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iOS 18: New Features Coming to iPhones in 2024

iOS 18 2024
© Anjar G / Adobe Stock / nextpit

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At the WWDC Conference in June, Apple officially unveiled iOS 18, introducing a plethora of innovative features for iPhones. Among the highlights is the debut of Apple Intelligence, their advanced artificial intelligence system. In this article, we’ll explore the most significant updates and inform you when these exciting new features will be available on your iPhone.

iOS 18 new features

Apple's latest software update, iOS 18, is set to redefine how we interact with our iPhones in 2024. This update brings a host of new features designed to enhance personalization, streamline daily tasks, and boost our overall user experience. From advanced privacy options to clever messaging capabilities, iOS 18 has something for everyone. Let's dive into the highlights of this major update.

Apple iOS 18 Bento Box
Everything new in this Apple iOS 18 Bento Box. / © Apple

Major Home Screen Customizations

iOS 18 brings a greater level of personalization to your iPhone's Home Screen. Finally! You can now rearrange app icons and widgets to better suit your needs and preferences. The customization options allow you to customize your Home Screen to your liking, by moving app icons around and finally getting a view of your beloved wallpaper.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
You can finally customize your Home Screen to your liking with iOS 18! / © Apple

Dark Mode Customization

Dark Mode in iOS 18 has received a significant upgrade with the introduction of a customization sheet. This feature allows users to fine-tune the appearance of Dark Mode, making it easier to match personal aesthetics or specific colors. It is very similar to what we already have on the lock screen.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
Three different home screen layouts in Dark Mode, illustrating how the interface adapts to different themes and user preferences. / © Apple

Enhanced Control Center

The Control Center in iOS 18 is more flexible and user-friendly than ever. You can now swipe in groups or in a single scroll to navigate through your controls, and even resize them to fit your preferences. This update enhances accessibility, allowing you to use the side key or shortcuts from the lock screen for quicker and more efficient control over your device’s functions.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
The new iPhone Control Center for quick access to settings and controls, making it easy to manage your device's functions. / © Apple

Advanced Privacy Features

iOS 18 significantly elevates privacy with several powerful features. App Lock lets you secure individual apps using a password or Face ID, ensuring that sensitive information remains protected.

For even greater confidentiality, the Hidden Apps feature allows you to store apps in a locked, hidden folder, keeping them out of sight and secure.

Lastly, Private Device Connections ensure secure and private interactions with other devices, safeguarding your data during transfers and Bluetooth connections. Together, these enhancements will likely give users more control and peace of mind.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
The setup screen for pairing a new device, such as a hair dryer, with your iPhone, showcasing Apple's seamless accessory integration. / © Apple

Enhanced Messaging Capabilities

The Messages app in iOS 18 introduces many features to enhance communication. You can now use Tapbacks to react with any emoji for a richer expression. Scheduled Messages enable you to plan and send messages at a later time—a very nice feature to introduce to some people, like, maybe, your boss, or that friend living in a different timezone.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
Scheduled Messages enable you to plan and send messages at a later time. / © Apple

With new message formatting options, you can emphasize text with bold, italics, or underlines, adding clarity and tone to your conversations. Text Effects bring your messages to life, making them visually engaging and memorable.

For iPhone 14 and newer models, Satellite Messaging offers the ability to send encrypted messages via satellite when traditional networks are unavailable, keeping you connected even in remote areas. Additionally, iOS 18 supports RCS Messaging, providing better media sharing across different platforms.

Advanced Email Categorization

This is one of my favorite improvements, and it will make me use the Mail app more often. iOS 18 makes managing emails more intuitive with its enhanced categorization features. The Primary Category helps you focus on what matters most by prioritizing essential emails, keeping them easily accessible at the top of the inbox.

To further streamline the email experience, new categories have been introduced for transactions, updates, and promotions. This organization allows us to quickly find and manage different types of communications without clutter.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
iOS 18 makes managing emails more intuitive with its enhanced categorization features. / © Apple

For frequent travelers, the flight Information feature aggregates all your flight details in one place, simplifying travel planning and ensuring all crucial information is at the fingertips.

Additionally, we can now recategorize emails effortlessly, moving them between categories to keep the inbox neat and organized according to personal preferences. These improvements make navigating and managing your email more efficient and tailored to our needs.

