7 biggest iOS 18 features expected to be announced at WWDC 2024

ios 18
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Some Apple watchers were pretty bummed when it was reported that Apple would not be releasing any hardware at WWDC 2024. Where’s the new M4 MacBooks? Where’s the AirPod Max 2?

I get it, and I also get why the buzz is building for the iPhone 16 series. After all, the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max are both tipped to get bigger displays and they’re to have record-breakingly thin bezels. Then there’s the matter of the A18 Pro chip Apple is working on to take performance to the next level. 

But I’m here to tell you that iOS 18 is looking like a bigger deal, especially if you have a recent iPhone 15 Pro that can take full advantage of all the AI features Apple is about to unleash. 

Sorry, make that “Apple Intelligence.” That’s supposedly what Apple is calling its own flavor of AI, which presumably focuses on on-device processing and privacy. Here’s 7 reason why iOS 18 is looking like a bigger deal than the new iPhone 16 so far. 

AI summaries are coming

An image of an iPhone screen showing the Safari app icon in the center

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As reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple is making AI summaries a big part of iOS 18 (and likely iPadOS 18 and macOS 15). 

Your iPhone will be able to recap articles in the Safari browser, as well as sum up meeting notes, text messages and emails. Even better, Gurman says that Apple is going to roll out a "catch-up feature" for missed notifications. This is a great idea as it's easy to get overwhelmed by too many notifications.

Siri to voice control your apps


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Siri has understandably been the butt of jokes for years due to its sheer ineptitude, but apparently it's about to get a major IQ boost thanks to AI and large language models. The new Siri 2.0 will enable users to voice control apps, whether it's deleting emails or editing photos Siri will also be getting a more natural sounding voice. You'll also be able to do things like open docs, email a web link and ask for article summaries. Over time you'll be able to voice control third-party apps as well.

AI-generated images and emoji 

Shutterstock head exploding emoji

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Back in May, Bloomberg reported that Apple will be brining AI tools to the Photos app, such as enhancing images and removing objects or subjects. But the most intriguing bit is that iOS 18 may include the ability to "create custom emojis on the fly." The emojiis would be generating based on what you were texting in the Messages app. I can imagine users having lots of fun with this feature and it's not something competitors offer (yet) like Samsung's Galaxy AI

An all-new homescreen

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.

(Image credit: Future)

If you feel constricted by the grid-based layout on iOS, I have good news. Gurman has also reported that users will be able to place app icons wherever they want on their homescreens. You'll even be able to customize the icon colors to truly personalize the experience. 

Finally, transcriptions for voice notes

woman recording voice note on her phone

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Apple is way behind Google and Samsung on this one but it's still a welcome upgrade. The Voice Memos app will reportedly be able to automatically transcribe voice recordings, so you won't need third-party apps like Otter.ai.

We've also heard that the Notes app could have it's own built-in voice recorder, so maybe you'll be able to have your written notes and voice notes in one place. 

A partnership with OpenAI ChatGPT

Open AI and Apple logos

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Both The Information and Bloomberg have reported that Apple will likely announce a partnership with OpenAI at WWDC 2024. We expect that Apple will bring ChatGPT-4o functionality to the iPhone to help close the gap with Google Gemini. So you could get the full ChatGPT chatbot experience, though we're not sure if Apple will enable access to the new voice functionality yet or impressive vision features. 

Customizable Control Center 

Control Center on an iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The whole point of Control Center is accessing quick shortcuts to save you time, so why not let users make it their own? That's apparently what's happening with iOS 18. We should get a new interface that lets you place shortcut buttons where you like or on different pages. Apparently there will be new widgets as well for music playback and controlling smart home devices. 

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.