iOS 18: Everything We Know about the Next Update

What to Know

  • iOS 18 will be announced at the WWDC 2024 on June 10th at 10 a.m. PT. 
  • The beta version of the new software will be available shortly after the announcement and the public version of iOS 18 will come out sometime in the fall of 2024.
  • iOS 18 is all about the incorporation of AI with the added bonus of RCS messaging. 

When is the next iOS update? Historically, Apple announces a new iOS each year at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, releases a developer beta version immediately after, a public beta a few weeks after that, and then releases the full version in the fall. There is no reason to expect Apple to break the tradition this year. Another guess we can feel comfortable making is what it will be called: iOS 18. What else do we know about the next iOS update? Let's go over what we can expect, including which iPhones will be compatible with iOS 18 and what cool features may be coming our way.

iOS 18 Release Date

Apple typically announces its new iPhone operating system at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in early summer. Now that Apple has announced that WWDC 2024 will take place the second week of June, from the 10th through the 14th, we can assume we'll hear all about the new update at the keynote speech on June 10. Learn more about WWDC 2024 and find out how to tune in to watch it live!

After WWDC, Apple usually releases beta versions of the new iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS for users to try out and report bugs. The full iOS update typically launches sometime in September. We have no reason to believe we'll see anything significantly different this year, so we're penciling in an early fall release.

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Which iPhones Will No Longer Be Supported?

With iOS 17, Apple ditched iPhone 8 and X models from its lineup. While there are no strong rumors that iOS 18 will cut even more iPhones from being able to update to the latest iOS, there's still a high likelihood. This year, Apple plans to make some of the biggest changes to its operating system since its inception back in 2008. With this in mind, Apple may have to make hard choices about which iPhones have the capacity to operate such a sophisticated system. That means the XR, XS, and XS Max could be next on the chopping block. Learn how to update your iPhone to the latest iOS.

iOS 18: All About AI

The rise in popularity of generative AI like ChatGPT, Google's Genesis, and Midjourney has created a whole new way for users to interact with software. In a shareholder meeting back in February, Tim Cook said that Apple plans to "break new ground" and has been investing a "tremendous amount of time and effort" into AI. This speculation was all but confirmed in a not-so-subtle hint given by Greg Joswiak, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple, in a tweet on March 26. In the tweet, Jos capitalizes the words "Absolutely Incredible!" in a conspicuous manner. If iOS 18 is going to explore new ways to incorporate AI throughout its apps and systems, that may be the reason rumors report this as the largest update to iOS in a long time. 

The Future of Siri AI

Siri has been an example of what AI assistants can do for years. However, with the incoming incorporation of AI across Apple devices and platforms, Siri is likely in for a massive update. It is no accident that the colors of the WWDC 2024 branding are similar to those of the Siri icon. Perhaps Siri will get smarter, better able to answer complex questions, and discern subtext than she is. Perhaps she will work within native apps like Photos, and you can ask her to erase a subject or remove it from the background. There's a lot of room to speculate, and all the rumors are getting people pretty excited for the event. 

RCS Support for Messages

Aside from AI, the biggest news for iOS 18 is that Apple plans to support RCS messages. In Mark Gurman's Power On newsletter back in November, he announced that Apple would embrace RCS messages after a long battle against adopting the standard for more than a year. Using RCS means that iPhone and Android users can send each other larger files and communicate more seamlessly in group chats and text over Wi-Fi. This is a big win for iPhone users with Android best friends and family members. It does pose a question about the green and blue texts and whether, with the incorporation of RCS messaging, the color distinction will go away. That would certainly be a huge adjustment! 

Home Screen Updates

Gurman has also spearheaded some rumors about potential upgrades to Home Screen customization. We are all familiar with the press-and-hold wiggle system that Apple currently has in place. While the Home Screen would still snap icons into place on an invisible grid, according to these rumors, with iOS 18, you would be able to leave blank spaces or blank rows and columns. This is great news for people who like to customize their Home Screens or people who just want to have less icons on any given screen. 

Accessibility Updates

Another interesting rumor suggests that Apple could update Accessibility with several new options. One of these is called Adaptive Voice Shortcuts. This would allow users to map a specific verbal phrase to an accessibility feature. Users would create a custom statement and choose the accessibility setting they wish to use with said phrase. Adaptive Voice Shortcuts gives users the ability to toggle existing accessibility features like Voice Control, VoiceOver, etc. 

Freeform App Updates

Industry sources have reported to Mac Rumors that the Freeform app will receive additional updates and bug fixes in iOS 18. The biggest addition rumored to be coming to the app is a feature called "Scenes." This will give users the option to select specific sections within their boards to navigate quickly. Once named, users will have the ability to return to that area after viewing other places on the board. Users will be able to edit scenes later and collaborate with others. Additionally, Freeform Scenes will be compatible with iCloud

Let us know which rumors you think will come true for iOS 18!

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Author Details

Rachel Needell's picture

Author Details

Rachel Needell

Rachel Needell is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and a poet and author. With 10-plus years of experience working with Apple devices, she specializes in all-things iPad and is a Notes App expert, having worked on both the 2023 iPad Guide and the Notes App Guide. You can usually find her writing in the Daily Tip newsletter as one of our senior Tip writers. Rachel received her Master’s degree in English Literature in 2021 and her most recent work appears in the Winter ’21 edition of New Note Poetry. When she’s not obsessing about Apple products, you can find her voraciously reading fantasy books with her cat in Asheville, North Carolina.