Everything New and Updated with Siri in iOS 18

Apple's newest iPhone operating system, iOS 18, is on the horizon. Here's a glimpse of what we know about the potential impacts of this update on Siri, including enhancements and new features.

Everything New and Updated with Siri in iOS 18

iOS 18, Apple's newest iPhone operating system, is set to bring some significant changes to Siri. Here's a glimpse of what we know about the potential impacts of this update on the voice assistant, including enhancements and new features.

When will iOS 18 be released?

iOS 18 will be announced at the Worldwide Developer Conference on June 10, 2024.

Based on previous releases, iOS 18 will be available from September 2024.

How to download a beta version of iOS 18

Apple's beta program, also known as the Apple Beta Software Program, allows users to test out pre-release versions of Apple software, including the latest versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The program is free to join and available to anyone with a compatible Apple device.

By participating in the beta program, you can get early access to new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements and can provide feedback to Apple on any issues you encounter. This feedback helps Apple identify and address problems before the software’s final release.

It’s important to note that beta software is not fully polished and may contain bugs or other issues that could impact your device’s functionality. As such, Apple recommends that users only install beta software on a secondary device and regularly back up their data.

To join the Apple Beta Software Program, sign up on Apple's website and follow the instructions to download and install the beta software on your device.

The public beta version of iOS 18 will likely be released in July 2024.

Which iPhone models will support iOS 18?

Knowing which models are compatible is essential if you plan to update your iPhone to iOS 18. Keep in mind that some features may not be supported on older devices. Here’s a list of iPhones that may run iOS 18.

iOS 18 is expected to run on all iPhones that can run iOS 17, including the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone SE 2, and newer.

  • All iPhone 15, 14, 13, 12 and 11 models
  • iPhone XS and XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd gen)

It is speculated that the upcoming iPadOS 18 might not support the first-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, both powered by the A10X Fusion chip. Additionally, it's rumored that the update may not be compatible with iPad models of the sixth and seventh generations.

The update should also be compatible with the following iPads:

  • iPad Pro: 2018 and later
  • iPad Air: 2019 and later
  • iPad mini: 2019 and later
  • iPad: 2020 and later

Major New Siri features

Great news for iPhone users! It appears that Siri will be receiving significant upgrades with the upcoming release of iOS 18.

Siri is set to leverage the artificial intelligence enhancements that will be introduced with iOS 18. A (now removed) leak suggested Apple plans to completely overhaul Siri using large-language models (LLMs), aiming to transform it into the "ultimate virtual assistant."

LLMs, which power chatbots like ChatGPT, harness vast amounts of data and utilize algorithms to create content based on this information.

Rumors indicate that Siri will feature improved natural conversation skills and enhanced user personalization. This new functionality will be device-wide, enabling Siri to maintain conversation details across multiple devices.

Mark Gurman from Bloomberg has mentioned that Apple is working on enhancing the interaction between Siri and the Messages app. This would allow Siri to auto-complete sentences more efficiently and respond to complex queries.

As per The Information, Siri could have a deeper integration with the Shortcuts app, enabling users to automate intricate tasks. For instance, Siri might be able to capture a sequence of five photos, convert them into a JPG, and send the resulting images to someone, all in a single command.

New Apple AI

Apple is reportedly striving to match (or catch up with) companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and OpenAI, which have a head start in AI. The company is investing over $1 billion annually in AI research and is expected to integrate AI in various ways in iOS 18, enhancing numerous built-in apps.

Apple doesn't plan to include its own generative AI chatbot in iOS 18 but may opt for a chat feature utilizing technology from Google or OpenAI. Talks are underway with Google about integrating the Gemini AI engine into the iPhone in iOS 18. Apple aims to license Google's large-language models, but the terms and branding are yet to be finalized.

The initial AI features in iOS 18 are planned to operate on-device, eschewing reliance on cloud servers. However, due to the required processing power, some features might be exclusive to iPhone 16 models with their superior chips.

The upcoming A18 chip, slated for the iPhone 16 Pro models, may feature an upgraded Neural Engine with more cores, enabling better AI/machine learning performance.

Vocal Shortcuts

Already confirmed by Apple, “Vocal Shortcuts” will allow users to assign custom phrases, that Siri can understand, to run shortcuts and launch multistep, complex tasks. Apple hasn’t released any details on how the feature works, but in theory, it means you can ask Siri without asking Siri.

UI Design Changes

The forthcoming iOS 18 update is anticipated to introduce a number of design modifications. According to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, Apple is planning to refresh the design of the operating system, potentially as soon as this year.

