Apple Unveils iOS 18 with AI and Customization at Its Heart

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Key Takeaways

  • Apple has unveiled iOS 18.
  • There are major redesigns for the home screen, Photos, and app privacy.
  • It's available later this year.

Apple has previewed iOS 18, an AI- and customization-driven update that represents one of the iPhone’s largest-ever software upgrades.

It’s the showcase platform for Apple Intelligence, the company’s approach to generative AI. It and the Siri assistant can summarize content like notifications and messages, perform in-app tasks, and surface hard-to-find information. Safari can grab web data to summarize pages, find referenced locations or play music.

You now have more freedom to arrange your apps on the grid without being locked to a strict order. Icons now take on a new look in Dark Mode, and you can theme them with different colors.

Control Center also enables settings groups and new control types that developers can use for their apps. You can also change controls on the lock screen and iPhone 15 Pro Action buttons.

Privacy plays an additional role. You can “lock” apps, and also establish a hidden apps folder. You can limit apps’ and accessories’ access to your devices. A dedicated Passwords app builds on the existing Keychain with easier access to secure sign-ins and alerts for weak or reused passwords.

Messages in iOS 18 will let you schedule messages to send later. You can reformat text, send text effects, and tapback with any emoji character you like. Previously promised RCS support will be available. And if you’re away from cellular networks, you can use the satellite functionality of the iPhone 14 and 15 lines to message people through iMessage or SMS.

Mail lets you sort emails into Gmail-style categories.  Maps now has topographic maps with trail routes and custom hikes. Tap-to-cash in Wallet lets you exchange Apple Cash without exchanging details, while the app also includes event details. Game Mode is coming to the iPhone to improve performance and minimize distractions.

Photos has received its largest redesign to date, with improved navigation that includes filters for screenshots. You’ll find collections below your photo library that include “recent days.”

A developer beta of iOS 18 is available today, with a public beta coming in July. You’ll need at least an iPhone XS or later, although Apple Intelligence is limited to the iPhone 15 Pro family.