7 iOS 18 features rumored to be coming to the iPhone this year

We’re just a few months away from the debut of iOS 18 at WWDC 2024. This update is expected to bring tons of new features to the iPhone. Internally, it has been called one of the most innovative software updates since Apple first released the original iPhone.

While it’s difficult to predict software features of upcoming iOS updates, plenty of leaks and reports have offered a sneak peek at iOS 18. The Cupertino company has also already publicly confirmed a few new iOS 18 features. Here’s what we know so far:

RCS is coming (but the green vs. blue bubbles battle is here to stay)

iMessage RCS iPhoneImage source: José Adorno for BGR

Last year, Apple announced that RCS messaging support would be available on its devices in 2024. Most likely, this will be implemented in iOS 18. This change will make it easier to initiate group messages with Android users, send high-quality photos and videos, share locations, and more.

Still, standout iOS features like Memoji, stickers, and the ability to edit or unsend messages will continue to be exclusive to iMessage. Another catch is that after Apple introduces RCS support in 2024, the carriers will also need to add it on their end.

AI, AI, and AI

Apple CEO Tim Cook before WWDC 2023 keynote kicked offImage source: Apple Inc.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has already confirmed: We’ll hear a lot more about AI from the company in 2024. As expected, the company is readying plenty of AI features for iOS 18. Although some people expect chatbots and ChatGPT-like features, Apple is likely to focus on simpler AI tools — features that already exist in iOS but will likely be rebranded.

Reports also suggested a few other AI-related additions, such as:

  • Auto-summarizing and auto-complete features for core apps and productivity software
  • Better playlist creation in Apple Music
  • Overhaul of Siri with AI focus
  • Code completion in the new version of Xcode for developers

Third-party AI chatbots

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman interviewing Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman interviewing Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Image source: YouTube

Apple is in talks with OpenAI, Google, and even China’s Baidu to bring their AI chatbots to the iPhone. Ultimately, the company’s goal is to offer exciting AI features without spending millions of dollars on servers and suffering through the issues some brands are facing with AI.

Recently, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple is in talks with several players. If the company closes a deal or two, it would be easier to integrate AI into everyday tasks rather than Apple having to build its own solutions. This would also help the company save and even make more money without being blamed for ethical and privacy issues with generative AI.

Home Screen to get the biggest revamp ever

Weather Up app running on iPhone 15 Pro
Widgets and apps on the iPhone’s Home Screen. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believes that Apple will let users truly customize the layout of Home Screen app icons for the first time in iOS 18. With that, users will be able to freely arrange icons on the iPhone, which is something users have requested for years.

This approach is similar to what Android users already have been able to do on their phones and tablets for ages, but Apple would certainly bring its own flair to the UX. This update would give Apple fans the ability to create blank spaces, rows, and columns between apps.

Freeform app update

According to MacRumors, Apple is preparing an update to the Freeform app. The publication says there’s a new “Freeform Scenes” feature coming with iOS 18, which will help with board navigation. Users will be able to select, edit, name, and collaborate in scenes.

The Freeform Scenes UI will be located near the zoom controls. With a new sandwich bar, it will display individual arrow icons for navigation between scenes.

Apple ID rebrand incoming

Colorado adds state IDs and licenses to Apple Wallet.
Colorado adds state IDs and licenses to Apple Wallet. Image source: Colorado DMV

Apple is reportedly considering changing the name of Apple ID to “Apple Account,” potentially in the iOS 18 release cycle. It’s unclear why Apple is considering this change, but it would make a lot more sense in the context of Apple’s current business. Both MacRumors and Bloomberg expect this change, according to previous reports.

New emojis

iOS 17.4 new emojisImage source: José Adorno for BGR

Later in the iOS 18 cycle, Apple is expected to introduce new emojis. At the moment, it’s unclear what the new emoji symbols will be. Later this Summer, Emojipedia will once again unveil the draft of all of the upcoming candidates. Then, it’s up to Apple to add them to iOS. Apple most recently introduced new emojis in iOS 17.4 and iOS 16.4.

iOS 18 feature wrap-up

We covered seven upcoming iOS 18 features that are pretty much confirmed. Apple will likely announce new accessibility features coming to the operating system before the WWDC keynote as well. If we learn more about the rumored changes coming to iOS 18, we’ll let you know. Below, you can take a look at our guide highlighting all the latest rumors.

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