While it's possible that iOS might incorporate some design elements from visionOS, a complete transformation to mirror visionOS is not expected. This is despite rumors suggesting that iOS 18 would be redesigned to align with visionOS.

A significant change to the Home Screen is projected to be a key feature of iOS 18. This change aims to provide iPhone users with greater customization options, thereby enhancing the aesthetic appeal of their devices. Apple aims to offer users more flexibility in arranging their app icons.

While app icons are likely to remain anchored to an invisible grid for the sake of organization, the update could provide the added flexibility to create empty spaces, rows, and columns between app icons. This anticipated update to the Home Screen is expected to be the most substantial in recent years, comparable to the Lock Screen modifications introduced with iOS 16.

Apple Maps Improvements

The Apple Maps application in the upcoming iOS 18 could receive some new features that greatly enhance the user experience.

One of the rumored features is the support for custom routes. This would allow Apple Maps users to input their preferred routes, offering a level of personalization that goes beyond the pre-set options currently provided by Apple. The ability to set custom routes could be a game-changer for users, as it would allow them to choose the roads they wish to travel on, enjoy a scenic drive, or maybe prefer a particular route due to its familiarity. This feature would give users more control over their navigation experience, catering to their individual preferences and needs.

Apple Watch
Apple Watch

In addition to custom routes, Apple is also believed to be planning to introduce the topographic map feature from watchOS 10 to the iPhone in iOS 18. Topographic maps are a valuable tool for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, as they provide detailed information, including trails, contour lines, elevation data, points of interest, and more.

Notes App

iOS 18 is set to bring significant enhancements to the Notes app. One expected feature is the ability to record voice memos directly within the application. This functionality is expected to improve the user experience by allowing voice recordings to be embedded seamlessly into the notes.

In addition to the voice memo feature, Apple is also thought to be extending the Notes app's capabilities by adding support for the display of mathematical notation. This feature will allow users to incorporate a wider variety of equations into their notes. This could prove to be a valuable tool for students, academics, and professionals who frequently deal with mathematical equations and would benefit from the ability to easily include and view these within their notes.

Freeform App

The Freeform app is gearing up for an enhancement that includes the introduction of a novel feature referred to as Scenes. This feature is designed to allow users to pinpoint and select distinct sections, or "Scenes," within their boards. The primary aim of this feature is to streamline navigation, making it more efficient and user-friendly.

To make this feature more accessible and easy to use, a new user interface, known as the "Scenes UI," will be implemented. This innovative UI is intended to serve as a platform where users can effortlessly flip or switch between their saved scenes. This addition is expected to significantly improve the user experience by offering a more organized and swift way to navigate through different scenes within the boards.

Freeform
Freeform

Safari Browsing Assistant

iOS 18 may introduce a new Safari browsing assistant. The exact functionality and operation of this Safari browsing assistant remain uncertain. However, it's plausible that this feature could be one of the anticipated AI enhancements speculated to be part of the update.

AirPods Pro 2 ‘Hearing Aid Mode’

The forthcoming iOS 18 is anticipated to bring a new feature known as Hearing Aid Mode to the AirPods Pro. Initially, this feature was speculated to be exclusive to the next-generation AirPods Pro. However, recent information suggests Apple plans to roll out this feature through a software update.

Apple already provides a feature called Conversation Boost, which amplifies the volume and enhances the clarity of people speaking directly in front of the wearer. Therefore, the specific functionalities and benefits of the new hearing aid mode, compared to the existing features, are yet to be clarified.

Upgraded Accessibility Features

Apple is developing novel Accessibility enhancements for iOS 18 and macOS 15. A feature known as Adaptive Voice Shortcuts will enable users to formulate a personalized phrase and associate it with a specific accessibility setting. Upon speaking the phrase, the corresponding accessibility option will be activated. This will allow users to switch on accessibility features such as VoiceOver, Voice Control, and Zoom, among others.

The Live Speech function will be upgraded with a feature that allows users to establish their own categories. These can be utilized to arrange custom phrases systematically.

RCS for Better Texting With Android Users

Apple plans to incorporate the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard as an SMS/MMS alternative in 2024. While iMessage will continue to be the go-to for iPhone-to-iPhone conversations, RCS will significantly enhance communication between iPhone and Android devices.

With RCS, issues such as errors when sending photos and videos to Android users from an iPhone will be a thing of the past. Additionally, group chats are expected to perform better. Cross-platform emoji reactions, read receipts, and live typing indicators are among the other features that will be introduced.