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WWDC ‘24: Everything you need to know about iOS 18

At WWDC 2024, Apple unveiled iOS 18 , set to make their devices more personal, capable, and intelligent than ever.

Today, we’re here to cover everything you need to know about the update. The reveal introduced new customization options, the biggest redesign for Photos, and Apple Intelligence to name a few.

Below are the many features slated for release later this year.

Advanced Customization and Capability

iPhone users now have more flexibility when it comes to customization and general capabilities. iOS 18 brings new ways to personalize your Home Screen, Lock Screen, and Control Center.

You can arrange apps and widgets in any open space on the Home Screen. You can even place them above the dock for easier access. App icons and widgets can also take on a dark/tinted effect, along with being able to adjust their size.

Moving on, the Control Center has been redesigned to provide easier access to daily-used apps and whatnot. In addition, users are now able to add and organize controls.

The new update delivers quick access to a user’s most utilized controls like media playback, Home controls, and connectivity. Plus, you get the ability to swipe between each with ease.

Users can add controls from supported third-party apps into the Control Center. In short, users can now play music, unlock a vehicle, or capture social media content from one place.

For the first time, users can switch the controls at the bottom of the Lock Screen. This is inclusive of a selection of available options in the controls gallery or removing them entirely.

Users can also quickly invoke controls available in the gallery with the Action button. However, readers should note that this is available for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max only.

Photos with Customization, New Collections, and Unified View

Photos is getting its biggest redesign to date, helping users easily find and relive special moments. With every user photo library being unique, iOS 18 now lets users personalize them. You can organize collections, pin them for frequent access, and include the most important file in the carousel view.

Speaking of collections, the new carousel view presents highlights that update everyday. It features your favorite people, pets, places, and more. The new collections autoplays content, so users can enjoy past moments while browsing.

The new Photos app also brings a new simplified, single view that displays a single grid. Along with the updated collections, users can now browse without having to organize content into albums.

Improved Expression with Messages Update

iMessage is getting new text effect updates that improve letters, words, phrases, and emojis. Express yourself more by adding formatting like bold, underlines, italics, and strikethrough.

Tapbacks expand to add emojis and stickers, with users now able schedule composed messages for sending later too. If contacts don’t have an Apple device, the Messages app now supports RCS for richer media. This makes for more reliable group messaging in comparison to SMS and MMS.

iOS 18 also introduces Messages via satellite for times when cellular or Wi-Fi connections are unavailable. This automatically prompts users to connect to their nearest satellite right from the Messages app.

With this, you send and receive texts, emoji, and Tapbacks over iMessage and SMS. Users will always know when they’re connected to a satellite via Dynamic Island.

Plus, since iMessage was built to protect user privacy, iMessages sent via satellite are end-to-end encrypted.

Mail Upgrades

Mail is set to introduce new ways for users to manage their inbox while staying up to date this year. On-device categorization sorts incoming emails into different segments.

Primary will have personal emails and receipts, while Transactions will have confirmations and receipts. News and social notifications are sorted into Updates, as marketing emails and coupons are under Promotions.

Mail will also feature a new digest view, pulling together relevant emails from a business. This allows users to quickly scan for what’s important at the moment.

Safari Updates

Safari now offers an easier way to find information on the web with Highlights and a redesigned Reader experience.

With machine learning, Safari can surface key information about a webpage. For example, users can review a summary to get the gist of an article.

Other uses include finding the location of a restaurant, hotel, or landmark. You can even listen to an unfamiliar song from an article to find its artist or album.

Reader has been redesigned to offer more ways to enjoy articles without distractions. iOS 18 provides a summary and table of contents for longer articles.

Passwords App

Built on the foundation of Keychain, the new Passwords app makes it easy for users to access their passwords. Users may also input their passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and verification codes here.

The app also includes alerts for users with common weaknesses. This covers passwords that could be easily guessed or used multiple times, along with those appearing in data leaks.

New Privacy Features

Users getting the iOS 18 update will have more control with tools, managing who can see their apps. You can even hide how contacts are shared, along with how iPhones connect to accessories.

Locked and hidden apps offer users peace of mind in terms of privacy, notably with app notifications and content. iOS 18 lets users lock an app and hide it, moving it to a locked, hidden apps folder.

When an app is locked or hidden, content like messages or emails inside the app are hidden from search and notifications. It’s also unseen by other places across the system.

Next, users can choose to share only specific contacts with an app.

Developers can also seamlessly connect third-party accessories with iPhones without letting an app see the other devices on a user’s network. This helps keep a user’s devices private in favor of seamless pairing.

