13 changes we want to see in iOS 18: How Apple could make it the 'biggest' iPhone update ever

iOS logo
(Image credit: Apple)

Like clockwork, Apple releases a new iPhone each year and a fresh version of iOS beside it. While this release schedule is an excellent marketing technique, it rarely offers meaningful change — especially on the software side.

Because of this time pressure and the work it takes to refresh an operating system, most versions of iOS undergo only minor changes from previous editions.

But there are exceptions. Certain years see Apple launch more ambitious and feature-filled versions of iOS. For example, iOS 14 saw a raft of updates in both aesthetics and functionality — and all reports point towards iOS 18 being similar.

With Apple claiming iOS 18 will be the biggest iPhone update ever, we spent some time thinking how the company could actually achieve this, and what it could bring to iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro and beyond.

1. Launch a proper clipboard manager

I couldn’t live without a clipboard manager on my MacBook. Having a centralized place that keeps the last few dozen things I’ve copied is endlessly useful — and it’s frustrating the only options on iOS are third-party apps like Paste. These work, but not seamlessly.

Apple should fix this, and iOS 18 needs an official clipboard manager to make productivity nerds rejoice.

2. Optimize the battery life

I’m currently running an iPhone 14 Pro Max and noticed a considerable drop in my usage time with the launch of iOS 17, something many others have reported too.

iPhone 15 Pro Max Battery Settings

Please, Apple, just give us more juice! (Image credit: Future / Apple)

Of course there’s natural degradation in battery life, but my previous iPhones lasted way longer. I have a sneaking suspicion that more could be done to optimize this, but Apple doesn’t spend too much time addressing it, as it helps fuel the upgrade cycle. 

Addressing battery drain in iOS 18 would be welcome for those of us who don’t want to buy a new phone every year or two.

3. Let us change the dock

It’s strange we have so little control over the dock on iOS. Why, for example, can’t I have five apps there? Or six? Or have dock-specific widgets?

From where I’m sitting, there’s no good reason.

4. At long last, some RCS support

RCS — or Rich Communication Services — is a communication protocol meant to replace SMS. Effectively, it’s a multimedia format of messaging that enables a wide range of features, such as read receipts, group chats, encryption, typing indicators, and more.

Let’s join hands with our Android brethren and chat in the way tech intended.

Let’s join hands with our Android brethren and chat in the way tech intended.

We have iMessage of course, but the fact we can’t chat this way with Android users is a little silly in this day and age. Thankfully, RCS is looking very likely to appear in iOS 18.

5. Notification Center and Control Center? Combine them

I’m sure we’ve all had this experience: we drag down from the top of the screen looking to turn Bluetooth off and, instead, are confronted with a list of alerts.

Control Center

(Image credit: Future)

Although the Notification Center and Control Center have been around for years, I still find the experience of selecting one or the other to be clumsy and unintuitive.

And the fix? Give me the option to combine them into a single menu. One I can edit to my heart’s content. This would have a row of functions at the top (such as Wi-Fi, volume, and brightness) with notifications underneath. 

6. Completely overhaul notifications

Notifications desperately need a rethink and a relaunch, as using them on iOS is both inelegant and nightmarish. Let’s take one simple example: the rise of the notification advert.

Uber is a particularly good (i.e. bad) example of this. I don’t want to turn notifications off for the app because it’s important to know when my ride will arrive. Yet, a couple of times a week, I’ll get a push advert from them encouraging me to book a cab or order some food.

Currently, there’s nothing that can be done about this on iOS — which is why Apple should introduce notification channels.

iPhone notifications

(Image credit: Apple)

Used on Android, notification channels allow you to tailor for each app the specific type of alerts you want to receive. For example, on X/Twitter it could be things like ‘replies or mentions,’ ‘new followers,’ or ‘direct messages’ and you can decide which of these you want to get a direct alert about.

Notifications are an albatross around Apple’s neck, and iOS should finally get rid of that.

7. Icon packs for all

I understand Apple wants to keep iOS looking like, well, iOS, but the company should allow us more freedom to tailor how it looks. For example, I’d love to have all my apps in stylish monochrome.

One way of achieving this is introducing icon packs, approved collections of app logos that could allow us to really personalize our iPhones.

8. A raft of accessibility features

The more people that can use Apple products, the better — and that’s why it’s so important that there are an increasing number of accessibility features incorporated into iOS 18.

While these appear to be on the way — with features like adaptive voice shortcuts, more text options, and AirPod hearing aid support being rumored — it’s unclear whether they’ll appear in the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system. 

Well, it shouldn’t be a maybe, these accessibility features should appear in iOS 18.

9. Podcast syncing

It’s utterly bizarre that in our futuristic world of artificial intelligence and cloud gaming, Apple’s Podcast app seems unable to sync shows across devices. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. On the next iOS it should simply work, all the time.

10. Beefing up Siri

There are a gamut of stories about Apple integrating artificial intelligence into iOS 18, but, fundamentally, all I want is for Siri to be better. 


(Image credit: iMore)

Apple’s voice-activated assistant is lagging far behind its competitors, and I only find it useful to set alarms or timers. 

I don’t trust Siri to deliver what I want much beyond that — and I hope iOS 18 fixes it.

11. A number row on the keyboard

Come on, there’s no reason we should be clicking on a button to get to numbers. Give us an option to have a number row at the top of the keyboard, please!

12. Change the camera and flashlight buttons on the lockscreen

For most people, having the camera and flashlight buttons on the bottom of the lockscreen is absolutely fine — but why should we be limited this way? Why can’t we change them? Put different apps there? More of them? Or remove them entirely?

13. A home screen that’s truly customizable… from within macOS

Apple’s home screen is utterly outdated. 

Ideally, we should be able to choose the size of the apps, precisely where they sit on the screen, and have spaces between them. Instead we can… move them around a bit?

iPhone 15 Pro with a titanium finish running iOS 17

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

Listen, I don’t want this enabled by default (I can’t imagine how awful my folks’ phones would look if they could do this by mistake), but it should be something that power users can take advantage of.

While we’re at it, why not enable people to change their iPhone homescreens from macOS too? Back in the day, you could do this through iTunes, and it’s so much easier to manage a home screen via a computer than on the phone itself.

Freedom, freedom, freedom

The key theme of the above is freedom. For those of us who love iPhones, it’s time for us to have more control over how they look and how we use them. But will it happen? Unlikely.

In reality, iOS 18 will probably have an aesthetic upgrade, a few new features, and some more functionality driven by whatever Apple AI ends up looking like. We can dream though, and maybe, one day, we’ll get the version of iOS we all deserve.

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Callum Booth

Callum Booth is a journalist with over a decade of experience. Previously, he was the Managing Editor of The Next Web, an Amsterdam-based global tech news site owned by the Financial Times. Callum's reporting has been cited widely, including in VICE, the FT, and the BBC. While working as a freelancer, his writing has appeared in The Verge, The Daily Telegraph, Time Out, and many more. Outside of work, Callum’s an avid bookworm, a Fisherman's Friends addict, and resolutely unshaven. Follow him on Twitter/X @CallumBooth or visit www.callumbooth.net.