Redesigned Photos App

We'll have an entirely different experience with photos from now on. iOS 18 unveils the most significant redesign of the Photos app yet, offering a more seamless and intuitive interface. The unified view consolidates all the photos into a single, cohesive display, simplifying navigation and browsing.

With bottom controls, accessing essential tools is now more convenient, as they are all located at the bottom of the screen, enhancing usability. Advanced filtering allows us to quickly find specific types of images, such as screenshots, making searches faster and more efficient.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
We'll have an entirely different experience with photos from now on. / © Apple

The app also features Intelligent Collections that automatically group photos by themes like trips, recent days, and categories such as people and pets, providing smarter organization of our memories.

Lastly, the new Carousel format for highlighted photos offers a visually stunning way to showcase and relive your best moments.

Enhanced Apps and Features

A few interesting optimizations on a bunch of different apps will be listed before we get to the second—and very exciting—section of this guide overview. iOS 18 introduces significant enhancements to core apps on the iPhone.

In Maps, we can now explore new topographic maps, providing detailed terrain views. We can also save and download these maps for offline use on Apple Watch running with the new watchOS 11, ensuring you have reliable navigation even without internet access.

The Wallet app is upgraded with the "Tap to Cash" feature, allowing seamless transactions using Apple Card and Apple Pay. Managing event tickets is also simplified with integrated event guides, giving you all the details and access you need in one place.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
Apple Pay and Wallet: The left screen shows a payment confirmation, while the right screen demonstrates making a purchase using Apple Pay. / © Apple

For gamers, we now have Game Mode that is supposed to enhance the gaming experience by minimizing background activities, ensuring smoother performance and reducing interruptions, making gameplay more immersive and enjoyable. Android users already know this for a long time.

These are just a few of the innovations in iOS 18… but there was one more thing presented today… and that's Apple Intelligence.

Apple Intelligence on iPhone

With the release of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple introduces a groundbreaking evolution in its software ecosystem: Apple Intelligence (cringe?). This suite of intelligent features and capabilities is deeply integrated into the core of the operating systems, designed to deliver a seamless, private, and personalized user experience.

Apple Intelligence bento box at WWDC
An overview of the Apple Intelligence features presented at WWDC 2024. / © Apple

At the heart of this innovation are intelligent models that leverage advanced on-device processing and private cloud computing to offer users unparalleled functionality while maintaining strict data privacy. Let's talk about some of them, shall we?

Personal Context Understanding

Apple Intelligence is designed to get to know us and interact with us in a very personalized way. It works directly on our devices, keeping our information safe and private. Because of this, it can understand unique preferences and create customized responses for us.

For example, it can prioritize notifications based on what's most important to us, create fun personalized images using emojis of our contacts, or pull up and analyze data from the device that’s relevant to us. In short, Apple Intelligence is here to make our everyday tasks easier and more intuitive—hopefully!

Seamless Cross-App Actions

One of the coolest things about Apple Intelligence is that it can work across multiple apps at the same time. Thanks to the A17 Pro and M series chips, these smart systems can smoothly handle tasks across all your Apple apps—yes, it's not coming to every iPhone as you might have noticed by the chip selection.

This means we get a seamless experience where our digital assistant can jump between apps to help us with more complex tasks, boost productivity, and give us useful insights based on what’s on our screen. Whether you're juggling multiple tasks or seeking information, Apple Intelligence (might) make it all easier.

Enhanced Privacy and Processing

Apple is earnest about protecting privacy. The smart features in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS are built to handle data without actually collecting personal information.

When more complex data processing is needed, it’s done by Apple's private cloud system, which uses Apple Silicon chips for secure and fast computing. This way, even the toughest tasks get done efficiently while keeping our information safe. This combination of on-device and cloud processing ensures that your data stays private and secure.

Siri Evolution

Over the past 13 years, Siri has evolved from a basic voice assistant into a smart and personal companion, now enhanced by Apple Intelligence. For instance, it can understand we make mistakes in real-time, making interactions smoother and more accurate, similar to how models like ChatGPT-4o work.

You can now type commands to Siri for tasks like setting alarms or searching for information. Siri also has a smart feature that helps with on-screen tasks, like adding new contacts or recognizing images across different apps. When Siri is active, a glowing light indicates it’s ready to help, and it can follow you through various tasks in the system. My impression is that Siri has become a useful and intuitive component of using Apple gadgets.

