Can you believe Apple is going to be releasing iOS 18 this year? It’s incredible to think that the device Steve Jobs said was a phone, an iPod, and an internet communicator is now about to get its 18th yearly update from Apple. But it’s true, and we expect to see the next-generation operating system announced at WWDC in June this year. But that has not stopped the leaks and rumors ahead of that announcement.
Recently, we’ve heard that this is going to be the biggest software update that the iPhone has ever received. We’ll have to wait a bit to see if that’s true. We do hear this rumor nearly every single year. But in this article, we are going to be aiming to keep you up-to-date with all of the latest news and rumors around iOS 18, as well as when you can expect to see the release on an iPhone near you.
When will iOS 18 be announced?
For a number of years now, Apple has announced the newest version of all of its operating systems at WWDC – their annual developer conference. That includes iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and now visionOS. Typically, these all get announced at WWDC with developer betas launching the same day. Then we go through a few months of betas before the iOS and iPadOS releases come after the new iPhone is announced in September.
So, expect an announcement at WWDC in June. Apple has not yet announced the dates for WWDC yet, that should come in the next couple of months. But it is normally the second week of June. With the stable release coming in September, typically the third week of September (a week after the iPhone announcement). Here’s the most recent iOS launch dates:
- iOS 17 – September 17, 2023
- iOS 16 – September 12, 2022
- iOS 15 – September 20, 2021
- iOS 14 – September 16, 2020
- iOS 13 – September 19, 2019
Which iPhones will be supported?
Unlike Android, Apple does not guarantee updates for a certain number of years. While the iPhone 6 did get updates for what seemed like, ever, more recent phones have stopped receiving new versions of iOS much sooner. The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X were dropped with iOS 17.
But it does seem like Apple is sticking with a 5-year update window. So, if that happens, we could see the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max lose support for new versions of iOS. Apple will continue to update them with security updates; they just won’t get iOS 18.
This is not official, just speculation on what Apple has done over the last few years in terms of support for new versions of iOS. We will know for sure what devices are supported when Apple unveils iOS 18 at WWDC in June.
What features can we expect with iOS 18?
It’s still early for rumors about iOS 18, but we are seeing quite a few rumors about features coming. The first has to do with Generative AI. It has been reported that Apple is spending a ton of money to catch up with companies that already have an AI headstart – the same thing happened with Google last year. Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, Amazon, and others all have a massive headstart compared to Apple. Recent reports have stated that Apple is spending $1 billion per year on AI research and the hardware needed to run large language models.
Apple is also debating on whether it should use generative AI on-device only or deploy it via the cloud. Based on Apple’s marketing in the last few years, the smart approach would be doing it on-device, as it is more secure for its customers. However, deploying it via the cloud greatly extends the features that Apple could offer.
Currently, we’re unsure what specific features Apple could add to iOS 18 that involve generative AI. But we do know one thing: they will not mention “generative AI” in their keynote. Apple tends to steer away from using technology terms that other companies use. For example, Vision Pro is not a VR nor an AR headset, according to Apple. It’s Spatial Computing instead.
Siri is expected to get a huge upgrade with iOS 18, thanks to Apple’s investments in artificial intelligence. A recent leak suggests that Apple would use large-language models (LLMs) to entirely revamp Siri and make it the “Ultimate Virtual Assistant,” which is anything but that right now.
It could also gain better natural conversation capabilities and improved user personalization. This new functionality would be available across devices, so Siri may retain conversation information from one device to another.
Another feature that has been rumored is that Apple is developing a better interaction between Siri and the Messages app. This would allow Siri to auto-complete sentences more effectively and answer complex questions. Meanwhile, The Information has reported the Siri would gain deeper integration with the Shortcuts app. This would allow users to automate complex tasks. Shortcuts is already good with these tasks, allowing Siri to automatically do these tasks would be a game changer.
RCS is finally coming
You can thank the European Union and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) for this next feature. But Apple is finally adding RCS to the iPhone with iOS 18. This is going to make texting between Android and iOS much better. Even though the issues are on the iPhone side, most Android users get shamed for being green bubbles on another person’s phone.
Apple has said that they will be adopting the universal profile for RCS. Which will bring these features:
- Support for higher resolution photos and videos.
- Support for larger file sizes and file sharing.
- Audio messages.
- Cross-platform emoji reactions.
- Real-time typing indicators.
- Read receipts.
- Ability to send messages over cellular or Wi-Fi (SMS is cellular only). There is no cost to send an RCS message over Wi-Fi.
- Improved group chats.
Apple decided to add RCS to the iPhone instead of forcing users to open iMessage. It’s yet another change that the European Union forced Apple to make. That’s in addition to USB-C on the iPhone 15 series and allowing sideloading in the EU.
The biggest update ever?
Bloomberg recently described iOS 18 as the most “ambitious and compelling” update in years. Inside Apple, the update is reportedly “groundbreaking” and full of “major new features and designs, in addition to security and performance improvements.”
The report was still rather vague about what to expect with iOS 18, but so far, it’s looking very promising. This should be taken with a grain of salt, as right now, we are about five months out from the announcement of iOS 18 at WWDC. This means things can change quite drastically between now and then. Last year is a good example, as iOS 17 was set to be a large update, then it mostly turned into a bug fixing update with a few quality-of-life features that people were asking for. Still a good update, but not the biggest update iPhone has ever seen.
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