iOS 18 could be 'biggest' iPhone update ever — here’s why

iOS 18 logo on iPhone in person's lap
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

iOS 18 could be the biggest software update in the iPhone’s history, says Mark Gurman in the subscriber-only Q&A section of his latest Power On newsletter.

He writes, “I’m told that the new operating system is seen within the company as one of the biggest iOS updates — if not the biggest — in the company’s history.” He also mentioned that he plans to share more specific details about iOS 18 and the planned changes in the future, so hopefully we'll learn more about what makes the update so big soon.

When it comes to what we know about iOS 18, there are reports that a major focus has been placed on AI. According to the Financial Times, Apple has been making small AI acquisitions, publishing research papers and quietly hiring staff with AI experience. 

iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro cameras

(Image credit: Future)

Gurman himself has stated he expects iOS 18 to feature generative AI technology that could, in theory, improve how Siri and the Messages app can answer questions and auto-complete sentences. Gurman has also stated that Apple has been exploring the use of generative AI features for other apps across its platforms, including Apple Music and Xcode. 

There have also been reports that Apple has plans to incorporate larger language models into Siri, allowing for more natural conversations when making voice commands.

Apple also announced in November 2023 that it would support cross-platform messaging standard RCS, or Rich Communication Services, which may be another part of the iOS 18 package. RCS, built as a replacement for MMS and SMS messages, is used by all modern Android devices but Apple's held out on introducing it for years. This widened the pre-existing blue/green chat bubble divide, but RCS should help make cross-OS chats work much better.

Currently, there is a lot of speculation about what exactly iOS 18 will do, and Mark Gurman has given us some good clues. However, we will not know anything for certain until the update is officially announced, which should happen as usual in June, the month Apple traditionally holds its WWDC developer conference.

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Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.