WWDC 2024 announcements of iOS 18 features
My impression is that Siri has become a useful and intuitive component of using Apple gadgets. / © Apple

Advanced Email Management

Apple Intelligence makes emailing a breeze by adding smart features to help you communicate better. If you want to tweak the tone or make your emails sound more professional, there’s a handy rewrite tool for that. It also offers proofreading tools to catch errors and ensure your messages are clear.

For long emails, it can create short, easy-to-read summaries, like a “tl;dr” version, so you don’t have to wade through walls of text. Quick responses are a snap with smart replies. Plus, your inbox now comes with brief summaries of each message, making it easy to understand the key points at a glance and decide what needs your attention first.

Intelligent Notifications

Apple Intelligence has a great feature called "Reduce Interruptions" mode to help you stay focused. When you turn this on, it cuts down on distractions by filtering out notifications that aren't relevant. This way, you can stay on track with your tasks.

Genmoji and Personalized Emojis

With Genmoji, messaging gets a creative twist. You can generate emojis that match your mood, or even create personalized ones featuring your friends and family. This adds a fun and personal touch to your conversations, making your interactions more engaging and uniquely yours.

Image Playground

The new Image Playground feature lets you easily create and preview images right on your device. You can play around with different styles, even animations, and get suggestions for making cool images. This feature works across various apps like Keynote, Pages, Freeform, and Messages, giving you lots of ways to express yourself visually.

Photos Library Enhancements

Apple Intelligence might transform how you manage your photos. With the new Photo Library, you get advanced editing tools that let you clean up backgrounds in your images—hopefully it will be good right off the bat.

You can easily search for specific objects or people in your photos and videos. Plus, you can create memory movies by simply typing in prompts. These movies are automatically put together with a story, using your chosen pictures and music from Apple Music, making your personal moments feel like curated experiences.

Free and Accessible Intelligence

Apple Intelligence is available to all users at no extra cost. With the integration of ChatGPT-4o technology into Siri, you get a smarter, more advanced conversational assistant across all Apple devices.

In short, Apple Intelligence marks a big step forward in how we interact with our iPhone and iPads. It blends cutting-edge artificial intelligence with a strong commitment to privacy and smooth integration. I truly want to believe that this is the AI we have been looking for for a long time. What do you think?

Release Date and Availability of iOS 18

Now, you might be wondering when it will be available, right? The iOS 18 developers' beta version will be available starting today, June 10th. The public beta will be released in July, and the stable version in the fall. The availability of the stable version is expected to coincide with the release of the iPhone 16 series, which normally occurs in September.

  iOS Release Schedule
Version iOS 18 (2024)
WWDC announcement
  • June 10
  • June 5
  • June 6
  • June 6
Public beta
  • To be confirmed
  • July 12
  • July 11
  • June 30
Stable release
  • To be confirmed
  • September 17
  • September 12
  • September 20

List of iPhones Eligible for the iOS 18 Update

Will my device be compatible with the new update? Yes and no. The devices listed below will receive the iOS 18 update, but Apple Intelligence will only be available on the iPhone 15 Pro Series and newer devices. Yes, I’m disappointed too since I have an iPhone 15.

  • iPhone 15
  • iPhone 15 Plus
  • iPhone 15 Pro (+Apple Intelligence)
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max (+Apple Intelligence)
  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2022) (3rd generation)
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iPhone SE (2022)
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

If you want to try out the iOS 18 Developers beta version, even though it's not stable, we made a guide for you to follow to get it for free.

And that's our overview! What are your thoughts on the new iOS 18 version? Is your phone compatible? Share your opinions in the comments below!

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Camila Rinaldi

Camila Rinaldi
Head of Editorial

With over a decade of experience in tech product reviews, I’ve recently embraced the world of wearables and developed a passion for digital health innovations. While I am now deeply immersed in the Apple ecosystem, my enthusiasm for Android still burns strong. Formerly editor-in-chief at AndroidPIT and Canaltech in Brazil, I now share my insights with the US audience at nextpit. Beyond tech, I cherish my vinyl collection and believe exploring local cuisine is the best way to discover new places. Join me as I explore the fusion of technology and culture in our everyday lives.

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  • APKHiHe 1
    APKHiHe 4 months ago Link to comment

    When upgrading to iOS 18, does the device get hot quickly?

    • Camila Rinaldi 67
      Camila Rinaldi
      • Admin
      • Staff
      4 months ago Link to comment

      It may get hot, but it shouldn't become hotter than during a typical software update.