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One of the iPhone apps you use most will finally be fixed in iOS 18

Artificial intelligence will be the most important topic at WWDC 2024 next week. Apple will finally unveil generative AI features built for the iPhone. But the iOS 18 upgrade will be more than just AI, and some of those non-AI features have also started leaking.

One exciting feature reportedly coming to iOS 18 is the ability to place apps and widgets anywhere on the iPhone home screen. I’ve been waiting for years for this, as I hate the overcrowded grid system we’ve been using to arrange apps on the home screen since the first iPhone.

There’s another app that’s incredibly crowded on iPhone, and it’s one I’ve been dying for Apple to fix. That’s the Settings app, which is incredibly annoying to navigate when you need to find something specific. I say this as a seasoned iPhone user. I don’t even want to imagine what it must feel like to navigate the Settings app as a newbie.

Thankfully, new rumors say that Apple will update the Settings app in iOS 18. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman mentioned the updates on X a few days ago. He’s now back with additional information about the changes.

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The well-known Apple leaker said recently that Apple will give the Settings app a “new UI with a reorganized cleaner layout that’s more simple to navigate.” Additionally, Apple is improving the Search feature in the Settings app.

Gurman addressed the iPhone’s Settings app in his Power On newsletter on Sunday. That’s where he provided an additional detail that I had predicted: macOS will also get the same new Settings app.

In other iOS 18 news, here are a few additional tidbits: The Settings app is getting revamped with a cleaner interface, better organization, and much-improved search (this is coming to macOS as well). Control Center, meanwhile, will be upgraded with a new music widget and improvements to how it operates smart home appliances.

The problem with the Settings app on the iPhone right now is that you have to keep scrolling to find the setting you want. There’s a search feature, but people often have trouble figuring out exactly what to search for.

Also, there’s no logic behind Apple’s Settings app on iPhone. It’s a mishmash of settings that need to be tweaked from time to time, plus tons of apps that should never be there. I’m talking both about the Apple apps populating the list and the third-party apps. These apps should hide in a different menu rather than the main page of the Settings app.

To understand how annoying the Settings app is, just look for the Camera settings and count the number of screens you have to scroll to get to it. That’s some strange placement for one of the iPhone’s key apps and selling points.

Moving on to the Mac, Apple tried to make the macOS Settings look more like the iPhone and iPad a few years ago. This was part of a larger UI change that helped Apple make the Mac experience more like an iPhone. Apple needed this for two reasons.

First, it’s a lot easier to convert iPhone buyers to Mac if everything feels familiar. Second, this unification of UI works for Continuity features but also sets the stage for a future where MacOS and iPadOS might have to merge. Remember that rumors say Apple will launch a foldable MacBook in the coming years. Whatever operating system ends up on that device, it’ll have a familiar UI.

But the Settings app in macOS looks nothing like the iPhone. It’s cleaner in a way that I’d want to see on the iPhone. It is also somewhat more confusing to navigate because it’s not identical to the iPhone. And yes, the Mac needs settings that are different from those on the iPhone or iPad.

With all that in mind, I hope these iOS 18 and macOS 15 predictions come true. Apple should fix the Settings app on all its operating systems and make it easier to navigate. As for the new Control Center changes that Gurman teases, I’m curious to see what Apple does with the music and smart home widgets. The latter certainly needs better integration in iOS 18.

If Gurman’s sources are accurate, Apple will unveil all these features next Monday at WWDC.

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