What is Apple Intelligence? Your Questions Answered

Apple Intelligence - Apple’s powerful new AI - puts a rocket under Siri. Discover its capabilities, release date, and how it can be used.

What is Apple Intelligence? Your Questions Answered

Apple has unveiled their hotly anticipated venture into the world of AI, called Apple Intelligence, cleverly managing to co-opt “AI” as a marketing term in the process.

While this is excellent news for Siri users, there is a lot of information to take in, with some confusion about what Apple Intelligence is, and how it will help us in our daily lives.

In this article, we’ve answered as many questions as we can with what we know so far. Once we get our hands on the beta version of Apple Intelligence, we’ll be updating our how-to guides so you’ll be able to get up and running with it as quickly as possible.

What is Apple Intelligence?

Apple Intelligence is billed as “an intelligence system for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that combines the power of generative models with personal context to deliver intelligence that’s incredibly useful and relevant.”

Essentially, this means Siri on steroids, taking the virtual assistant much, much further than has ever been possible. Apple Intelligence works in - and between - apps, learns from your behavior, and understands conversational language much more naturally than before.


What does Apple Intelligence do?

Siri 2.0

Instead of being ‘siloed’ and only able to perform one request at a time, Siri is now system-wide and can easily understand your intentions across apps.

This makes communicating with Siri much more natural. When you refer to something you mentioned in a previous request or just looked at on your device, Siri knows what you’re talking about.

For example, you can say things like:

Siri, play that song Jason sent me the other day.
Siri, show me photos of Jason with a dog.
Siri, move this note into my Vacation folder.
“Siri, show me messages from Ivana about books.”
“Siri, show me messages from Ivana about books.”

Apple provides further examples:

Can’t remember if a friend shared that recipe with you in a note, a text, or an email? Need your passport number while booking a flight? Siri can use its knowledge of the information on your device to help find what you’re looking for, without compromising your privacy.

As well as saying “Siri” or “Hey Siri,” you can double tap on the bottom of your iPhone or iPad screen and Type to Siri from anywhere in the system when you don’t want to speak out loud.

Writing Tools

Apple Intelligence powers Writing Tools in all apps across your device, which can help you perform writing tasks, like summarizing text, rewriting different versions, and changing the tone or wording of a document.

The Rewrite feature will help you find the right words and mood for an email or add humor to a message. Proofread offers suggested edits and provides explanations for each proposed change.

Apple Intelligence “Writing Tools”
Apple Intelligence “Writing Tools”

ChatGPT is integrated into Siri and Writing Tools, and can provide additional knowledge for specific requests, as well as create and illustrate original content.

Priority Notifications

Priority Notifications places alerts at the top of a notification stack to show what's most important to you. It provides summaries to help you keep on top of notifications, such as when a group chat is particularly busy.

Priority Messages

Several enhancements to the Mail app improve email management and efficiency. The Priority Messages section, located at the top of the inbox, highlights your most urgent emails, such as a dinner invitation for the same day or a boarding pass.

Instead of showing the first few lines of each email, the app now provides summaries, allowing you to scan the content without opening the message. For lengthy email threads, you can access relevant information with a single tap. Additionally, the Smart Reply feature suggests quick responses to emails and identifies questions within the message to ensure that all queries are answered.

“Priority Messages” and “Smart Reply”
“Priority Messages” and “Smart Reply”

Recording and transcribing audio

Apple Intelligence enhances the Notes and Phone apps by enabling you to record, transcribe, and summarize audio. During a call, initiating a recording automatically notifies participants. After the call, Apple Intelligence summarizes key points for easy reference.

Transcribe audio in Notes
Transcribe audio in Notes

Creating images

Apple is introducing Genmoji and Image Playground in iOS 18.

Genmoji allows you to create custom AI-generated emoji using text prompts, which can be shared in the Messages app. AI-generated emojis can be made with text prompts like “smiley relaxing wearing cucumbers.”

“Genmoji” with Apple Intelligence
“Genmoji” with Apple Intelligence

Image Playground lets you quickly generate playful images in three styles, accessible in Messages, Pages, Freeform, or as a standalone app.

Generate AI images with “Image Playground”
Generate AI images with “Image Playground”

Apple's video overview of Apple Intelligence


Is Apple Intelligence the same as ChatGPT?

No, Apple Intelligence isn’t just ChatGPT wearing a Siri mask. Most AI processes are performed on-device and don’t require third-party services.

ChatGPT may be used for some tasks, but only if you want to, and if you give your explicit permission.

Use ChatGPT for certain requests, but only when you want to
Use ChatGPT for certain requests, but only when you want to

ChatGPT is free for anyone, with paid features available for subscribers who connect their accounts.

Apparently, Apple intends to add other AI providers, such as Microsoft CoPilot and Google Gemini, in the future.

Will Apple Intelligence be free?

Yes. Apple intelligence is free and included as part of your device’s operating system.


When will Apple Intelligence be available?

Apple Intelligence will be available on supported devices for those signed up for beta testing in the summer.

It will initially be available in U.S. English.


Will Apple Intelligence work on my iPhone, iPad or Mac?

Initial device compatibility for Apple Intelligence is limited, especially on the iPhone, due to the processing power required to run on-device AI.

Apple Intelligence is compatible with these devices running iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 Sequoia.

iPhone iPad Mac
iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPad Pro

M1 and later

MacBook Air

M1 and later

iPhone 15 Pro

iPad Air

M1 and later

MacBook Pro

M1 and later

iMac

M1 and later

Mac mini

M1 and later

Mac Studio

M1 Max and later

Mac Pro

M2 Ultra

Will Apple Intelligence work on my HomePod or Apple Watch?

At present, no. The primary reason is that the HomePod and Apple Watch do not have sufficiently powerful processors to manage on-device AI.

However, this could change with future models. Additionally, both devices might be able to leverage Apple Intelligence when a paired iPhone or iPad is nearby.


Can Apple Intelligence be disabled?

According to ArtsTechnica, Apple Intelligence will be opt-in by default. Users will need to manually activate the service for it to function.


Does Apple Intelligence keep my data secure?

Yes. Apple Intelligence uses on-device processing, meaning that many of the AI models used to perform your requests are run entirely on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

When Siri needs to perform more complex requests that require more power, Apple has created Private Cloud Compute, servers that run on Apple Silicon and do not store or expose your private information.

Apple says, “Independent experts can inspect the code that runs on Apple Silicon servers to verify privacy, and Private Cloud Compute cryptographically ensures that iPhone, iPad, and Mac do not talk to a server unless its software has been publicly logged for inspection.”