iOS 18: Everything you need to know about Apple Intelligence, ChatGPT on iPhone, and more

iOS 18
(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 18 is here and it's big. The very best in iPhone software to date, iOS 18 will power all of Apple's best iPhones, including the upcoming iPhone 16, when it is released to the public in the fall. Unveiled at WWDC 2024, the new software is available right now to download as a beta, but we warned, it's unstable!

Thanks in no small part to the advent of AI, dubbed Apple Intelligence, this is one of the biggest software changes ever made to the iPhone. Not only does it feature AI tools for generating images and text, organizing your life, and controlling your apps, but it also brings a big upgrade to Siri. On top of all that, there's integration with ChatGPT for those extra-big tasks. 

Beyond AI, the new iOS 18 upgrade is all about customization, with new tools to move apps around your Home Screen, change the size of the tiles, and even tint your icons to match your wallpaper. In tow are updates to Messages, Control Center, Mail, Photos, and support for RCS messaging. 

So what's coming to iOS 18, when is it coming out, and who will be able to use it? Here's everything you need to know. 

iOS 18: Every new feature

Apple Intelligence


(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has jammed AI into every facet of iOS 18. Apple's own AI, Apple Intelligence, powers numerous new features including writing and communication tools that can rewrite, proofread, and summarize text "nearly everywhere" including Mail, Notes, and Pages. 

It can generate images in three styles, Animation, Illustration, and Sketch, either in apps like Messages or in its own dedicated app. Memories in Photos can use AI to pick your best shots based on a description, and there are new AI editing tools to help you clean them up, too. 

Siri is also getting a massive upgrade, with more natural and contextually relevant responses. Users can type to Siri, or use their voice, or a mixture of the two. Siri can even notice if you trip over your words, making adjustments on the fly. 

It's all very private, too, Apple has announced a new Private Cloud Compute that will keep most of the AI on-device, but flex to the cloud when needed. all of the data runs on dedicated Apple silicon servers that don't store data. 

ChatGPT on iPhone

ChatGPT-4o is also being integrated into iPhone, as well as iPad and Mac, with writing tools, image and document queries, and more. With iOS 18, users can ask Siri questions and get answers from ChatGPT. ChatGPT can also access Apple's systemwide Writing Tools, helping users generate written content, as well as images in a variety of styles. 


iOS Customization

(Image credit: Apple)

In iOS 18, users will be able to customize their Home Screen, Lock Screen, and Control Center. That includes arranging apps and widgets in any open space without grid restrictions. There are also new dark and tint effects so you can change the colors of your apps to suit your wallpaper. 

Control Center

iOS Customization

(Image credit: Apple)

Control Center includes new customization to give you quick access to your most-used controls including media playback and your Smart Home. You can also now add controls from third-party apps, and a new gallery shows all the available options you can add to your customized settings hub. Finally, you can also change the controls on your Lock Screen, ditching the torch or camera for something else. The iPhone 15 Pro's Action button also now lets you invoke controls from the gallery. 


iOS 18

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's Photos app on iPhone has been updated with a new design that helps you find moments and memories. It has a simplified grid, new collections, a new Carousel, and customization. 

The new Photos app will automatically organize your library by topic, including Trips, People & Pets, and more. The new Carousel highlights your best photos as posters, with a new set each day. 

Messages and RCS

iOS 18

(Image credit: Apple)

Messages in iOS 18 include new Tapbacks, text effects such as bold and italics, and message scheduling. You can now send messages to your friends with all these new formatting options, making your messages really stand out. If you want to react to a message with an emojiy, the original set of six have been updated. More importantly, you can now chose any from your library to react in the ways you want. 

The biggest news? Your iPhone now supports RCS messaging for greater compatibility with users on Android. RCS support will bring more reliable group messaging and better media sharing. 

Users can now send messages via satellite when they don't have cellular or Wi-Fi using the same technology that powers Emergency SOS. The feature supports both iMessage and SMS and all the messages are encrypted. 

Emergency SOS Live Video

Not only can iOS 18 users now send texts and iMessages via Satellite on iPhone and iPhone 15, but a new Emergency SOS Live Video feature now lets users in an emergency send video, either as a live call or recorded video, to emergency responders. 


