iOS 18 tipped for biggest Siri upgrade in over a decade — get ready to voice control apps

Siri
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Siri is set to get a big AI upgrade in iOS 18 including access to trigger functions inside your apps all from a simple voice command. This could include asking it to book an Uber on your behalf.

We won’t know the full extent of Apple’s AI upgrades in iOS 18 until WWDC 2024 on June 10 but it does look like the iPhone maker will go all out in adding new functionality across the ecosystem.

According to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg Siri could become the epicenter of AI on the iPhone, with people testing iOS 18 reporting that can be used to take action across the device.

Siri's upgrade will be more than just surface-level, and it's rumored to be getting a more natural voice. Gurman says it will now use large language models at its core, giving it an ability to respond more naturally and handle more complex tasks. 

What changes can we expect to Siri in iOS 18?

ios 18

(Image credit: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock)

Like Google and Alexa, Apple has been experimenting and publishing research on how to make Siri smarter. This includes using generative AI and large language models such as those found in ChatGPT and Google Gemini to handle interactions with users.

What format this will take is up to speculation, with some rumors suggesting Apple will replace Siri with the new GPT-4o-powered ChatGPT Voice. In reality it seems Siri will remain, with many of its features powered using on-device language models with some functionality going to GPT-4o.

Having processing on-device is more secure and privacy-focused, which ties in with Apple’s ethos for data-hungry tasks. It also makes it easier for the models to interact with other apps.

At WWDC we will likely see new tools for app developers that allow them to expose functionality to the new Siri AI, allowing it to carry out tasks or retrieve information normally only accessible by opening up the specific app.

This will be great for apps like Uber where the financial reward for the company is in the final booking — but those relying on advertising might be more reluctant. Essentially it will allow you to tell Siri to carry out a task, have it do it and show the result without leaving Siri itself.

How will Siri tasks work?

Siri Voysis

(Image credit: Future)

Essentially, Siri will be able to control and navigate an iPad or iPhone. This includes opening your documents, moving notes to a folder and even sending and deleting emails.

It will also have access to many of the features hidden under context menus such as whether to open a link in Apple News or the browser and it can summarize that article for you first.

According to Gurman, initially these features and the ability to perform tasks within the app will be limited to Apple’s own apps, including Notes, Photos and Mail but will come to third-party apps in the future. This is likely due to a need to update apps to support the new developer kit.

Getting an LLM brain will also mean Siri can do more than one thing at a time. For example you could ask Siri to to summarize a recorded meeting and send the notes to a specific set of colleagues all from a single voice command.

Some of the more advanced features might not be available at launch, coming instead with future updates. You may also need to have an iPhone 15 or above for the most power-hungry AI features in Siri and Apple’s apps, according to recent reports.

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?