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How to use and customize your iPhone’s new Control Center with iOS 18

The new Control Center in iOS 18

Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Now available in developer’s beta mode, Apple’s new iOS 18 brings several overdue tweaks to the handy Control Center tool. With the upgraded OS, you can directly customize, move, and rearrange the sections and icons in Control Center, letting you set up multiple screens easily accessible with just a swipe. Adding a new control is also simpler and more intuitive. Here’s how this works.

Also: 5 iOS 18 features I’ve been using on Android for a while

With previous versions of iOS, you’d have to head to Settings to customize Control Center, choosing which controls to add or remove. But with iOS 18, you can tweak and manage the icons directly in Control Center itself. This means you can visually add, remove, and otherwise organize the different controls.

If you want to follow along, you’ll need to install the iOS 18 developer’s beta on an iPhone. Since the first beta is likely to have some bugs, you may want to set this up on a spare iPhone if one is available. To install the beta, follow the steps in “How to install iOS 18 developer beta (and which models support it).”

How to use and customize your iPhone’s new Control Center with iOS 18

To display Control Center, swipe down from the top right of the screen. You’ll notice that Control Center is now separated into three different screens. The first screen displays the core controls, the second screen shows the audio player and related settings, and the third has connectivity options. Swipe up or down to move from one screen to another or tap one of the three icons on the right to jump to a specific one.

Access Control Center

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

You can move any of the current controls on the first screen. To start, tap the plus icon in the upper left corner to segue to edit mode. Notice that the controls all have a border around them with the familiar minus sign at the top. Drag and drop each control to a new spot until you’ve reorganized them all. Swipe up on the screen when done.

Move the available controls

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Also: Every iPhone model that can be updated to Apple’s iOS 18 (and which ones can’t)

After tapping the plus icon, some controls sport a gray curved handle in the lower right. This means you can resize the control’s icon. Drag the handle and move it up, down, or diagonally. Release it when the icon is the size you wish.

Resize a control

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Next, you can directly delete a control you don’t need or want. With the icons in edit mode, tap the minus sign for the icon you want to remove. The icon is deleted, and the surrounding icons should move to fill up the gap.

Delete a control

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

You can easily add a control to any screen that has available space. Pick a screen with some empty space at the bottom. After tapping the plus icon, tap the command for Add a Control. Browse the screens of accessible controls until you find the one you want to add. You can also look for a specific control by name through the Search field at the top. Tap the control, and it then appears in the available space where you can move or resize it if you wish.

Add a control to an existing screen

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Also: I did not expect this iOS 18 feature announced at WWDC to be my favorite (and it’s not AI)

If the current screens are already filled with icons, you can set up additional screens to hold more controls. Swipe down to the last screen, which shouldn’t have any free space. Tap the plus icon and then tap Add a Control. Again, browse or search for the control you wish to add. Tap that control, and it then appears in a new screen. You can continue adding more controls to the new screen this way. You can create as many as 15 screens, though you’ll probably want to stop before you reach that number.

Add a control to a new screen

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Finally, one neat trick now offered via Control Center is the ability to shut down your phone. When you trigger Control Center in iOS 18, you’ll see a power button in the upper right. Tap that button and you’re taken to the familiar Power Off screen. Move the icon on the slider to the right, and your phone will shut down.

Power down from Control Center

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

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