Apple iOS 18 at WWDC 2024: A Look at The Top New Features


iOS 18, the latest software version powering Apple’s iPhones, has finally arrived with many new features. At the WWDC 2024 keynote last night, Apple demonstrated iOS 18 and macOS 15, watchOS 11, and Apple Intelligence. As expected, Apple is banking on artificial intelligence and generative AI features, with Apple Intelligence being the show-stopper at the event.

Apart from the AI integration, the operating system is getting a serious overhaul, and Apple showcased several new and much-anticipated features.

iOS 18: Complete List of New Features

Apple is finally bringing features like a customisable Home Screen with flexible icon placement, a theme engine, customisable lock screen shortcuts, and more. Let’s look at the complete list of new iOS 18 features.

Apple Intelligence

Apple has finally joined the AI bandwagon with the introduction of Apple Intelligence. The company has announced that the feature will roll out in beta this fall but will be limited to iPhone 15 Pro models.

According to Apple, these comprehensive AI features will make the whole iPhone experience more intuitive. Apple Intelligence combines a generative model with personal context to provide relevant and useful responses to user prompts. Apple claims the intelligence uses the powerful Apple chipset to train, create text or images, and perform actions across apps to simplify daily usage.

Apple says that the intelligence will be able to generate images in messages with simple prompts, prioritise notifications more smartly, and ensure users have a natural interaction with Siri, among other things.

Speaking of Siri, Apple’s assistant is getting smarter and has enhanced abilities. Later this year, Siri will also get ChatGPT integration.

Apple’s AI features will also let users create any emoji based on their word prompt, pull up an image to copy text and paste it across apps, and more. For the first time, Apple has also added automatic call recording and transcriptions in iOS 18 for user convenience.

Brand New Customisation Options

Expect a barrage of but-Android-has-had-this-feature-for-years posts and memes, but Apple has finally done it. iOS 18 allows users to arrange apps and widgets in any open space on the Home Screen. This means users can place app icons above the dock for easy access or anywhere to showcase the wallpaper properly.

iOS 18
iOS 18 brings flexible icon placements and customisable icon colours to the iPhone.

Apple has also introduced a new Theme Engine for icons and widgets, which allows users to customise app icons. Users can choose the icon shape, size, and colour to match the wallpaper. In Dark Mode, the icons will have a dark tint to make them easier on the eyes.

The company has also revamped the Control Center, with the ability to swipe between multiple pages for the most important features. Moreover, for the first time, iOS 18 will offer Control Center integration to third-party apps. Finally, iOS 18 will allow users to swap the default flashlight and camera shortcuts on the lock screen with any other shortcut they want.

Redesigned Photos App

With iOS 18, the stock Photos app is getting a major redesign with a new unified home screen. This will show new collections intelligently sorted by themes in a carousel view to save users the trouble of organising photos and videos into albums. Moreover, the app lets users pin their favourite collections for easy access.

iOS 18 Photos App
Photos app gets a major redesign in iOS 18.

Apple claims that Photos is now better at organising the huge collection of media users have accumulated over the years. The app can now sort faces to automatically group people and pets into a collection that can be accessed from the new carousel view.

Improved Messages and Mail

The Messages app lets users pick any emoji in the tapback response and get new formatting options. Moreover, iOS 18 brings useful features like messaging via satellite, message scheduling, and RCS support. Details on RCS support are awaited, and Apple mentioned it in passing during the keynote.

iOS 18 brings RCS support, message scheduling and more to iPhones.
iOS 18 brings RCS support, message scheduling, and more to iPhones.

The Mail app gets a Gmail-inspired automatic categorisation for primary transactions, updates, and promotions. Apple has introduced a new Digest feature in Mail, which sorts all relevant emails from a business for a quick review.

New Passwords App

iOS 18 brings a new Passwords app, a standalone app for users to manage passwords and passkeys efficiently across all Apple devices. According to the company, the Passwords app works like a dashboard and extends its existing iCloud Keychain features.

Apple introduces a new Password app in iOS 18.
Apple introduces a new Password app in iOS 18.

With the Passwords app, iOS 18 users can sync their credentials across devices like Vision Pro, MacBooks, iPhones and iPads. Windows PC users can rely on iCloud for passwords. Under the new setup, users can access all their login details in one place without going to System Preferences on their devices.

New Privacy Features

Apple has finally added an app lock feature to its iOS platform. In iOS 18, users can lock and hide an app from the Home Screen. The content of locked and hidden apps will also be hidden from search, notifications, and other places system-wide.

iOS 18 brings new privacy features including app lock to iPhone.
iOS 18 brings new privacy features, including app lock, to the iPhone.

In iOS 18, the company has also improved privacy while sharing contacts with and connecting to accessories. If a new app requires access to your contact list, iOS 18 will let users select from specific contacts or all contacts.

Moreover, when connecting the iPhone to a third-party accessory, iOS 18 will pair seamlessly without revealing other devices on the user’s network.

Miscellaneous iOS 18 Features

Apple has introduced a new Game Mode in iOS 18 to offer consistent frame rates and improve the response time of wireless accessories during gameplay.

Apple Pay now lets users pay through rewards and instalments from eligible cards. A new Tap to Cash feature lets users send or receive Apple Cash by holding two iPhones together.

The SharePlay feature in Apple Music now supports more users for enhanced group listening. The company has added new Siri interactions, Voice Isolation, personalised Spatial Audio, and more for AirPods Pro in iOS 18.

The new Math Notes feature in the Notes app instantly solves formulas and equations, and the Journal gets a new insights view and an interactive widget.

Apple has also added other features to iOS 18. These include emergency SOS live video, improved control through ultra-wideband technology in the Home app, and new accessibility features like eye tracking, music haptics, vocal shortcuts, etc.

iOS 18: How to Download and Install iOS 18 Beta?

The general public release of iOS 18 will take place in September, soon after the new iPhone 16 series launches. However, the company has made the first iOS 18 developer beta available for download. The public beta will be released next month.

To try the features listed above, users must sign up for the Apple Developer Program and follow the steps below.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone and head to the General section.
  2. Tap on the Software Update on the next page.
  3. Tap on the Beta Updates.
  4. You should be able to see the iOS 18 Developer Beta option; click on it.
  5. Go back and tap on Download and Install under the new iOS 18 Developer Beta option.
  6. Enter your passcode and agree to the terms and conditions.

iOS 18: List of Compatible Devices

As usual, Apple has shared a list of all iPhones compatible with the latest iOS 18 on its official webpage. If you want to try new features offered by the latest iOS, you should have one of the iPhones listed below.