Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

iOS 18 isn't any more of a cheater's operating system than Android has been

TikTokers have turned on Apple over iOS 18's app-hiding feature.

Social media "influencers" are inventing scenarios and features for iOS 18 that they're screaming makes it the prime operating systems for cheaters. This is more ignorant than normal.

Following the introduction of Apple's operating system updates at the keynotes, people started to offer their opinions on Apple's feature changes. Many are balanced opinions from tech YouTubers, specialist publications like AppleInsider, our friends at other Apple-centric publications, analysts, and other industry observers.

However, there are also unhinged and uninformed hot takes on social media.

The latest popular accusation from the TikTok brain trust is that Apple is making the iPhone more useful for cheaters. A large number of videos on TikTok and other social platforms have latched onto the hidden apps and lockable apps features on iOS 18, and have let their imaginations run rampant.

As the name suggests, locked apps prevents anyone with access to the iPhone from opening up specific apps that were locked by the user. Face ID is required to actually access the app, stopping anyone from getting in if they happened upon the device when it's unlocked.

iPhone home screen showing app folders named 'Connectivity' and 'Hidden' with various app icons, including a house, a watch, and a fish.
Apps can be hidden in iOS 18

Hidden apps goes one stage further, in hiding the app from view. When hidden, the app's notifications will be muted, it won't appear in search or Spotlight suggestions, and it will be mostly invisible save for some references in Settings.

The content wheel turns

In many examples of social media commentary, especially on TikTok, accounts immediately insinuate that the ability to lock or hide apps is tool that could be abused by cheaters. And, they're making up features that don't exist to try and prove their point.

Across multiple hot takes, TikTok personalities say that the iPhone will be a "cheater's paradise," since it becomes easier to prevent snooping through a partners phone. It's proposed that someone's partner could have a secret Tinder or Bumble profile, hiding the apps from view.

Often, there are insinuations that this is a red flag in a relationship. Especially in situations where one partner suspects the other of being unfaithful and requests to check through their device for proof.

The belief is that, while a single biometric measure or passcode was all that was protecting a device from snooping, it's now worse. A cheater could hand over their device unlocked, but have the apps they use safely hidden away.

You know, like it's been on Android for five years or more, depending on branch.

A grid of social media posts discussing the new Apple iOS 18 update, with people sharing their reactions through short videos and text overlays.
Some of the hot takes on iOS 18's 'cheating' features

The worst of the videos propose that some hypothetical cheater at Apple wanted to create more tools for their own activities. In some of the more egregious videos, they claim that if the wrong face is detected, apps will automatically lock and hide. Ridiculous.

Another particularly stupid claim is there's the ability to see sent message counts, and reply numbers in Messages. Also ludicrous.

They also claim that Apple can apparently only do one thing at a time, and did this app locking instead of making more practical updates. Accompanied with dance, sometimes, they say that the time was wasted instead of making a better front-facing camera or providing more storage capacity.

News flash. The software and hardware teams aren't a finite pool of 10 people. Different departments have different priorities and bailiwicks. Apple didn't decide to do this instead of anything else, and the feature in software had absolutely no impact on the camera teams at all.

It's worth bearing in mind that, there is a need for TikTok accounts to post news or opinions regularly and truth is not strictly necessary. The more posts are made, the more views they get, the more the algorithms spread their opinions.

These furious hot takes for traffic don't bother with the facts. Thy also don't tend to delve into Apple's nature of being a privacy-first company. It's a quick claim, and a juicy one, that is easy to fire off into the ether.

Sometimes, it's a simply-made retelling of opinions from elsewhere, all to generate content, clicks, fame, and maybe a bit of money.

There are legitimate uses

Apple's functions do have many real, genuine use cases, which are not touched on at all by the influencer brigade.

For a start, you could imagine good reasons why a person could be on a dating app, but keep the app hidden. Aside from cheaters, it could easily be a person who hasn't come out to their family but is fearful of what could happen if they are found out.

More frivolously, hiding an app prevents friends and others from opening it and playing around with a person's dating profile. There's also a lot of mileage to be made by bullies and meaner members of a friend group discovering someone's trying to find love online.

Away from dating apps, you could also consider other vulnerable people who need to keep their lives locked down. People of interest to major organizations, such as foreign governments or criminal gangs, could use the same tools to cover their online tracks.

Close-up view of a smartphone screen displaying app icons for Skype, Signal, and Find My.
Signal is famed for being a great secure communications tool

It's plausible an activist may want to keep their encrypted communications app hidden from view. For example, so it doesn't get accessed when someone inspects their device at a security checkpoint.

For parents, they may not want children to access their Slack account while handing their iPhone over to watch YouTube videos on a train.

There are so many reasons why a person would legitimately want to hide apps, or prevent access without an extra unlock. Far more than those about cheating.

If the prospect of hiding apps forces some users to rethink what devices they use, they can't simply jump ship to Android. You can hide apps on that platform too. For years.

Cheaters gotta cheat

There have always been ways for cheaters to hide. Before the dawn of smartphones, there have been ways to minimize communications.

And, there's folks who have failed to do so.

Take for example the British man who, in reports from June 13, planned to sue Apple because his wife divorced him. He was caught cheating because, despite deleting messages sent to prostitutes from his iPhone, his wife read them on the family iMac.

Had he used a different mobile device with entirely separate accounts, it could've been a different story. Instead, he lost over 5 million pounds ($6.37 million) in a costly divorce.

Ultimately, Apple's iOS 18 changes won't cause someone to cheat, give them the idea to, or to get better at hiding unfaithfulness. It is a tool with many legitimate purposes, and a few unfortunate ones too.

You know, like the internet as a whole. And TikTok.