iPadOS 18 Brings a New Customizable Tab Bar and Sidebar UI to Apps

In iPadOS 18, Apple has redesigned the tab bar experience for many apps like Podcasts, Apple TV, and Apple Music. Previously in these apps, tabs sat at the bottom of the interface. When in portrait orientation however, tab bars now sit at the top of these apps to be closer to other navigation controls, while a customizable sidebar appears in landscape mode.

tab bar ipados 18
In Apple apps other than the above, the tab bar appears in both portrait and landscape. Apple says having the tab bar at the top of the app and between other navigational controls reduces the amount of horizontal and vertical space used up by the interface, and allows users to focus more on the content.

To accompany the new tab bars, sidebars in apps have been updated to help users navigate apps and provide quick access to top-level destinations.

Together, side bars and tab bars support user customization, so it's now possible to drag and drop items from the sidebar into a pinned section on the tab bar for even quicker access to favorite content.

Some items in the tab bar are, however, fixed. For example, in the TV app, the Home, TV+, MLS, and Store tabs are always available, and at the end of the pinned section, the search option remains a constant presence. It's worth noting that tab bars disappear when apps are in landscape orientation.

customize tab bar ipados 18
Third-party developers have control over what appears in the new tab bar and sidebar, enabling them to determine what stays fixed, and what can be added or removed.

The ‌iPadOS 18‌ beta is available to developers at the current time, with Apple planning to introduce a public beta in July.

Related Roundups: iOS 18, iPadOS 18
Related Forums: iOS 18, iPadOS 18

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Top Rated Comments

F23 Avatar
5 weeks ago
can’t wait to use the full power of the M4 chip to customize my tab bar
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
multipasser Avatar
5 weeks ago
Is it me (and i'm using iphone since the first that came out) but isn't this OS getting to big with all those tiny features? It's getting hard to know how to add/find new things. Usability is getting lost imo.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CrysisDeu Avatar
5 weeks ago
This is also an example of confusing UI in iOS 18 and change for the sake of changes.
This was supposedly a design used for TVOS, okay, but why suddenly bring it to iPad, and only iPad?

If you shrink the window (sorry tile) of the app, the tab bar will go to the bottom, like on an iPhone.
So you will have tab navigation on the top, on the left, and on the bottom, on a single device - iPad

I really want to know why Apple make this update, like what's the philosophy behind it?
The reason they gave in the keynotes, was: to refresh the look of your App. Do they really just changed the system and interaction fundamentals for a visual refresher?

Now some people will never know how to access the full tab bar, like why would a top navigation component transition to a complete different side of the screen on a single click?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Etc_ Avatar
5 weeks ago
This little UI tweak is listed as a prominent feature on Apples iPadOS 18 preview page. That says all about the content of this update.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
klasma Avatar
5 weeks ago
Yeah, the top is easier to reach than the bottom, totally makes sense. :rolleyes:
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
5 weeks ago
Floating menu bar tribute to its origins

And the macOS Settings redesign might look like it was copying iPad or Windows but it's really a vertical version of NeXT's.

Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)