iOS 18 Rumor Recap: Over 20 New Features to Expect as WWDC Nears

iOS 18 is just around the corner, with Apple set to unveil the software update during its WWDC keynote next month. Below, we recap new features and changes rumored for iOS 18, which is projected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history.

iOS 18 WWDC 24 Feature 2
iOS 18 is rumored to include new AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more customizable Home Screen and other user interface design changes, new features in apps like Apple Maps and Calculator, additional accessibility features, and much more.

WWDC 2024 will begin with Apple's keynote on June 10 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, and the iOS 18 beta should be made available to members of the Apple Developer Program immediately following the presentation. A public beta is typically released in July, and the update should be widely released to all users in September.

For additional information, read our iOS 18 roundup.

Smarter Siri and Generative AI

iOS 18 Mock Siri Feature Baubles
iOS 18 is rumored to have new AI features for Siri, Spotlight, Shortcuts, Apple Music, Messages, Health, Numbers, Pages, Keynote, and more, according to sources such as Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and The Information's Wayne Ma.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly teased that the company is working on generative AI, and plans to share details "later this year," and Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak also hinted at AI in a social media post about WWDC 2024.

Generative AI surged in popularity in late 2022, when OpenAI released ChatGPT, a chatbot that can respond to questions and other text prompts. The company has also expanded into generative AI tools for images and videos. Other companies like Google and Microsoft have also pushed into the generative AI space, and the technology is quickly evolving.

iOS 18 is not expected to include an Apple-designed chatbot, but a partnership with OpenAI will reportedly be announced at WWDC.

More Customizable Home Screen

iPhone Home Screen Gradient Blank Spaces 1
iOS 18 will feature a "more customizable" Home Screen, according to Gurman.

MacRumors exclusively reported that iOS 18 will finally allow users to place app icons anywhere on the Home Screen grid. This means that users will be able to create blank spaces, columns, and rows between app icons. This basic feature has long been available on Android smartphones, and now Apple is bringing it to the iPhone.

iPhone users can already customize the Home Screen with apps such as Shortcuts and Widgetsmith, which can be used to create "blank" app icons and widgets, but Apple's official solution will be much more convenient.

It was also reported that iOS 18 will allow users to change the color of app icons.

New Accessibility Features

iOS 18 Hover Typing Feature
Earlier this month, Apple previewed many new accessibility features coming later this year with software updates like iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15, and visionOS 2. The announcement came one day ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

Some of the new features coming to the iPhone include Eye Tracking, Vehicle Motion Cues, Music Haptics, and Vocal Shortcuts. CarPlay will also be getting more accessibility features with iOS 18, including Sound Recognition, which will allow drivers or passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing to turn on alerts to be notified of car horns and sirens.

New Apple Maps Features

apple maps 3d feature
MacRumors previously revealed two potential new Apple Maps features coming with iOS 18: custom routes and topographic maps.

With the custom routes feature, Apple Maps users would be able to choose specific roads to travel on while navigating, for reasons such as familiarity or scenic views. This feature is expected to be available in the U.S. only at launch. Google Maps already allows users to create custom routes on the web, and then view them on an iPhone.

Topographic maps first debuted on the Apple Watch last year with watchOS 10, and code suggests that the feature will be expanded to the iPhone, Mac, and Vision Pro with iOS 18, macOS 15, and visionOS 2. These maps include details such as trails, contour lines, elevation, and points of interest for hiking and other outdoor uses.

RCS Support in Messages App

General Apps Messages
In November, Apple announced that it would support the cross-platform messaging standard RCS in the Messages app on the iPhone starting "later" in 2024, so it will likely be an iOS 18 feature based on that timeframe.

RCS support should result in the following improvements to the default messaging experience between iPhones and Android devices:

  • Higher-resolution photos and videos
  • Audio messages
  • Typing indicators
  • Read receipts
  • Wi-Fi messaging
  • Improved group chats, including the ability for iPhone users to leave a conversation that includes Android users

These features are already available for iMessage and in many third-party messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram. RCS support on the iPhone will extend the features to green bubbles in the Messages app.

More Rumors Per App

While they are not dedicated apps, it has also been rumored that generative AI technology will allow the iPhone's virtual assistant Siri and built-in search tool Spotlight to respond to more complex questions and search queries.

Related Roundups: iOS 18, iPadOS 18
Related Forums: iOS 18, iPadOS 18

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Top Rated Comments

shadowboi Avatar
3 weeks ago
I want UI overhaul. They said “skeuomorphism is dead” 12 years ago. And now what? Minimalism proved to be trash that any kid can draw in PS. Nowadays one can barely see design language differences between Windows 11 and macOS
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GMShadow Avatar
3 weeks ago
I'm sure Google will still complain about Apple's RCS implementation because Apple is using the standard, not Google's tracking infested and generally damaged version.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macisawesome Avatar
3 weeks ago

I want UI overhaul. They said “skeuomorphism is dead” 12 years ago. And now what? Minimalism proved to be trash that any kid can draw in PS. Nowadays one can barely see design language differences between Windows 11 and macOS
Dude it’s a phone chill out.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shadowboi Avatar
3 weeks ago

Dude it’s a phone chill out.
We should get back to Nokia 3310 then. It’s a phone after all, yes /s
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
miamialley Avatar
3 weeks ago
Get we just get app notifications that don’t disappear from the lock screen on their own?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jamie0003 Avatar
3 weeks ago

What do you need that it doesn't already do? I am asking seriously. I am yet to see a coffee machine smart enough to make the fancy thing my wife drinks off a voice command (and wouldn't leave the milk out all day anyway).
One example; have the lights and heating, and maybe even music follow you around the house using the UWB chip on HomePod? Actually useful Siri for HomeKit commands, like being able to string more than one command together? Maybe automatically set scenes and the like based on when you activate them on a regular basis?

There are a million examples
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)