iOS 18: Features, release date, beta, download, Apple Intelligence

iOS 18 is Apple‘s upcoming operating system for iPhone models, including the rumored iPhone 16. Previewed during the WWDC 2024 keynote, this future software update offers Apple Intelligence, a Home Screen redesign, and so much more.


iOS 18 is full of new features for iPhone users. BGR has compiled the most important ones here for you.

Home Screen, Lock Screen, and Control Center revamp

iOS 18 big home screen redesigniOS 18: Big home screen redesign Image source: Apple Inc.

In previous iOS updates, Apple has tweaked the Home Screen, Lock Screen, and Control Center. This time, the company has finally taken customization to a new level. Now, it’s possible to organize apps in any way, which means you can place them anywhere.

App icons and widgets can take on a new look with a dark or tinted effect, and users can make apps appear larger to create the perfect experience for them. In the Lock Screen, it’s possible to choose new widgets instead of the Flashlight and Camera options.

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Finally, the Control Center has been redesigned. Users can create new groups of widgets for Home controls, connectivity, and music listening and reorganize the widgets’ locations. The new controls gallery displays the full set of available options, and users can customize how the controls are laid out, including adjusting them to the ideal size and creating entirely new groups.

There’s even an over-the-top new interactive flashlight widget.

Photos app gets the biggest update to date

Photos app on iOS 18 gets a major revampImage source: Apple Inc.

Apple has an ambitious plan for iOS 18’s Photos app. With its redesign, Apple wants to make it easier for users to find and relive special moments. With a single-view display, it offers new collections to help users browse by themes without having to organize content into albums.

Collections can be pinned to keep favorites easily accessible. A new carousel view presents highlights that update each day and feature favorite people, pets, places, and more. Apple says that auto-playing content throughout the app brings libraries to life “so past moments can be enjoyed while browsing.”

Messages get powerful new features

Image source: Apple Inc.

With iOS 18, Apple is adding even more features to Messages. These are the top new functions:

  • All-new text effects: You can amplify any letter, word, phrase, or emoji with dynamic, animated appearances
  • Personalize messages: Users can better express tone by adding formatting like bold, underline, italics, and strikethrough;
  • Tapbacks: Includes any emoji or sticker;
  • Schedule messages: Over the iMessage menu, you can schedule a message to send later;
  • Messages via satellite: When cellular and Wi-Fi connections aren’t available, you can send and receive texts, emojis, and Tapbacks over iMessage and SMS.

Passwords App and new ways to stay safe

Passwords app on iOS 18, macOS Sequoia, and iPadOS 18Image source: Apple Inc.

Building on the foundation of Keychain, the new Passwords app makes it easy for users to access their passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and verification codes. 

In addition, Apple has released new features that let users lock and hide apps. When an app is locked or hidden, content like messages or emails inside the app is hidden from search, notifications, and other places across the system. Users can only unlock it with Face ID and Touch ID. BGR teaches you how to hide and lock iPhone apps in iOS 18.

Everything new with Apple Music in iOS 18

iPhone 15 Pro, Apple Music, and Beats Solo BudsImage source: José Adorno for BGR

  • Event Tickets with Apple Wallet: The new Tickets in Wallet feature improves event information with venue and parking details, in-seat food delivery, and even recommended playlists from Apple Music. It all depends on the promoter.
  • Music Haptics: Apple Music has a breakthrough feature coming with iOS 18, but it’s likely not for you. With Music Haptics, Apple brings a new way for users who are deaf or hard of hearing to experience music on iPhone. The company explains: “With this feature enabled, the Taptic Engine in iPhone plays taps, textures, and refined vibrations to the audio of the music.”
  • UI tweaks: Apple has tweaked the Shuffle, Repeat, and Autoplay icons with bigger buttons.

You can learn more about Apple Music features in iOS 18 here.

Additional iOS 18 features

There’s even more Apple planned for iOS 18, including:

  • In Apple Maps, users can browse thousands of hikes across national parks in the United States and easily create their own custom walking routes, which they can access offline;
  • Game Mode enhances the gaming experience with more consistent frame rates, especially during long play sessions;
  • SharePlay with Apple Music allows even more users to share control of music playing from HomePod, Apple TV, or any Bluetooth-enabled speaker, making listening together more fun and engaging;
  • In the Notes app, formulas and equations entered while typing are solved instantly with Math Notes; you can learn more about the new Notes app here;
  • In Journal, an all-new insights view helps users keep track of their journaling goals, and the ability to search and sort entries makes it easy to enjoy past memories. You can learn more about the new Journal app here;
  • Calendar becomes even more helpful by showing both events and tasks from Reminders.

iOS 18 Apple Intelligence’s major features

Apple Intelligence running on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.Apple Intelligence running on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Image source: Apple Inc.

For now, exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro users, Apple will offer Apple Intelligence, which is AI built-in with “privacy from the ground up.” These are the main features:

  • Writing Tools: Users can rewrite, proofread, and summarize text nearly everywhere they write, including Mail, Notes, Pages, and third-party apps;
  • Image Playground: Users can create playful images in seconds, choosing from Animation, Illustration, or Sketch. This app is built right into apps like Messages and is also available in a dedicated app;
  • Genmoji: With this function, iPhone users will use AI to generate new emoji characters based on text input, such as “T-rex wearing a tutu on a surfboard.” Learn more about it here;
  • Memories in Photos: Users can create stories they want to see just by typing a description. Apple Intelligence will pick out the best photos and videos based on the description, craft a storyline with chapters based on themes identified from the photos, and arrange them into a movie with its own narrative arc;
  • Clean Up tool: This Photos app feature can identify and remove distracting objects in the background of a photo without accidentally altering the subject;
  • Siri: Users type to Siri and switch between text and voice to communicate with Siri in whatever way feels right for the moment.
  • ChatGPT integration: When you feel Apple Intelligence isn’t enough, you can allow ChatGPT to access Writing Tools and other features for a better response.

