iPadOS 18 Released: Customizable Home Screen and Built-in Calculator Arrive After 14-Year Wait

iPadOS 18

Apple recently unveiled iPadOS 18, the latest major update to the operating system for the iPad, at the 2024 WWDC Global Developers Conference. This update brings a range of new features and improvements to the iPad, including a customizable home screen and a built-in calculator, a long-awaited addition to the device.

iPadOS 18

Customizable Home Screen

iPadOS 18 introduces a highly customizable Home Screen for iPad users. Users can now personalize their Home Screen and Control Center with greater flexibility. The Home Screen allows for customising app icons, rearranging them as needed, and changing their colours. Users can now place application icons anywhere on the screen, rather than on a rigid grid only. This increased flexibility allows for more creativity and personalization of the home screen. Additionally, icons can be tweaked and changed, with options to set them to ‘Dark mode‘ or change their colours more drastically. This feature enhances the overall user experience, enabling users to tailor their interface to their preferences.

Redesigned Control Center

The Control Center has also been redesigned in iPadOS 18. It now features multiple panels, including one dedicated to media playback and another for quick access to Home controls. Users can flip through these panels and edit them to make them more personal.

This redesign provides easier access to frequently used functions and lets users personalize their Control Center to suit their needs. Additionally, the Control Center can be edited directly from within the Control Center itself, making it easier to manage and customize the various controls. This feature is particularly useful for users who need to frequently adjust settings or access specific functions.

The Control Center also gains new levels of customization and flexibility with the introduction of the Controls API. This API enables developers to create custom shortcuts and integrate their apps directly into the Control Center. For example, users can replace the camera button on the lock screen with a Snapchat button, providing a seamless integration of third-party apps. There is also an API for third-party apps to integrate their elements into the Control Center.

Screen Sharing and Collaboration

Another significant feature of iPadOS 18 is the enhanced screen-sharing capabilities. Users can now share their screen with others and even draw diagrams on someone else’s iPad. This feature is particularly useful for collaborative work and educational settings. Users can remotely control someone else’s iPad to provide more detailed guidance on a task.

Another improvement is the new collaboration tool within SharePlay. This feature enables users to share their screen with another iPad or iPhone and annotate the video stream with drawings. Also, users can grant permission for remote control of another device over the shared screen, making screen sharing more like video conferencing apps like Zoom. These enhancements make screen sharing and collaboration more seamless and interactive. Users can now engage in real-time collaboration and annotation, which is particularly useful for educational and professional settings. The new features in iPadOS 18 further solidify the iPad as a powerful tool for collaboration and productivity.

iPadOS 18

Built-in Calculator

After a 14-year wait, Apple has finally released a built-in calculator for the iPad. This calculator app is designed to be more comprehensive and user-friendly than third-party alternatives, which are often cluttered with ads and poorly optimized for the iPad’s larger screen. The calculator app also supports the Apple Pencil, allowing users to solve math problems by writing them out with the stylus.

iPadOS 18

The new calculator, called Math Notes, allows users to type or write out mathematical expressions and see them instantly solved in their handwriting. Users can also assign values to variables when learning new concepts in class, calculating a budget, or performing other tasks. Additionally, the calculator includes a graphing feature, enabling users to write or type an equation and insert a graph with just one tap. This feature allows users to add multiple equations on the same graph to visualize how they relate.

The calculator deeply integrates into iPadOS 18 and it works with Apple Pencil. This enables users to write out mathematical expressions by hand. The calculator also includes features like history to keep track of previous calculations and unit conversions for quick conversions of length, weight, currencies, and more. This native calculator app eliminates the need for users to rely on third-party apps which often come with ads and poor optimization for the iPad’s larger screen.

Smart Script for Handwriting

In addition to the built-in calculator, Apple has also introduced Smart Script, a feature that enhances the appearance of handwriting using machine learning. This technology can reproduce an individual’s unique handwriting style, perform spelling checks, and convert typed text into the user’s personal handwriting style. This feature is particularly useful for those who prefer to write by hand or need assistance with their handwriting.

iPadOS 18

Availability and Beta Release

The developer beta of iPadOS 18 is available starting today, with a public beta expected to follow in July. The full release is scheduled for later this year, likely in September or October. Apple Intelligence, which integrates Open AI’s ChatGPT, will also be available alongside iPadOS 18, supporting any iPad with an M-series chip.


iPadOS 18 marks a milestone in the evolution of the iPad, bringing a range of new features and improvements to the device. The customizable home screen, redesigned Control Center, enhanced screen sharing capabilities, built-in calculator, and Smart Script for handwriting all contribute to a more versatile and intelligent iPad experience. With its release later this year, iPadOS 18 will solidify the iPad’s position as a powerful and versatile tool for users of all levels.

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