iOS 18 just tipped for Control Center makeover — here’s what’s new

ios 18
(Image credit: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock)

iOS 18 is shaping up to be Apple's most significant update for iPhones in years. It's expected to introduce a number of changes and new AI-powered features, and now it appears Apple also plans to overhaul the iPhone Control Center, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter

As part of the new design, the Control Center is getting a "new music widget" as well as improvements to how it interfaces with the HomeKit smart home controls. The Settings app is also "getting revamped with a cleaner interface, better organization and much-improved search," Gurman said — an update that should extend to macOS users too.

That's welcome news considering the Control Center has received few updates over the years. This quick settings panel lets you access frequently used settings and home devices by sliding down from the top right corner of the best iPhones. Introduced back in iOS 7, the Control Center last received a big overhaul in 2017 with the iPhone X when Apple condensed it from a three-page set of quick-access controls into a single view. That same update added customization options, a shortcut to the Notes app, and more. 

While Gurman doesn't go into detail about the Control Center changes expected with iOS 18, we can speculate in the meantime. One long-running complaint Apple users have is how limited the audio controls are with the current setup. Right now, the audio controls are squished into a small 2x2 square near the top-right of the screen. iOS 18 could let users customize this to make the Now Playing UI bigger or include album art and progress bar by default instead of having to long-press and wait to see that information.

This additional level of customization could carry over to HomeKit, an iOS system that lets you turn your iPhone into a universal remote for your smart home devices. The Control Center's Home section can display up to six accessories in an automated layout that seems to reorganize itself at random intervals, making it difficult to access them at a glance. Gurman's mention of a new music widget hints that iOS 18 could finally let users choose which accessories to include in this menu as well as make the tiles larger so it's easier to turn off your lights or adjust your thermostat in an instant. 

Of course, we'll have to wait to learn more about what iOS 18 has in store. Rumor has it we'll see a preview at WWDC 2024 on June 10 followed by a beta before its official release in the fall. 

Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.