Apple Intelligence

Apple Intelligence is deeply integrated into iOS 18, built with privacy from the ground up. This provides Apple devices with brand-new system-wide Writing Tools. Users can rewrite, proofread, and summarize text in a handful of areas. This is inclusive of Mail, Notes, Pages, and other third-party apps.

Next, we have Image Playground—where communication and self-expression are made more fun. Create playful images from three different styles (Animation, Illustration, or Sketch) in seconds.

Image Playground is easy to use, built into apps like Messages while also having a dedicated app.

Moving on, we have Memories in Photos, which lets users create stories by giving prompts. Apple Intelligence will pick out the best photos and videos based on this.

It then crafts a storyline with chapters based on the photos, arranging them into a movie with its own narrative arc.

In addition, a new Clean Up tool can identify and remove distracting objects in the background of a photo. Likewise, it does not alter the subject at all.

Siri also makes a step forward with the power of Apple Intelligence.

Siri is now more natural, contextually aware, and personal. Users can type to Siri, while switching between text and voice to communicate with what feels right for the moment.

Apple also set a new standard for privacy in AI with Private Cloud Compute. This has the ability to flex and scale computational capacity between on-device processing.

This is inclusive of larger, server-based models running on dedicated Apple silicon servers. When requests are routed to Private Cloud Compute, data is not stored or made accessible to Apple. It is only used to fulfill the user’s requests.

Lastly, access to ChatGPT is integrated into Siri and system-wide Writing Tools across Apple’s platforms. This allows users to access the platform, along with its image and document-understanding capabilities without needing to jump between tools.

Other Additional Features

Apple Maps users can save their custom walking routes and locations to a new Places Library. Users may also add personal notes about each spot.

iOS 18 introduces Game Mode, allowing for more consistent frame rates. This is notable for long gameplay sessions. Plus, wireless accessories like AirPods and game controllers are now more responsive.

For Apple Pay, users now have the ability to redeem rewards and access installments from their eligible credit or debit cards. There’s also Tap to Cash, where users can send and receive Apple Cash by simply holding two iPhone devices together.

Tickets in Apple Wallet also bring a richer experience for fans. It now makes key event information like stadium details, recommended Apple Music playlists more accessible.

Speaking of music, SharePlay with Apple Music now allows even more users to share control of music playback. This is inclusive of HomePods, Apple TVs, or any Bluetooth-enabled speakers.

The AirPods experience is also getting an update with Siri Interactions, Voice Isolation, and Personalized Spatial Audio. Read more about this in our separate article.

In the Notes app, formulas and equations entered while typing are solved instantly with Math Notes. New collapsible sections and highlighting make it easier to emphasize what matters.

For Journal, a new insights view helps users keep track of their journaling goals. Users also have the ability to search and sort entries to make for easier reminiscing.

Time spent journaling can be saved as mindful minutes in the Health app. Meanwhile, a user’s state of mind can be logged in the Journal app.

In addition, a Journal widget is now available for users to start an entry from the Home or Lock Screen. Audio recordings are automatically transcribed as well, with users able to export and print journal entries.

Calendar is also becoming more helpful by showing events and tasks from Reminders. Users may edit, create, and complete reminders straight from the Calendar app.

Further, the updated month view provides an overview of events and tasks at a glance.

In the Health app, Medical ID is getting a redesign to make finding important information in an emergency easier.

The app can also help users understand their data during pregnancy by making adjustments and recommendations. These help reflect and treat changes to a user’s physical and mental health.

Emergency SOS Live Video allows users to share context through streaming video and recorded media. During an emergency call, dispatchers can request for a user to share live video or media from a user’s camera roll.

This is conducted over a secure connection, intended to make it faster and easier to get assistance.
The Home app now introduces guest access, giving users with means to grant guests control of smart home accessories. Other features include setting schedules for when guests can access the home.

iOS 18 brings a seamless home entry experience with hands-free unlock, leveraged by Ultra Wideband technology. This allows users to instantly open supported entry locks as soon as they are six feet away from their door.

The Energy category also comes with convenient updates. Eligible users now have an easier time accessing, understanding, and making more informed decisions about home electricity use.

Accessibility updates include Eye Tracking, a built-in option for navigating an iPhone with just a user’s eyes. In addition, Music Haptics is a new way for users who are deaf or hard of hearing to experience music.

With the Taptic Engine in iPhones and Vocal Shortcuts, users are enabled to perform tasks by making a custom sound.

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