iOS 18 latest rumors – everything we know so far

Apple's next big iOS upgrade could be in the works

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The next iteration of Apple’s operating system always holds the promise of bringing improvements over the current software, and iOS 18 is certainly no exception. In fact, even a few months before anything becomes official, the rumors and tidbits we’re hearing so far point towards this being one of the biggest iOS updates of late. AI has been a huge buzzword at recent tech events, and generative AI technology will likely be a key player in iOS 18’s new features.

So, in this article we’re zoning in on iOS 18, providing an overview of what to potentially expect from Apple’s upcoming software update ahead of launch, as the world starts to await an AI-powered iPhone.

iOS 18 release date prediction

As has been the case with previous iOS software, it’s possibly the case that Apple will introduce iOS 18 at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2024. Following the announcement, the update will undergo a period of beta testing before being released to the general public around September 2024; a release that may or may not coincide with the iPhone 16. However, it’s possible there may be a public beta released sometime around July, as this would be a release schedule that aligns with the company’s history of software update patterns.

One of the key reasons that there seems to be so much speculation surrounding this year’s iOS update is due to the potential new AI features that could be coming to the iPhone. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook himself commented earlier this month on Apple spending “a tremendous amount of time and effort” (via MacRumors) into working with artificial intelligence. What’s more, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman – a certified Apple prognosticator – has quoted that iOS 18 could be “one of the biggest iOS updates — if not the biggest — in the company’s history.” (via 9to5mac). So, while nothing has been confirmed, there’s been enough talk about to town to at least expect one or two major upgrades in iOS 18, possibly related to AI or design changes.

iOS 18 rumored features

Now that you know the possible release date for iOS 18, let’s delve into some of the rumored features that you can expect from iOS 18:

Generative AI and Smarter Siri

One of the most anticipated aspects of iOS 18 is the introduction of generative AI features, and Apple is rumored to incorporate this technology into a various selection of its built-in apps, including Siri, Shortcuts, Messages, Apple Music, and Pages. Generative AI has gained significant attention since OpenAI released ChatGPT, a chatbot capable of answering questions and responding to prompts. It is expected that Siri and the Messages app will benefit from LLM (large language model) technology, allowing for more accurate responses and improved autocomplete capabilities.

The integration of large language models into Siri will enable users to automate complex tasks, creating a deeper integration with the Shortcuts app. While some generative AI features may be exclusive to the iPhone 16 models, which are rumored to feature an upgraded Neural Engine, the overall goal is to enhance the user experience and provide more intuitive interactions in iPhone’s in general.

VisionOS-inspired design changes

Inspired by the design elements of visionOS, Apple’s operating system for the Vision Pro mixed reality headset, iOS 18 is rumored to feature some design changes. According to reports, the Apple TV app on iPadOS 18 will adopt a translucent navigation bar, similar to the one introduced in the tvOS 17.2 version of the app. This design change aims to create a cohesive and visually appealing experience across Apple devices.

Furthermore, Apple plans to revamp various system menus and built-in apps, with Safari being one of the applications set to receive a redesign. While these rumors should be approached with some skepticism, they hint at exciting visual updates that could enhance the overall user interface.

RCS support in messages app

In a move towards improved cross-platform compatibility, Apple announced that it will support the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard in the Messages app. This support will enhance the default messaging experience between iPhones and Android devices, bringing features such as higher-resolution photos and videos, audio messages, typing indicators, read receipts, and Wi-Fi messaging. Additionally, group chats will see improvements, including the ability for iPhone users to leave conversations that include Android users.

The adoption of RCS will bridge the gap between blue bubbles (iMessage) and green bubbles (SMS), extending modern messaging features to all users. This move signifies Apple’s commitment to delivering a more unified and seamless messaging experience.

Is Apple working on iPhone AI?

While specific iPhone AI features are yet to be confirmed, CEO Tim Cook has commented on Apple putting significant work into AI; naturally, it’s expected that some of this AI will be integrated into Apple’s flagship smartphone. Advances in on-device AI would be in line with what Google and Samsung have been bringing to their smartphones with the Pixel 8 and S24 flagships, and Apple isn’t one to be left behind when it comes to technological innovations and functionality.

So, the launch of the iPhone 16 and iOS 18 beta will confirm iPhone AI, but for now, it’s safe to assume that the company has probably got artificial intelligence features in development.

Will iOS 18 be available for free?

Yes, like its predecessors, iOS 18 will be available as a free software update for compatible iPhone models. Users can download and install the update through the Settings app on their devices. However, it’s worth noting that Galaxy AI will have some of its AI features put behind a paywall in the future, so we’ll have to wait and see if Apple will follow suit and make some of its advanced AI functions subscription-only.

iOS 18 latest rumors – final thoughts

As we early follow the iOS 18 latest rumors and speculations, expectations about what’s next to come from Apple continue to build. From generative AI features to RCS support and potential design changes, Apple’s upcoming software update promises exciting improvements and enhancements for the iPhone and wider Apple ecosystem. We’ll be regularly updating this page ahead of the official unveiling at WWDC in June, so make sure to check back to see how the rumor pot has been stirred.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.