iOS 18 inherits stunning macOS wallpaper trick

iOS 18 MacOS Sequoia
(Image credit: Apple)

The latest iOS 18 developer beta launched yesterday, giving users access to a new wallpaper theme that changes appearance according to the time of day, otherwise known as Dynamic Wallpapers.

Dynamic Wallpapers has been popular on macOS for quite some time and is among a slew of new iOS 18 features coming to the latest operating system update, with a full public release expected this fall. 

Frankly, it's pretty shocking to think a feature as simple as this has taken so long to come to iOS, but at least it's finally happening.

macOS Dynamic Wallpapers explained

This isn't the first time Apple has implemented a feature of this kind, as it has been available on macOS for several years. In fact, Dynamic Wallpapers launched with macOS Mojave (10.14) back in 2018, making it a whole six years before finally appearing on iPhone.

Not only have Dynamic Wallpapers continued to be available in every macOS version since 2018, but each subsequent operating system update features a unique theme based on the OS. For example, there's one available for Sonoma, Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, and more.

However, Sonoma only features two different modes for its Dynamic Wallpaper, one light and one dark. While we're not certain if that will be the same case for the upcoming macOS Sequoia, only two versions of its wallpaper are publicly available, so there's a good chance that trend will continue. In comparison, macOS Ventura had five variations.

What to expect from iOS 18 Dynamic Wallpapers

If the iOS version will be anything like it is on Mac, there will be several Dynamic Wallpapers to choose from, each getting brighter or darker depending on what time it is. Alongside this, there will be a different number of variations for each wallpaper depending on which is picked.

Based on the variations we can see from a video posted to X by user @VNchocoTaco, there are eight versions of its Dynamic Theme, seemingly going from a bright, sunny yellow to a faded, cool blue throughout the day. There's no telling what time causes each wallpaper variation to trigger at the moment, but we'll likely learn this soon.

But of course, this doesn't only change the wallpaper itself, but the aesthetic is wholly shifted. If you're using the automatic preset for app icons, there are three available modes. 

On the brightest setting called "Light," each app is full to the brim with color, and in the "Dark" mode, applications maintain their color but are given a dark backdrop to make it less blinding when it's getting late. And for the final mode, which is called "Tinted," it turns every application into a uniform, faded out style, making it easy to see in the dark.

Alternatively, you can select which of these three modes you want, alongside further customization that lets you make apps appear larger or feature a unique color of your choosing. For "Tinted" mode, it appears that you can select (from a color picker) which hue appears inside every application.

While we're not quite sure if iOS 18 will be able to do the same, macOS allows users to select specific versions of the Dynamic Wallpaper if they like one in particular.

This visual update joins a bounty of other customization options coming to iOS 18, including the ability to finally personalize the home layout, with widgets and applications that can be moved along freely. You can also now change the layout of the controls center, rearranging and resizing each little widget as you please.

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Claire Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Claire finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Claire is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.