Delayed iOS 18 features

Apple has a lot more to be released later this year.

Mail is getting smarter

Image source: Apple Inc.

Later this year, Mail will introduce new ways for users to manage their inboxes. On-device categorization organizes and sorts incoming emails into Primary for personal and time-sensitive emails, Transactions for confirmations and receipts, Updates for news and social notifications, and Promotions for marketing emails and coupons. Mail also features a new digest view that pulls together all of the relevant emails from a business, allowing users to quickly scan for what’s important at the moment.

RCS is coming

iOS 17.2 iMessage sticker reactionImage source: José Adorno for BGR

Last year, Apple announced that RCS messaging support would be available in 2024. This change will make it easier to group messages, send high-quality photos and videos, share their location, and more with RCS-supported texts, which means communication between iPhone and Android users over text will be easier.

Still, features like memoji, stickers, edit, and unsend messages will continue to be iMessage-exclusive. Another catch is that after Apple introduces RCS support in 2024, the carriers will also need to add it on their end, so this feature might be added later in the iOS 18 cycle.

You can have a first look at RCS texting here.

New emojis

iOS 17.4 new emojisImage source: José Adorno for BGR

During every iOS cycle, Apple always adds new emojis. Even though they don’t come with the first major update, the company unveils them during the life cycle of the newest operating system, most likely with version x.4 of that system.

While we already have an idea of the possible emojis coming with iPadOS 18 early next year, Apple will also use generative AI to allow users to create their own emojis. It’s called Genmoji

Early iOS 18 code teases four new iPhone models

According to MacRumors, early development versions of the iOS 18 operating system contain references to four new iPhone models. The code does not reveal anything that we didn’t know about the upcoming phones, but it does indicate that Apple might not have any big surprises in store for consumers next year.

iOS 18, codenamed “Crystal” internally, contains references to the following four iPhones:

  • D47 – ‌iPhone 16‌
  • D48 – ‌iPhone 16‌ Plus
  • D93 – iPhone 16 Pro
  • D94 – ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max

The names are also likely to be the ones above, as Apple doesn’t plan to change the brand of its new iPhones. Another leaker also suggested these new iPhones will feature the new A18 chip. That said, the rumored iPhone Ultra might not have been more than just a dream.

Apple reveals iOS 18 accessibility features before WWDC 2024

iOS 18 accessibility featuresImage source: Apple Inc.

Before WWDC 2024 kicked off, Apple announced several accessibility features coming to the iPhone later this year. Here are some of them:

  • Music Haptics: Music Haptics is a new way for users who are deaf or hard of hearing to experience music on the iPhone. With this accessibility feature turned on, the iPhone’s Taptic Engine plays taps, textures, and refined vibrations to the music’s audio. Music Haptics works across millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog and will be available as an API for developers to make music more accessible in their apps.
  • Wide Range of Speech: With Vocal Shortcuts, iPhone and iPad users can assign custom utterances that Siri can understand to launch shortcuts and complete complex tasks. Listen for Atypical Speech, another new feature, gives users an option for enhancing speech recognition for a wider range of speech.
  • Vehicle Motion Cues: Vehicle Motion Cues is a new experience for iPhone and iPad that can help reduce motion sickness for passengers in moving vehicles. With Vehicle Motion Cues, animated dots on the edges of the screen represent changes in vehicle motion to help reduce sensory conflict without interfering with the main content.
  • CarPlay gets Voice Control: Accessibility features coming to CarPlay include Voice Control, Color Filters, and Sound Recognition. With Voice Control, users can navigate CarPlay and control apps with just their voice. With Sound Recognition, drivers or passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing can turn on alerts to be notified of car horns and sirens. For users who are colorblind, Color Filters make the CarPlay interface visually easier to use, with additional visual accessibility features including Bold Text and Large Text.

Official iOS 18 download

iOS 18, codenamed Crystal, has been announced on June 10. The official download is expected later this fall, most likely alongside the iPhone 16 official announcement.

How to download iOS 18 beta

iOS 18 beta downloadImage source: José Adorno for BGR

The first developer’s beta is already available for iPhone users. Apple is expected to release a public beta in July, followed by the official release later this fall. Below are the steps to download iOS 18 beta.

  • On your iPhone, open the Settings app
  • Tap on General and Software Update
  • Tap on Beta Updates and enable iOS 18 Developer Beta

Here we detail nine reasons to install the newest beta.

iOS 18 supported devices

iPhone 15 Pro Max camerasiPhone 15 Pro Max camera system. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

With iOS 17, Apple ditched the iPhone 8 and iPhone X models from its lineup. With iOS 18, Apple continues to offer support for the same iPhones. However, Apple Intelligence features will be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models.

That said, these are the iPhone models that can run this new system:

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

Reports suggest the cheaper iPhone 16 will get those top AI functions as well.


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