You probably missed Apple's biggest iOS 18 messaging upgrade, and it's not RCS

iOS 18 Messages features
(Image credit: Apple)

Amongst the many announcements from Apple’s WWDC keynote on June 10, a major upgrade to Messages was revealed for iOS 18, and it’s not RCS.

Available to those who own an iPhone 14 or later when iOS 18 is made available later this year, you’ll be able to send texts from the Messages app via the Satellite feature. On the iOS 18 page of Apple’s site, it explains, “With the satellite capabilities on iPhone 14 or later, you can stay connected with friends and family over iMessage or SMS even without cellular or Wi-Fi service. When texting people on iMessage, you’ll also be able to use key features like sending and receiving messages, emoji, and Tapbacks. And all your iMessages sent over satellite are end-to-end encrypted.”

Being able to send texts from anywhere without a cellular connection will be huge, but that’s not all that’s new in Messages. In iOS 18, you can schedule a message to be sent later, even if your iPhone is switched off. Plus, you can also change the formatting of certain words, making it possible to send messages like this!

You can be forgiven for having missed this feature, as there were a lot of announcements made on June 10 at WWDC. The standout, however, was Apple Intelligence, the company’s innovative take on AI. This includes a brand-new version of its smart assistant Siri, generative prompts for creating unique emojis, and lots more. This service will be made available to iPhone 15 Pro and Apple silicon Mac users in the U.S. later this year.

Apple says that iOS 18 will be made available later this year for iPhone XS devices and above.

What else is new in iOS 18?

If there’s a theme for iOS 18, it’s customization. You can place your icons anywhere on the Home Screen and tint them any color you want. There’s also a toggle to switch them into a darker theme. Additionally, you can lock any app behind Touch ID or Face ID, requiring authentication before you can access it.

This customization theme carries on to the Lock Screen as well. You’ll finally be able to change the Flashlight and Camera shortcuts, found at the bottom of the screen since iOS 7, into something else.

Apple’s Photos app has undergone a huge redesign, introducing new options to sort and filter your photos, as well as enabling the app to create albums that include recent trips. The Settings app has also been revamped, with some options combined or moved into other sections, making it easier to navigate.

This is just the start of what iOS 18 offers. If you’d like to try out the upcoming update for your iPhone right now, follow our guide on how to download iOS 18.

iPhone 15 Pro | $999 at Apple

iPhone 15 Pro | $999 at Apple

Featuring a Titanium finish, a USB-C port, and the powerful A17 Pro chip, it's the perfect device to use the improved Messages app in iOS 18 later this year.

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Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use every day to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a monthly newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64, and Daily Star.