iOS 18: Features, Release Date & Supported Devices

In Short
  • Apple's iOS 18 made its debut at WWDC 2024 on June 10.
  • The latest iOS 18 brings some impressive features like a dedicated Game Mode, customizable home & lock screens, a revamped Control Center, a new Passwords app, RCS support, and more.
  • The iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and newer models have secured a spot in the iOS 18 supported devices list.

Apple unveiled the next-generation iOS 18 at WWDC 2024. As anticipated, iOS 18 turned out to be the iPhone’s biggest software update in history. The latest iOS 18 arrives with a boatload of impressive features like customizable home & lock screens, a revamped Control Center, a redesigned Photos app, a new Passwords app, and much more. If you’re also curious to know what’s new in iOS 18, when iOS 18 will come out, and which devices will get iOS 18, we’ve got you covered. We’ve mentioned everything you need to know about Apple’s latest iPhone operating system. Let’s get started right away!

iOS 18 Features

1. Personalised iOS 18 Home Screen

Personalised iOS 18 Home Screen

After 17 years, Apple finally offers a redesigned and more customizable home screen experience with iOS 18. It’s a long-awaited feature that gives iPhone users greater control over the Home Screen app icon arrangement. To ensure uniformity, the app icons will remain locked to its invisible grid system, but you have the freedom to create blank spaces, columns, and rows between app icons. This will allow you to reveal more of a wallpaper.

Another thing that’s new in iOS 18 Home Screen is that app icons can now have a dark or tinted appearance. You can set app icons to appear in dark or light mode, or they can also automatically make a switch based on whether you’ve enabled Dark Mode on your iPhone.

2. Customizable Lock Screen Controls

Customizable iOS 18 Lock Screen

One of my favorite iOS 18 features is the ability to change the lock screen controls on my iPhone. You can swap out the lock screen controls for something else, like Shortcuts, QR code scanner, Calculator app, or Dark Mode. Finally, I can remove the Flashlight icon from the Lock Screen so I don’t turn it accidentally.

3. Lock & Hide Apps

Lock Apps in iOS 18

The latest iOS 18 brings the long-request feature- the ability to lock individual apps on an iPhone. Apple now offers two new ways to protect sensitive apps and related data when someone else is using your iPhone. You can now lock an app with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. When you do this, no information from the app will appear in other places across the system, including Search, Siri, & Notifications. This will give you peace of mind that your sensitive info is never exposed accidentally.

In addition, if you ever want to hide an app on your iPhone, you can move it into a hidden apps folder that can be locked.

iOS 18 Control Center

The next-gen iOS 18 brings a massive update to the Control Center with new groups of controls, and you can swipe down on the Home Screen to access different Control Center Screens. There’s a new Controls Gallery that displays all your options in one place, including new controls from Music, Home, and your favorite apps. You can choose to rearrange or resize controls or build your own group controls so everything you need is just a swipe away.

5. New Passwords app

New Passwords app in iOS 18

As anticipated, Apple turned its password keychain feature into a full-blown Passwords app. With a dedicated Passwords app in iOS 18, it’s easier to store all your account passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and other credentials in one place. Everything is secured with end-to-end encryption and your passwords are synced across your Apple devices. So, if you ever change your Netflix password on your iPhone, it will be reflected across your iPad and Mac.

6. Redesigned Photos app

Redesigned Photos app on iOS 18

It’s great to cherish old memories but it’s challenging to navigate a loaded photo library. Interestingly, iOS 18 brings the biggest redesign to the Photos app which will make it easier to find specific photos. The Photos app now features Collections which automatically organizes your entire photo library by helpful themes like Recent Days, Trips, and People & Pets. You’ll see everything at your fingertips, so searching for photos is much easier and quicker in iOS 18.

7. RCS, Tapbacks, Text effects, & more in Messages

iOS 18 Control Center

The Messages app also got a much-needed upgrade with the new iOS 18. You can now schedule messages to send later, react to messages with more Tapbacks, and apply animated effects to individual words, phrases, or emojis. You can also bold, underline, italicize, or strikethrough the text to get your point across. 

Also, iOS 18 finally brings RCS (Rich Communication Services) to iPhones. This iOS 18 feature should enable smooth communication between iPhone and Android users. That’s not all. If you own an iPhone 14 or later, you can send and receive messages with satellite connectivity. It’s a super useful addition that helps you stay connected with your family or friends even when there’s no cellular or Wi-Fi service.

8. Tap to Cash

iOS 18 Tap to Cash feature
Image Courtesy: Apple

The iOS 18 update brings a new way of paying with Apple Pay, called Tap to Cash. As the name suggests, this iOS 18 feature lets you pay for things by simply tapping two iPhones together, without exchanging phone numbers or email addresses. This feature is reminiscent of an iOS 17 feature NameDrop, that allows users to exchange contacts by bringing their devices together.

Apple Wallet also got some other upgrades like support for displaying rewards or points balance in Apple Pay. Also, redesigned event tickets will allow users to see helpful venue information like concert seat numbers or shortcuts for directions.

9. Record and Transcribe phone calls

iphone call recording
Image Courtesy: Apple

The new iOS 18 brings call recording to iPhones. Yes, there’s finally an official way to record calls on your iPhone via the Phone app. You can enable call recording on an iPhone after making or answering a call. To keep everything ethical, all the participants will be notified about the call being recorded. As the call is recorded, your iPhone will also offer a transcript. With Apple Intelligence, your compatible iPhone can also generate a summary of the key points of the call.

