Apple is finally adding an iOS home screen feature that Android has had for 15 years

For the first time, iPhone users will be able to add blank spaces to their home screen.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Front of the iPhone 15 Pro with Nomad Modern Leather case.
Max Buondonno/ZDNET

While iOS and Android fans often trade quips about one ecosystem stealing features from the other, Apple is finally adding a feature to iOS that Android first debuted 15 years ago.

For the first time, iOS 18 will let users more freely rearrange app icons on their home screens, creating blank columns, empty rows, and open spaces between apps. The icons will still be locked to a grid, like on Android, but apps will no longer automatically move to fill in empty spaces.

The ability to move icons to any location while leaving open spaces has been present in Android since the very beginning.

Also: How to transfer data from Android to an iPhone: 2 simple and fast ways

The news was first reported by MacRumors, which cited a more vague announcement from Bloomberg that talked about a "more customizable" home screen.

If this is indeed true, iOS 18 is shaping up to be a fairly big upgrade for Apple users. In the same newsletter that teased the home screen announcement, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman noted that "the new operating system is seen within the company as one of the biggest iOS updates — if not the biggest — in the company's history."

Last week, Bloomberg revealed that even though Apple has its own AI models, the company is reportedly in talks to bring Google's Gemini to the iPhone later this year.

In addition to the new AI upgrades, it's also likely that iOS 18 will finally bring RCS texting to Apple devices. In November 2023, the company announced RCS messaging would be coming "in 2024" -- it thus makes sense for support to be added as part of iOS 18. Not only will RCS bring higher-resolution photo and video messaging between Android phones and iPhones, but it will add audio messaging, typing indicators, read receipts, and more.

Also: Switching from iOS to Android? Apple is being forced to make that easier

Apple is expected to announce iOS 18 at WWDC, its annual developers conference, in June.

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