iOS 18: Everything we know about the “biggest” iPhone update ever

Anurag Singh
Image showing iOS Logo

iOS 18 rumors have already started to pick up, revealing important features of the upcoming update. Here’s everything you need to know.

iOS 18 is going to be the next operating system update for iPhones, including the upcoming iPhone 16. Although there’s still some time before it’s officially out, rumors about its features are already swirling.

The next iPhone update might be Apple’s chance to catch up to Google and Samsung. Those two companies packed a ton of AI features into their latest phones, the Galaxy S24 Ultra and Pixel 8 Pro, and right now iPhones can’t quite compete.

Apart from AI features, iOS 18 could bring RCS for better texting with Android users, a possible redesign, new emojis, and a bunch of bug fixes. We discuss everything rumored about the iOS 18, including the features, release date, and supported devices.

iOS 18: Expected release timeline

Like iPhones, iOS release dates aren’t a mystery. Apple likes to launch iPhones during its fall event while the iOS updates get announced during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The next WWDC event could take place in the first or second week of June, and that’s when the iOS 18 may get official. However, the update may not be seeded to your iPhones before September.

For reference, the iOS 17 announcement came during WWDC 2023 but Apple only started rolling out the update in September 2023.

Which iPhones will get iOS 18 update?

Image showing three iPhones from different generations next to each other

While there’s no official info on iOS 18 compatible devices, it’s generally believed that every iPhone that received the iOS 17 update will also be eligible for the iOS 18 update. By that assumption, every iPhone from the iPhone XR and XS or 2nd-generation iPhone SE up through the iPhone 16 will receive iOS 18 update.

Here’s a list of iPhones that may get the iOS 18 update.

  • iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd gen), SE (3rd gen)
  • iPhone 12 mini, 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 mini, 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max
  • iPhone 16, 16 Plus, 16 Pro, and 16 Pro Max

While we hope the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max get iOS 18, the chances of that happening aren’t very high. Apple supports their phones for five years and these iPhones will be hitting that five-year mark this fall.

Update: A reliable source with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates has now corroborated the list of iOS 18 compatible devices we added above.

iOS 18: Expected features

Apple is not the company to follow industry trends but with the whole world going all in on AI, it has no choice. As a publicly traded company, Apple will likely want to take the interest of its shareholders into account. Bloomberg has reported that Apple thinks iOS 18 will be one of the “biggest iOS updates” ever, highlighted by several new AI features.

These AI features could be based on Apple’s large language model (LLM) system, dubbed AppleGPT. The project uses a framework called “Ajax” that Apple started building in 2022. Among many features, we may get a charged-up Siri that is based on an LLM, similar to ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini.

iPhone 16 Siri AI upgrade

Apple is exploring new features for Apple Music, including auto-generated playlists, according to Bloomberg. AI integration could make its way into Apple’s productivity apps as well.  

iOS 18 may also bring an upgraded version of Spotlight Search that is powered by generative AI. New AI features for the Messages app could be introduced, allowing you to auto-complete messages, answer questions, and summarize incoming text messages.

Other features of the iOS 18 aren’t known at the moment. You can expect Apple to introduce new emojis during the life cycle of iOS 18. Past releases have always gotten new emojis and iOS 18 may not be an exception.

Bloomberg suggests Apple may take Google Gemini’s help to implement these AI features on iOS 18 and iPhones. While the two companies haven’t signed a deal yet, the publication suggests Apple is in active negotiations. Apple has also been in talks with OpenAI for the same, according to the report.

iOS 18 could run a lot smoother than previous versions. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple had briefly paused the development of iOS 18 after finishing the first internal versions to debug some issues. The company took extra care to remove any pesky software issues.

A latest report from Gurman claims Apple is also “working to update the design of iOS as early as this year”. It’s been a while since iOS had a design change so we are eager to see what changes Apple has in store.

Gurman warns the redesign may not be as significant as the VisionOS, which features 3D buttons and and glassy background textures.

If these leaks and rumors turn out to be true, iOS 18 may indeed be the biggest iOS overhaul we’ve seen in ages.

About The Author

Anurag is a Tech writer at Dexerto. He is an expert in laptops, smartphones, and wearables. Anurag has previously covered major brands like Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft. He's previously written for publications like Android Police, Neowin, MakeTechEasier, Gizmochina, and more. Get in touch at Anurag.singh@dexerto.com.