOS 18 information. Thanks to MacRumors in both cases, we hear that a new app locking system and dark home screen icon tool could be announced tomorrow.

Let’s start with the app locking system. Allegedly, this will allow you to lock an app behind your Face ID/PIN/password, adding an extra layer of security for apps with sensitive information. Currently, iPhone users have workarounds for this, such as by using the Shortcuts feature, but that will no longer be necessary. Now, even if someone grabs your unlocked phone, they will still need your face, PIN, or password to access the apps you’ve chosen to lock.

Unfortunately, this feature sounds like it will be quite limited in function. Allegedly, it will only work with first-party apps, i.e., those made by Apple. It also seems that you won’t be able to make a unique PIN/password for the lock, so if a person has your PIN/password for the phone itself, locking the apps behind those same credentials becomes a trivial roadblock.

Notably, a more powerful version of this feature has existed on Samsung phones for years in the form of Secure Folder. Also, Google launched Private Space at this year’s Google I/O, which does feature both the ability to lock any app and make the PIN/password completely different from your phone’s.

Outside of the app locking system, iOS 18 will also apparently get dark home screen icons. iPhones have long had a dark mode, but switching it on doesn’t affect icons. In tandem with the previously leaked customizable icons feature coming to iOS 18, switching on dark mode should change icons to better match that mode. At the start, however, this might only work with first-party apps.

Of course, this has also been available on Android for quite some time, thanks to Android 12’s launch of Material You in 2021.

We’ll learn everything there is to know about iOS 18 tomorrow at the keynote for WWDC 2024. The event starts at 10:00 AM PT.

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