From what little we’ve heard so far, iOS 18 could be one of the most interesting software releases of 2024, with early leaks suggesting it will have some “major new features and design”, along with a big focus on AI.
Given that we described iOS 17 as “one of the best iOS updates we’ve seen in years” in our 4.5-star iOS 17 review , the idea that iOS 18 could be an even more comprehensive update really appealing.
That said, we don’t know much about this update yet, so it’s unclear exactly what it will offer. What little we’ve heard can be found below, along with information on a possible release date and the phones we expect to be supported.
Then further down you’ll find a list of the most important things we want from iOS 18 to make it the best update possible. We’ll also be adding leaks and news to this article as new information emerges, so check back soon to stay informed.
Get to the point
- What is it? The next big iOS release
- When is it out? Probably September 2024
- How much does it cost? It will be a free upgrade
iOS 18: estimated release date
Based on past form, iOS 18 will almost certainly launch in mid-September 2024, given that every major iOS release from iOS 6 onwards has begun rolling out between September 13 and September 20 of their release year. This launch will probably coincide (roughly) with the launch of the iPhone 16 line and the Apple Watch 10.
However, you don’t have to wait until September to see some of iOS 18’s features, or even to give it a try, as Apple usually announces new iOS versions at WWDC, which is usually held in early June. That means we’ll get a good taste of iOS 18’s talents at WWDC 2024.
Here we get our first look at many of the key features, and shortly after that Apple releases developer previews, followed by public betas. So if you don’t mind a few bugs, you’ll probably be able to try an unfinished version of iOS 18 well before September.
iOS 18: expected compatibility
We don’t yet know which phones will support iOS 18, but for reference, iOS 17 works on all iPhones from iPhone XR and iPhone XS onwards. Apple dropped support for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, all of which landed in the same year as each other (2017).
So it is likely that with iOS 18, Apple will drop support for iPhones released in 2018, namely iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. That would mean you would need an iPhone 11 or newer to get iOS 18. While this is the most likely scenario based on recent history, this is just speculation at this point.
iOS 18: news and leaks
There aren’t many iOS 18 leaks yet, but one thing we’ve heard is that Apple is spending heavily on AI servers and features — and that the first fruits of those efforts will be ready later in 2024.
Apple GPT — the company’s rumored ChatGPT rival — is apparently working on it internally, and it could help reinvent both Siri and AppleCare. In addition to an AI chatbot, Apple is also reportedly working on image-generating AI, and both of these AI features could potentially be baked into Siri, to upgrade Apple’s increasingly disappointing digital assistant.
Similarly, we’ve heard that Apple’s AI-powered Siri assistant could be unveiled as soon as WWDC 2024, which is when we expect to get our first official look at iOS 18. But reportedly, it might only work with the iPhone 16 and later, indicating that this feature may require dedicated hardware.
We don’t know much about how Siri could be improved, but one example given is that it could replace the Shortcuts app, which acts as a simple way to complete complex tasks. For example, you might be able to ask Siri to create a GIF from the last five photos you’ve taken and then send them to a contact, all with a simple voice command.
Elsewhere, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has claimed that Apple has internally described iOS 18 as a major upgrade, calling it “ambitious and compelling” with some “major new features and design”.
However, Apple is also said to stop development of iOS 18 in November to fix problems. This is a rare occurrence, which may indicate that some of the planned features turn out to be problematic. That in turn could mean some features are delayed or cancelled, but that remains to be seen.
iOS 18: what we want to see
There are a number of things we’d like to see in iOS 18, including the following five improvements.
1. A worldwide rollout of all key features
One of the main features of iOS 17 was Live Voicemail, but this is actually only available in the US and Canada, making iOS 17 and by extension the iPhone 15 significantly worse outside the US and Canada.
It’s an unfortunate situation, and while Google is probably even more to blame for locking phone features to the US, Apple can still do a lot better here.
So for iOS 18, we want all features to be made available globally, and if that’s really not possible, we want Apple to be more transparent about it, rather than burying availability in fine print.
2. Compatibility with Android for check-in
Another habit Apple has that we’re not fond of is locking Android out of features like iMessage and SharePlay. This is unfortunate, but somewhat understandable. Where it becomes less understandable, however, is when these features involve security, as is the case with Check In.
This iOS 17 feature is an automated way to let loved ones know you’ve arrived home safely, or conversely let them know you might not be safe if you haven’t checked in—and in the latter case, allows select people to see where your phone is.
But it requires both the sender and receiver to have iOS 17 to work, meaning that Android users can’t only actively use the feature (understandably), they also can’t receive check-in notifications from others (less so).
So with iOS 18, we’d like to see Apple open up the feature to Android users, so that while they can’t automate their own check-ins, they can receive these automatic notifications and alerts from friends and family members who use iOS.
3. An AI upgrade for Siri
Rumors suggest that Apple will have a lot of AI in iOS 18, and it’s likely that Siri will be one of the main beneficiaries of this. We sure hope so, because the likes of ChatGPT make Siri in its current form look incredibly dated. Especially now that ChatGPT Voice is available for free on iOS.
These Siri upgrades may enable more natural, fluid conversations, as well as allow Siri to perform far more complex tasks than just Googling something or turning on your smart lights.
4. Place the cursor in the middle of a word with one tap
One feature we really wish Apple would borrow from Android is the ability to simply tap in the middle of a word to place the cursor there, so you can then easily correct typos.
Currently, to get to the middle of a word you have to hold the space bar and drag, which works well enough but is significantly slower. We don’t expect this in iOS 18, but it would be nice to see.
5. Deep but thoughtful AI integration
Beyond Siri, we hope Apple bakes AI into other parts of iOS 18, but we want this to be done thoughtfully, rather than with half-baked or gimmicky features.
In particular, we’d like to see photography given a large AI toolset, to help with image editing. We’re thinking of things like Google’s Magic Eraser and Magic Editor tools, which let you move or delete things in photos. And it would also be interesting to see spatial photos and videos become more accessible, so that they are not only designed for Apple Vision Pro owners.
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