iOS 18: New features, release date, and rumors

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As we look ahead to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2024, excitement is building for the expected launch of iOS 18. Like many, I'm eager to see how Apple will integrate advanced AI capabilities this time around. With the surge of interest in tools like ChatGPT, it's expected that iOS 18 will feature significant AI enhancements that promise a smarter, more intuitive interface for users.

Despite the buzz, details about iOS 18 remain scarce, with only several features confirmed so far. However, below, you'll find the latest whispers about the iOS 18 potential release date and the rumored features. So, if you're excited to learn more about how Apple is going to power up the iPhone experience in 2024, keep reading!

I'll be updating this page as new leaks and updates come in, so check back often to stay in the loop.

iOS 18 release date

Apple's WWDC 24 kicks off on June 10, and that's when we'll see iOS 18 for the first time. Following tradition, a developer beta of iOS 18 is expected right after the opening keynote. 

About a month later, a more stable public beta of iOS 18 should be released.

Finally, you'll be able to enjoy iOS 18 on your iPhone in September 2024. Woohoo! 

iOS 18 supported devices

Most iPhones from the iPhone 11 series onwards are expected to support iOS 18. However, it's unclear whether older models like the iPhone XR, iPhone Xs, and iPhone Xs Max will continue to be supported, as they typically fall outside of Apple's usual five-year support window.

Interestingly, Apple may be reconsidering its support timeline in response to Google's recent decision to offer seven years of software support for its Pixel 8 series. If Apple adopts a similar approach, it could dramatically change industry standards and force other manufacturers to extend their support timelines.

In summary, while it's generally expected that the iPhone X series will be phased out, there are rumors that these older models could surprisingly receive the iOS 18 update.

List of iOS 18 supported 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)

iOS 18 features

Are you already wondering what Apple has prepared for us? Let's finally taste the new rumored features.

Eye Tracking: Navigating devices with gaze control 

The Eye Tracking feature utilizes the front-facing camera on devices to accurately track where a user is looking on the screen. This technology enables users to navigate their devices entirely with their eye movements, eliminating the need for touch input. By simply looking at a button, users can highlight it, and by maintaining their gaze on the button for a few seconds, they can select it. This hands-free method offers a new level of accessibility and ease of use, particularly benefiting those with physical limitations that make traditional touch interactions challenging.

Music Haptics: Enhancing the musical experience with tactile feedback

This is one of my favorites! Music Haptics introduces an innovative way for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy music on their iPhone. When enabled, this feature uses iPhone's Taptic Engine to translate music into taps, textures and subtle vibrations that correspond to the audio. Compatible with millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog, Music Haptics will also be available to developers through an API, allowing them to integrate this accessibility feature into their own applications.

Wide Range of Speech: Customizing Siri for different voice commands

Also new is something called Wide Range of Speech. With Vocal Shortcuts, iPhone and iPad users can assign custom utterances that Siri understands to launch shortcuts and complete complex tasks. Listen for Atypical Speech, another new feature, gives users the option to improve speech recognition for a wider range of speech.

Vehicle Motion: Helping reduce motion sickness

This is another innovative feature by Apple that demonstrates the company's commitment to accessibility and user's comfort. Many have reported experiencing motion sickness when using their iPhone or iPad in a moving vehicle. Apple's new Motion Sync feature addresses this issue by displaying animated dots along the edges of the screen to mirror the motion of the vehicle. This is intended to "reduce sensory conflict" by aligning the visual input with the physical motion the user is experiencing.

CarPlay: Enhancing accessibility with new features

CarPlay is introducing new accessibility features: Voice Control, Color Filters, and Sound Recognition. Voice Control lets users navigate and manage apps using only their voice. Sound Recognition alerts those who are deaf or hard of hearing to important sounds like sirens and horns. For those with color vision deficiencies, Color Filters adjust the display for easier viewing. Additional features like Bold Text and Large Text also enhance visual accessibility.

