iPhone After Dark: iOS 18 Brings New Tinted Icons and Home Screen Tweaks

Your iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 home screens will soon be able to match your mood with the new dark mode additions.

Blake Stimac Writer
Blake has over a decade of experience writing for the web, with a focus on mobile phones, where he covered the smartphone boom of the 2010s and the broader tech scene. When he's not in front of a keyboard, you'll most likely find him playing video games, watching horror flicks, or hunting down a good churro.
Blake Stimac
3 min read
Apple Dark look for iOS 18

iOS 18 brings new customization options to your iPhone's home screen so you can create the perfect vibe. Note the multiple options and color sliders you can use to select your mood.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Apple introduced dark mode back in 2019 with iOS 13, but yesterday it expanded your options with the introduction of iOS 18. While far from the only customization options, the new "dark look" headed to iPhone and iPads later this year (and currently in developer beta) lets you slap on a fresh coat of paint on your home screen with only a few taps. 

The new feature allows you to add a tint of color to your home screen widgets and icons, which is reminiscent of Android's Material You design, but approaches it in a different way. Some may say this was the easier way to go (we'll explain), but we have our doubts that anyone is complaining about more customization in iOS. 

We'll need to get our hands on iOS 18 before we can make any judgments, but so far, it looks like a simple and easy way to give your iPhone or iPad a personalized look. 

For more on Apple's WWDC announcements, don't miss Apple's best new iPhone and iPad features were way overdue and Apple's RCS support in iOS 18 gets its first look

Apple's new dark mode will easily capture your mood

You'd think we'd be over getting excited about dark mode things at this point, but Apple proved us wrong today. Now when customizing your home screen, you'll have four options to customize the look of your apps and widgets: automatic, dark, light and tinted. It wasn't immediately clear from the keynote if automatic mode will change the look of your home screen according to a set time or between sunrise and sunset, where dark and light options are fairly straightforward. 

From what I could tell, the new tinted option, however, looks the most dramatic and exciting. Apple demonstrated that when you choose the tinted option, you can set a specific color tint to be added across your entire home screen. You can also just let your iPhone do all the work, too and let it select a color from your wallpaper to become the tint color. 

Yes, it does sound a bit like Material You on Android, but there is a difference between Google's approach and Apple's. Where iOS 18 looks like it will add a wash of color to your entire home screen, Google requires developers to support app icons to be themed, and there are still tons of apps that don't support it yet. 

In contrast, Apple appears to have made dark look and tint a system-level customization option that you yourself can choose and apply across backgrounds. While there may be exceptions, from what I saw in the keynote on Monday, the effect looks great. 

The new tinted look could also be seen as just pulling its Color Filter accessibility feature to the front of the home screen and calling it a day. Seems a little... easy? But when you look at how Android's Material You-themed icon support is going, well, it's hard not to see the benefit of Apple's approach. This is also in addition to the ability to create your own icons through the shortcuts app -- Maybe Google could learn a thing or two here. 

My team and I will have to wait to get our hands on the beta to see if this tint extends to just some of your apps as Google's Material You does, but even if it not, this is sure to be a people pleaser for those who are thirsty for more home screen customization. 

For more on Apple, be sure to check out all of the AI announcements from Apple at WWDC 2024, and how iOS 18 will make your messages more expressive