iOS 18 Hide and Lock an app feature
iOS 18 brings app hiding, an AI helper ("Apple Intelligence"), and other features, but the hiding option stirs up controversy as some fear it enables cheating while others praise its privacy benefits. Twitter / Richie Boss @RichieBoss1298

After floating around the rumour mill for a while now, Apple's highly anticipated iOS 18 update is set to arrive soon. The update will reportedly boast an impressive array of features, much to the delight of a billion iPhone users. However, one particular feature has sparked more debate than others.

Critics have dubbed the new feature "a cheater's paradise" due to its ability to hide or lock apps on the iPhone home screen, potentially concealing private hobbies and information.

While Apple's promotion highlights the feature's ability to safeguard banking apps and prevent unauthorized purchases on Amazon, many users perceive it as facilitating infidelity. The new feature ignited a firestorm on social media, with divided opinions.

iOS 18's Controversial Feature: Lock and Hide App

Some users vehemently condemned it as "sick," while others lauded its ability to conceal dating apps from significant others.

"Users can now lock an app, and for additional privacy, they can hide an app, moving it to a locked, hidden apps folder. When an app is locked or hidden, content like messages or emails inside the app are hidden from search, notifications, and other places across the system," Apple said in a statement released after their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday.

When an app is locked or hidden, its content, including messages and emails, becomes inaccessible through system-wide search functions, notification previews, and other similar features. The "Hide an App" feature enables users to conceal an app's icon and name on the Home Screen. The feature turns off notifications for hidden apps, as well.

This functionality extends to all App Store downloads, including dating and social media apps. However, it is worth noting that a "Hidden Apps" folder is created within the App Library, which unintentionally reveals a user's attempt at privacy.

iOS 18 features
Apple's iOS 18 divides users with "hide app" for privacy but ignites cheating fears. Twitter / Spigen @SpigenWorld

Moreover, users can lock built-in apps like Mail, Messages, Notes, Phone, Photos, and Safari with Face ID authentication for enhanced privacy. "Locked and hidden apps offer users peace of mind that information they want to keep private, such as app notifications and content, will not inadvertently be seen by others," the Cupertino-based tech giant shared in the announcement.

Apple detailed the functionality, explaining that users can now lock individual apps for enhanced security. For heightened privacy, users can completely hide apps, which are placed within a secure, hidden folder accessible only through authentication.

The Debate Around Apple's New App Feature

The new feature announcement sent users flocking to Elon Musk's X platform. Some expressed long-standing desires for this functionality, acknowledging Apple's prior confirmation that "Lock an App" was a highly requested feature. However, a significant portion of users voiced concerns, expressing fear that it could be misused by those seeking to conceal infidelity.

"Thanks Apple. I will be trying to hide online dating app from my wife," one X user shared. "With lock app and hide app, I can finally do it." Other users joked that the feature "is going to break up relationships."

According to a Pew Research Centre survey, the feature's release coincides with a report indicating that 40 percent of Americans have used dating apps while in a committed relationship.

iOS 18: What Else to Expect?

Despite the controversy surrounding the "Lock and Hide App" feature, iOS 18 boasts a range of other well-received additions. Apple's latest innovation, dubbed Apple Intelligence, alludes to Apple Intelligence.

This system is integrated across Apple's platforms and devices, and it empowers users with problem-solving assistance and responds to prompts and inquiries. It also has the ability to generate novel text formats and images.

Apple Intelligence leverages information across various apps like Maps, Mail, and Messages to expedite and facilitate time-consuming tasks like scheduling and planning. Moreover, it has a suite of writing tools, including text rewrites, summaries, and proofreading functionalities.

The system also boasts an image generation capability, allowing users to create novel visuals based on prompts or their own ideas. While similar functionalities exist in other generative AI tools, Apple Intelligence integrates seamlessly within the Apple ecosystem.

Despite the impressive features of iOS 18, the initial rollout might not be entirely smooth. As with previous updates, such as the iOS 17.5 bug that revived deleted photos, there's a potential for initial bugs to emerge.

Despite the potential for initial bugs, Apple remains committed to staying ahead of the curve in the tech industry. This dedication is evident in their ongoing development of new features and functionalities. For instance, a 2023 report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman outlined Apple's exploration of in-store updates for unopened iPhones.