Apple Mail

(Image credit: Apple)

The Mail app on iPhone now includes new ways to manage your inbox, including on-device categorization that can your your emails. A new Primary category will show you a more focused view of your emails, including messages that are time sensitive and emails from friends, family, or colleagues. Messages can also be grouped, for instance the app can now identify emails all relating to a holiday or specific booking, putting them all in one place. 


Apple Mail

(Image credit: Apple)

Safari on iOS now features Highlights and a redesigned Reader experience that can show you key information from a webpage quickly, such as directions. Reader can also now summarize articles and even provide a table of contents. 


A new Passwords app, also available on iPad and Mac, takes Keychain and brings it to a standalone app with access to passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and verification codes for 2FA. It also includes alerts for weaknesses and data breaches. The Passwords app is also coming to Windows and Apple Vision Pro, giving you true platform password sharing.

Privacy upgrades: App locking

New privacy upgrades in iOS 18 let you lock or hide your apps to keep them private. You can lock an app so that it can't be accessed without Face ID or Touch ID, or hide it in a hidden apps folder, which can also be locked. Information from these apps also can't be shared with other features on iOS such as search, notifications, and Spotlight. 


Actually announced before WWDC 2024, new accessibility upgrades coming to iOS 18 include Eye tracking, which lets you control your iPhone with your eyes, as well as Music Haptics to help deaf or hard of hearing users experience Apple Music through vibrations. New Vocal Shortcuts can also let users perform tasks by making a custom sound. 

iOS 18: Other new features

Other iOS 18 updates include:

  • Apple Maps includes custom walking routes, national park hikes, and more
  • A new Game Mode on iOS enhances frame rates and improves the responsiveness of AirPods and game controllers
  • Apple Pay now lets you redeem rewards, and Tap to Cash lets users send and receive Apple Cash simply by holding two iPhones together
  • Tickets in Apple Wallet upgraded with richer information
  • SharePlay with Apple Music gives more users control of what's playing over HomePod, Apple TV, or any Bluetooth speaker. 
  • AirPods get Siri gestures, you can now nod or shake your head to respond to Siri announcements
  • Notes now include Math Notes for solving formulas, and there are new color options for text
  • Journal features new insights to help you track your goals, and you can also search for entries
  • Calendar now includes events and tasks from reminders
  • Health app features a redesigned Medical ID for first responders
  • Emergency SOS Live video now lets you stream video or send recorded media over satellite to emergency dispatchers 
  • The Home app now includes guests to give guests select controls over smart home accessories and controls for robot vacuums. Other new features include electricity monitoring and a feature that lets you automatically unlock your front door from a certain distance
  • New charging features will let you set the maximum amount of charge on your iPhone, between 80 and 100%, to preserve battery longevity. A new notification will also show you when you're using a slow charger
  • Apple Music has a new Spotify-esque queue that boosts the look at your upcoming songs
  • On Pro iPhone models, you can now adjust the beam angle of your torch
  • The iCloud app has been overhauled with a new interface

iOS 18: Release date

iPhone 15 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

You can download the iOS 18 developer beta right now, and the new software will be launched later this year. iOS 18 should be unveiled alongside the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro. This is expected to take place in early September.

iOS 18: Compatible devices

iOS 18 is compatible with the following devices:

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

The story so far: iOS 17

iOS 17 image showing StandBy

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple released iOS 17 in September 2023 after its own months-long beta program that saw developers and public beta testers put it through its paces. It was also a software update that brought a number of new features.

StandBy was one of the biggest new features, one that turns an iPhone into a status board of sorts whenever it's charging and placed in landscape orientation. That makes it perfect for use with MagSafe chargers and puts information like the time and app-based widgets right in front of you — and it's particularly great on iPhones with an always-on display.

Another big upgrade was interactive widgets, allowing apps to update themselves when tapped. That also means that apps no longer have to launch whenever a widget is tapped — an excellent addition for to-do list apps and others that can now display interactive information on-screen at all times.

Other notable additions include new mental health monitoring and iOS 17.2's new Journal app alongside Messages improvements.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9