iOS 18 beta 3 just dropped — and it adds two welcome dark mode upgrades

iOS 18 logo on an iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

iOS 18 developer beta 3 has launched, and two newly found features will help shield your eyes from an overly bright home screen.

The first we'll look at, as spotted by 9to5Mac, is the new dynamic mode for the iOS 18-specific default wallpaper. You can pick from four basic color options of Yellow, Pink, Azure and Purple, and then select Dynamic from the filter options by swiping left/right. When chosen, the exact hues of your wallpaper will shift multiple times during the day.

Dynamic wallpaper options in iOS 18 beta 3

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

We’ve already seen a simpler version of this effect on previous iPhone wallpapers that activates automatically at sunset or when you switch to dark mode manually. But now it looks like iOS will support a more granular adjustment of wallpaper color as light conditions change. 

Hopefully this is a feature that can be added to third-party wallpapers, and we'll see more options to choose from at launch, once developers and artists get to grips with the new system.

Dark mode for all app icons

The other interesting addition is an update to the home screen icons that will force them into dark mode, even if there's not a specified dark mode icon for a given app.

In earlier betas, only Apple's own app icons would get dark mode applied, leaving you with a weird mix of light and dark apps unless you used the new customization options to apply a dark tint to everything. 

Beta 3 takes things a step further — ensuring all app icons get at least some color changes to better fit in with dark mode. As shown in AppleInsider's example, this has mixed results, so fingers crossed that developers implement their own dedicated dark mode icons down the line for a more consistent-looking home screen.

Sample app icons using forced dark mode in iOS 18 beta 3

(Image credit: AppleInsider)

Now we've reached the third developer beta, iOS 18 should soon open up a public beta for users who aren't registered members of Apple's dev program. This should grant us access to features such as the new dark mode, dynamic coloring enhancements, updates to the Photos app, new reaction options for Messages, and Apple Intelligence features, including a revamped Siri for some iPhones.

If you'd rather wait until the software's in a stable final form, then that'll likely come in the fall. Apple usually pushes out its latest big iOS update at the same time as its new iPhones, so iOS 18 should be with us around the time that the iPhone 16 series is.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.