AirPods Pro Hearing Aid Mode: Enhancing audio accessibility in iOS 18

Mark Gurman, a journalist renowned for his accurate reports on Apple's technologies and developments, states that iOS 18 is expected to include a new hearing aid mode for AirPods. This feature, an expansion of Apple's existing conversation boost functionality, aims to enhance the capabilities of the AirPods Pro 2, potentially turning them into a significant accessibility device. 

iOS 18: App upgrades

iOS 18 is set to update core apps including Notes, Apple Maps, Calendar, Reminders, etc. Details on these updates are limited, though enhancements are anticipated. Let's dive deeper into the details. 

Safari

Apple's browser will receive a major update featuring a new look and advanced tools. An "Intelligent Search'' will summarize key webpage content using AI, and a "Web Eraser" tool will allow users to hide unwanted web page elements persistently. Additionally, a redesigned quick-access menu will be integrated into the address bar, merging page tools with features from the Share Sheet. Compatibility between iPadOS and macOS Safari versions will also be enhanced.

Apple Maps

Upcoming features include custom route capabilities, allowing users to select preferred roads, and the introduction of topographic maps from watchOS 10, useful for outdoor activities.

Notes

New functionalities will include direct voice memo recordings, support for mathematical notations, and AI-driven summaries and transcriptions of audio recordings.

Calendar and Reminders

Integration of Reminders within the Calendar app will enhance task visibility and interaction. For example, you can add a reminder directly in the Calendar app without having to open the Reminders app. Similarly, any reminder you set in the Reminders app will automatically appear in your Calendar. 

Calculator App

A new universal Calculator app compatible across iPhone, iPad, and macOS will debut, featuring a unified design and improved functionalities like unit conversions and a history of calculations.

Apple Music

A new feature may allow users to generate playlists based on mood, time of day, and other inputs. This could revolutionize the way you experience music, making every playlist feel like it was made for the moment!

Shortcuts

Enhanced Siri integration will simplify the automation of complex tasks.

Additional iOS 18 updates

You won't be surprised if I tell you that we still have a lot left for "dessert"? You can't expect anything less from Apple! Here are more extra updates in iOS 18.

VoiceOver

VoiceOver for users who are blind or have low vision will be enhanced with new voices, a flexible Voice Rotor, custom volume controls, and customizable VoiceOver keyboard shortcuts on Mac.

Magnifier

Magnifier will introduce a new Reader Mode and a simplified way to activate Detection Mode using the Action button.

Braille Screen Input

Braille support enhancements include a new method for initiating and maintaining Braille Screen Input for more efficient control and text editing. Additionally, Braille Screen Input will now support the Japanese language, multi-line braille with Dot Pad, and customizable input and output tables.

Hover Typing

Hover Typing will assist users with low vision by displaying larger text in their preferred font and color when typing in a text field.

Personal Voice

For users at risk of losing their ability to speak, Personal Voice will be available in Mandarin Chinese, allowing the creation of a personal voice with shortened phrases for those who have difficulty pronouncing or reading full sentences.

Live Speech and Live Captions

Live Speech for non speaking users will now feature categories and work simultaneously with Live Captions.

Virtual Trackpad

Virtual Trackpad for AssistiveTouch will help users with physical disabilities by allowing them to control their device using a designated small screen area as a resizable trackpad.

Switch Control

Switch Control will be updated to include a new option that uses the iPhone and iPad cameras to recognize finger-tap gestures as switches.

Voice Control

Voice Control enhancements will support custom vocabularies and complex words for improved accessibility.

Final thoughts 

The new features coming with iOS 18 look pretty impressive. But if you're looking to expand your iPhone's capabilities right now and are in the EU, you might want to check out Setapp Mobile. It's a subscription service that gives you access to a curated collection of iOS apps that enhance your phone's functionality for various tasks without waiting for the next update.

Here are just a few apps you might benefit from:

  • Elk auto-detects and converts currencies.
  • GetSound enables you to listen to the soundscape that matches the location and weather you are in.
  • PDF Search helps you find anything in a PDF with Al.
  • BriefMind converts conversations and audio into structured notes.

You can also take advantage of 240+ Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps for almost any task by installing Setapp on your Mac. All apps are free to try without any limitations.

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