Features, release date, and the latest rumors on the iPhone update

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On March 26, 2024, Apple officially announced the dates for its WWDC 2024, scheduled for the week of June 10 to June 14. Although no new hardware is expected this time around — Apple announced the Vision Pro last time at WWDC 2023, and no new version is rumored to launch this year — Apple is expected to unveil new software upgrades, including iOS 18, the new version of macOS, and more.

With Gen AI gaining a lot of attention lately, from ChatGPT to Microsoft’s integration of CoPilot across its services and Google’s continued efforts to make Pixel an AI first phone, Apple is also expected to add a number of AI features to iOS 18. According to the reliable Apple leaker Mark Gurman, iOS 18 could bring “relatively groundbreaking” changes, with significant new features, designs, and a strong focus on AI. Here’s a roundup of everything we know about iOS 18 so far.

iOS 18: Features

Customizable Home Screen

iPhone 15 pro models for showcase3

iOS 18 is set to bring a new “customizable home screen,” according to Mark Gurman. For years, Apple has restricted users to arranging app icons sequentially, meaning there is no room for empty spaces between them. However, iOS 18 is set to change that, allowing users to place app icons anywhere on the Home Screen without the need for workarounds.

While some users have resorted to workarounds to achieve a customized Home Screen layout, using the Shortcuts app to create a “blank” app icon, the upcoming iOS update will bring native support for arranging app icons freely. In addition to this, iOS 18 is expected to pack other home screen and design improvements, although details remain scarce at this time.


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AI and Smarter Siri

With iOS 18, Apple is finally expected to jump aboard the AI bandwagon. While the company won’t offer a ChatGPT-like AI chatbot to its users, the company would reportedly leverage Gen AI to improve its suite of first-party apps.

For example, the updated Apple Music app in iOS 18 might feature auto-generated playlists tailored to your music preferences. Similarly, productivity apps like Keynote and Pages could offer AI-powered writing assistants for writing and creating slides. Safari is also expected to gain a new AI-powered browsing assistant, according to the backend code discovered by Nicolás Álvarez (reported by MacRumors), although specifics remain unknown for now.

In addition to the first-party apps, Siri is set for significant improvements with iOS 18. Apple will reportedly use large-language models for Siri to turn it into the “ultimate virtual assistant.” Being powered by an LLM, Siri is expected to gain better natural conversation capabilities and the ability to perform even more complex tasks.

For example, according to Mark Gurman, Apple is planning for a deeper Siri-Messages integration, which would improve Siri’s ability to complete sentences and answer complex questions. Similarly, according to The Information, Siri will gain deeper integration with the Shortcuts app, which will likely allow for more extensive automation of tasks.

Initially, these features may run on-device, possibly being limited to Pro devices, but Apple is reportedly exploring cloud-based AI collaboration with partners like Google and Baidu for the future.

RCS Messaging

iPhone 15 plus in hand pocketnow video

In late 2023, Apple announced that it would bring support for RCS Messaging on iPhone, and it is finally expected to arrive with iOS 18. RCS Messaging won’t replace iMessage. Instead, it’ll make iPhone to Android messaging much better. RCS will enable cross-platform features like read receipts, typing indicators, better encryption, support for sending higher resolution photos and videos, emoji reactions, and more — thereby reducing the need to switch to alternate messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. Some specific features that RCS messaging will bring to iPhone and Android communication include (via MacRumors):

  • Sending higher-resolution photos and videos
  • Support for file sharing
  • Audio messages
  • Emoji reactions across platforms
  • Real-time typing indicators
  • Read receipts
  • Ability to send messages over either cellular data or Wi-Fi
  • Group chats

New Apple Maps Features

Apple is expected to improve Apple Maps with the release of iOS 18. A notable new feature may be the option to choose a preferred route before beginning a journey — a feature that Google Maps already offers. Additionally, topographic maps, which were introduced on the Apple Watch with watchOS 10, will reportedly make a debut on the iPhone with iOS 18, offering users detailed views of terrain, including contour lines, trails, and elevation.

New Notes App Features

iPhone 14 Pro Max in hand

As per a leak from AppleInsider, the Notes app is also set to gain a number of new and useful features. First up, the Notes app is set to gain an audio note feature wherein the user will be able to attach voice memos to the notes. Alongside voice memos, users will also be able to add additional text or images, which could come in handy for students.

Additionally, the Notes app is expected to introduce a “Math Notes” feature, which will display proper mathematical notation and have integration with the calculator app as well. These features are already available in Microsoft OneNote, and it seems that Apple is playing catch-up games with its competitors. Nonetheless, both of these new features will be beneficial for students.

iOS 18: Supported Devices (Rumored)

Surprisingly, despite the addition of numerous Gen AI features to iOS 18, the new version of iOS is expected to be compatible with all iPhones currently running iOS 17. Here’s a list of iPhone models likely to support iOS 18:

iOS 18: Release Date

iOS 18 will be showcased at the WWDC on June 10. Following the event, registered developers will be able to download the first beta build to try out the new features and start building their apps for the latest iOS version. A public beta is expected in July, with the final release likely scheduled for September 2024.

That sums up everything we know about the iOS 18 update so far. What features are you hoping to see in the next version of iOS? Let us know in the comments section below!

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