iOS 14 could bring new wallpaper settings, Home screen widgets

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Apple may give us brand-new wallpaper options in iOS 14.
Photo: DongleBookPro

The latest iOS 14 leaks hint that new wallpaper settings and Home screen widgets are coming to iPhone and iPad.

Apple is expected to separate its default backgrounds into categories. It also might give users the ability to place real widgets anywhere they like on their Home screen — a feature Android has had for more than a decade.

The iPhone’s Home screen has remain largely unchanged since the original appeared in 2007. Apple made some tweaks and improvements over the years, but the fundamental way we use the Home screen remains the same.

With iPadOS, it’s possible to pin your Today View to the left side of the Home screen (in landscape mode) so that your widgets are easily accessible. Aside from that, however, the iPad’s Home screen hasn’t changed, either.

This could all change when iOS 14 makes its debut this fall. Apple is expected to make major changes to the mobile operating system’s design, and what users can do to customize it.

iOS 14 a fresh start for the Home screen?

A March report, based on leaked iOS 14 code, revealed Apple might give users the ability to arrange their Home screen icons in a list, just like on Apple Watch. But that could be just part of a complete Home screen overhaul.

9to5Mac has found evidence on the iOS 14 code of another new feature internally referred to as ‘Avocado,’ which is related to the Springboard app that controls the Home screen,” reads an April 4 report.

This new feature is expected to give users the ability to place “real widgets” anywhere on the Home screen, just like on Android. The report notes, however, that the feature is still being developed and “may be scrapped by Apple.”

There’s another iOS 14 change that ties into this. Together, they suggest Apple soon might take steps to make more complex Home screens (with widgets) more readable.

iOS wallpaper improvements

Leaked iOS 14 screenshots, published by Twitter tipster DongleBookPro and seen above, reveal a new “Home Screen Appearance” option in the Settings app.

It separates default wallpapers by sections so they’re easier to find; things like “Classic Stripes,” “Earth & Moon” and “Flowers” are available. It also lets users modify how those wallpapers are displayed using “smart gradients.”

For instance, you might choose to have colorful flowers on your lock screen, along with a simple gradient that uses the same colors on the Home screen. This would make icon text and widgets easier to read.

It’s not clear if this option will be available only with Apple’s own wallpapers, or whether it will work with a user’s own photos, too — like the option to dim all wallpapers when using dark mode in iOS 13.

Preview iOS 14 this June

These leaks all come from early builds of iOS 14 that are still in development. Apple is likely to make improvements and big changes before the upgrade makes its debut this fall, so we shouldn’t read too much into them just yet.

We’ll have a more concrete idea of Apple’s plans in June, when Apple previews iOS 14 — as well as upgrades for watchOS, tvOS and macOS — during its Worldwide Developers Conference. Until then, try not to get too excited.