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iOS 18: what to expect from the “biggest” update in iPhone history

By Joe Rossignol

At least some Apple software engineers continue to believe that iOS 18 will be the “biggest” update in iPhone history, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Below we list the expected features and changes for iPhone.


“iOS 18 update expected “This will be the most ambitious overhaul of iPhone software in its history, according to people working on the update,” Gurman wrote in a report promoting WWDC 2024. Apple recently said its annual developer conference will run from June 10 to 2024. 14 June, and iOS 18 will be a key announcement.

iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app to improve text messaging between iPhone and Android devices. The update is also expected to bring a more customizable Home screen and other UI design changes, new features in apps like Apple Maps and Freeform, additional accessibility features, and more.

Smart Siri and Generative AI

IOS 18 is rumored to have new generative AI features for Siri, Spotlight, Shortcuts, Apple Music, Messages , Health, Numbers, Pages, Keynote, etc., according to sources such as Gourmet and Wayne Ma of The Information.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly teased that the company is working on generative artificial intelligence and plans to share details “later this year,” and Apple CMO Greg Joswiak also hinted at AI this week in a WWDC 2024 social media post.

The popularity of generative AI exploded in late 2022 when OpenAI released ChatGPT, a chatbot that can answer questions and other text prompts. The company has also expanded into generative AI tools for images and video. Other companies like Google and Microsoft have also made inroads into the generative AI space, and the technology is advancing rapidly.

iOS 18 is not expected to include Apple's own chatbot, similar to ChatGPT. Instead, Apple has reportedly held talks with companies like OpenAI, Google and China's Baidu about potential partnerships in generative artificial intelligence that could lead to the integration of other chatbots in iOS 18, although Apple's exact plans are unclear.

Some generative AI features may be exclusive to iPhone 16 Pro models, which are rumored to feature a Neural Engine with a “significantly” higher core count.

More customizable Home screen

According to Gurman, iOS 18 will have a “more customizable” Home screen.

MacRumors exclusively reported that iOS 18 will finally allow users to place app icons anywhere in the Home screen grid. This means that users will be able to create white spaces, columns and rows between app icons. This basic feature has long been available on Android smartphones, and now Apple is bringing it to the iPhone.

iPhone users can already customize their home screen with apps like Shortcuts and Widgetsmith, which can be used to create “blank” » app icons and widgets, but Apple's official solution will be much more convenient.

We're looking forward to iOS 18 to include more customization options beyond icon placement as part of the biggest Home screen update in years.

New Apple Maps Features

MacRumors recently revealed two potential new Apple Maps features coming to iOS 18: Custom Directions and Topographic Maps.

With the Custom Directions feature, users Apple Maps will be able to select certain roads to travel to during navigation for reasons such as familiarity or scenic views. This feature is expected to be available in the US at launch only. Google Maps already allows users to create their own directions online and then view them on iPhone.

Topographic maps first debuted on Apple Watch last year with watchOS 10, and the code suggests the feature will be expanded to iPhone , Mac and Vision Pro with iOS 18, macOS 15 and VisionOS 2. These maps include details such as trails. , contour lines, elevation, and points of interest for hiking and other outdoor uses.

RCS support in the Messages app

In November, Apple announced that it would support the cross-platform RCS messaging standard in the Messages app on iPhone starting “later” in 2024, so, This will likely be a feature of iOS 18 during this period.

RCS support should result in the following improvements to standard messaging between iPhone and Android devices:

  • Photos and videos with higher resolution
  • Audio messages
  • Input indicators
  • Read receipts
  • Wi-Fi messaging between iPhone and Android devices
  • Improved group chats, including the ability for iPhone users to leave a conversation that includes Android users

These modern features are already available for iPhone-to-iPhone conversations using blue bubbles via iMessage , and many features are also available in third-party messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. RCS support on iPhone will extend the app's capabilities to green bubbles in the Messages app.

Design changes

Apple plans to update iOS design According to Gurman, the user interface will appear “as early as this year.” He previously said iOS 18 would have “significant new features and designs,” but didn't provide any specific details yet.

More rumors

  • iOS 18 may have new accessibility features related to VoiceOver, Live Speech, and text size.
  • AirPods Pro are expected to get a new hearing aid mode with iOS 18.
  • iOS 18 may have an updated app Freeform with new Scenes feature.
  • The “Apple ID” is expected to be renamed to “Apple Account” starting with iOS 18.
  • iOS 18 is rumored to be renamed to “Apple Account”. be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17.

For more information, read our iOS 18 review.

Related review: iOS 18[ 124 comments ]

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