10. Safari Gets Highlights & Redesigned Reader

Safari Improvements in latest iOS 18

Safari gets an array of new features and improvements with iOS 18. There’s a new Highlights feature that detects helpful information on a webpage and highlights it for you. For example, summaries, directions, or quick links to know more about people, movies, music, and TV shows.

Next is the smarter & redesigned Reader mode in Safari which removes distractions for a better reading experience and also shows a table of contents for a longer article.

11. Game Mode

For the first time ever, iOS 18 brings Game Mode to iPhones. The Game Mode will minimize background activity to provide consistent FPS for better gameplay. Also, it will reduce audio latency and deliver better responsiveness with game controllers and AirPods. This is surely gonna be one of the most highlighting iOS 18 features for gamers.

12. AirPods and Hands-free Siri Interactions

Thanks to iOS 18, Siri interactions on AirPods Pro 2 have become much easier and more interesting. You can simply nod your head yes or gently shake your head to respond to Siri. This new iOS 18 feature will be super helpful in situations when you’re traveling or you wish to respond to Siri when your baby is sleeping. With iOS 18, Voice Isolation also comes to AirPods Pro.

13. Native App Updates

New features in the iPhone Calculator app

The Calculator app gets a nice update with an all-new Math Notes calculator, new features like unit conversion and history, and a new portrait orientation for the scientific calculator.

Apple’s iOS 18 also improves the Notes app to a great extent. The Notes app in iOS 18 offers support for recording voice memos which can be embedded in the notes on purpose. Also, you can now perform more complex mathematical equations on your notes. Just enter an expression and it will be solved while you’re typing.

The Mail app on iOS 18 automatically sorts your emails into categories to help prioritize messages. The Primary category will have your most essential emails, and the rest of emails are organized into new categories like Transactions, Promotions, and Updates.

With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple Maps gains Topographic Maps with trail networks and hikes, including all 63 U.S. national parks. You can Save maps for offline access with turn-by-turn voice guidance. Also, the iOS 18 update brings a Google Maps feature- custom routes to Apple Maps.

Additionally, the Calendar app gains Reminders integration, enabling users to view and interact with Reminders directly within the Calendar app.

Apple also announced Journal app improvements coming to iPhone users with iOS 18. You can now log your state of mind and track your goals with insight views. You can also search within the Journal and sort your older entries.

You can now access a redesigned Privacy & Security settings menu to easily manage how much information you’re sharing with your apps.

iOS 18 also adds some improvements to the Apple TV app, Home app, SharePlay, Apple Fitness+, and Freeform.

14. iOS 18 Accessibility Features

New features in iPhoen Calculator app
Image Courtesy: Apple

Apple announced new accessibility features we’ll see with upcoming software updates like iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and visionOS 2. The iPhone and iPad users will get to enjoy one of the most remarkable features of Apple Vision Pro– Eye tracking. It will allow iPhone and iPad users to navigate their devices with just their eyes. It’s a useful accessibility feature designed especially for users with physical disabilities, allowing them to control their devices just by looking at them. The Eye Tracking on iPhone and iPad will work across iOS and iPadOS apps, and there’s no need for any additional hardware or accessories.

Besides Eye Tracking, Apple announced Music Haptics which will allow the Taptic Engine in the iPhone to play taps, vibrations, and textures to the audio of the music. This will allow users with hearing problems to enjoy music like everyone else.

The Vocal Shortcuts feature will allow iPhone and iPad users to assign custom utterances so Siri can launch shortcuts and complete complex tasks.

Finally, there will be a new Vehicle Motion Cues option that can help reduce motion sickness for passengers in moving vehicles. Motion sickness is a common issue in moving vehicles which is caused by a sensory conflict between what a person sees and what they feel.

15. CarPlay upgrades

CarPlay Updates iOS 18
Image Courtesy: Apple

Apple has also expanded accessibility features on CarPlay with a bunch of new offerings. First is Voice Control so you can navigate CarPlay and control apps with your voice. The Sound Recognition feature helps drivers of passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing to turn on alerts to be notified of car horns. Then, there’s a Color Filters feature that can help colorblinds to make the CarPlay interface easier to use with bold and large texts.

iOS 18 Release Date

Apple announced iOS 18 on June 10, along with iPadOS 18, macOS 15 Sequoia, and other software updates. The first developer beta for iOS 18 was released right after the WWDC 2024 Keynote event. The first public beta will be available in late June or early July. There will be a few weeks of Public Beta, and the polished version of iOS 18 will arrive sometime in September with the new iPhone 16 series.

iOS 18 Supported Devices

As anticipated, Apple’s iOS 18 supports every iPhone model that’s supported by the iOS 17 version, which includes iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and newer models.

Here’s the complete list of iOS 18-supported devices:

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

Of course, the iPhone 16 lineup will come with iOS 18 right out of the box.

It’s worth knowing that even if several iPhone models are supported by iOS 18, not all of them are compatible with Apple Intelligence. As a processing requirement, Apple Intelligence needs at least an A17 chipset or M-Series chips (on iPads & Macs). Therefore, Apple Intelligence is exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, plus all the models of the iPhone 16 lineup. If you’ve got an older model, you may have to make an upgrade to use all AI features.

That’s everything you should know about iOS 18. Which iOS 18 feature did you like the most? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

comment Comments 1
  • Ben says:

    Suggestion: Emergency SOS on iPad

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