One of the most used iPhone features is getting an overhaul in iOS 18, but it won't work with iPhone 15 — here's why

flashlight iOS 18
(Image credit: Future / Apple)
WWDC 2024

WWDC 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

1. iOS 18what's next for iPhone?
iPadOS 18 — will Apple finally unleash the power of iPad?
macOS 15 — what's new for Mac?
4. Apple Intelligence — what will it be able to do?

Ever dropped your remote control down the side of your sofa or gone to check on your boiler late at night? If so you’ll know just how useful the torch on iOS really is. For many, the flashlight on the best iPhones is one of the most used and handy features, available directly from the Lock Screen.

In iOS 18, recently unveiled by Apple at WWDC 2024, the flashlight has got an upgrade with new settings that let you customize the bright light more than ever before. That said, iPhone 15 owners are missing out as the new settings are exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and the iPhone 14 Pro (maybe). Here’s why.

An iOS 18 flashlight upgrade, but not for everyone

Activate the flashlight on iOS 18 beta and you’ll notice the Dynamic Island pop-up looks a little different than before. Now you can not only change the luminosity of the torch, but also the beam spread, allowing you to concentrate the light on a particular area.

This new setting is only present on iPhones like the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max because they have a different flash module than other iPhones called Adaptive True Tone flash. Introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro in 2022, the Adaptive True Tone flash has an array of nine LEDs that can change patterns allowing you to customize the beam unlike the regular True Tone flash found on other models like the iPhone 15.

iOS 18 is currently in developer beta so this could change but considering the difference in hardware we expect this feature to be exclusive to the 15 Pro and maybe the 14 Pro, too. We haven’t been able to test the beta on an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max to confirm but considering those iPhones also have the Adaptive True Tone flash we expect the upgrades to be present. 

The new setting for the torch isn’t the only feature that iPhone 15 owners will miss out on in iOS 18 — Apple Intelligence, the biggest software advancement for iPhone in years will not work on the device. So iPhone 15 owners, if you want to access Apple Intelligence and an upgraded flashlight you’ll need to think about upgrading when the iPhone 16 launches later this year.

WWDC 2024 LIVE as it happened. Or check out our roundups for all the latest on the newly announced iOS 18iPadOS 18macOS 15watchOS 11visionOS 2, and Apple Intelligence.

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John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.