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Apple releases iOS 18 for iPhone: Here’s all you need to know

Apple has officially unveiled iOS 18, introducing a plethora of new features and enhancements aimed at significantly improving the user experience on iPhones.

This major release, announced at the company’s annual developers conference on Monday, focuses on customisation, advanced photo management, innovative messaging capabilities, and the integration of a new personal intelligence system called Apple Intelligence.

Here’s a comprehensive look at what iOS 18 brings to the table.

Unprecedented Customisation and Control

One of the standout features of iOS 18 is the enhanced customisation it offers users. The new update allows users to arrange apps and widgets in any open space on the Home Screen, providing a more personalised layout. This flexibility includes placing apps and widgets above the dock, creating a more tailored and accessible interface.

The Lock Screen has also seen significant improvements. Users can now customise or remove control buttons at the bottom, enhancing the usability and personalisation of their devices.

Additionally, the redesigned Control Centre offers quicker access to frequently used functions. This update brings new levels of customisation and flexibility, allowing users to add controls from supported third-party apps, facilitating actions like unlocking vehicles or capturing content for social media directly from the Control Centre.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, expressed excitement about these new features, stating, “We are thrilled to introduce iOS 18. It is a huge release with incredible features, including new levels of customisation and capability, a redesigned Photos app, and powerful ways to stay connected with Messages.”

Redesigned Photos App for Enhanced Memories

The Photos app in iOS 18 has been completely overhauled to provide a more intuitive and enjoyable experience. The new unified view simplifies the navigation of photo libraries, displaying a familiar grid that organises photos into collections based on themes such as people, pets, and places.

This redesign makes it easier for users to find and relive their favourite moments without the need to manually organise their photos into albums.

Also read: AI revolution for iPhones? Apple integrates OpenAI’s ChatGPT, unveils ‘Apple Intelligence’

One of the notable new features is the carousel view, which highlights important memories and updates daily with new content. Autoplaying videos and live photos within the app bring libraries to life, allowing users to enjoy past moments while browsing their collections.

The app also offers customisation options, enabling users to organise and pin collections, ensuring that their most cherished memories are always easily accessible.

Revolutionary Messaging Enhancements

iOS 18 brings significant updates to the Messages app, enhancing the way users communicate.

The introduction of new text effects allows for more expressive messaging, with dynamic animations that amplify any letter, word, phrase, or emoji. Users can also format their messages with bold, underline, italics, and strikethrough, adding clarity and emphasis to their conversations.

Another major addition is the support for Rich Communication Services (RCS) when messaging contacts who do not have an Apple device. This ensures richer media and more reliable group messaging compared to traditional SMS and MMS, bridging the gap between different mobile platforms.

One of the most groundbreaking features is the introduction of Messages via satellite. Leveraging the same technology as existing iPhone satellite capabilities, users can now send and receive texts, emoji, and Tapbacks over iMessage and SMS when cellular or Wi-Fi connections are unavailable. This feature automatically connects users to the nearest satellite, ensuring that they can stay connected even in remote areas.

Advanced Mail Features for Better Organisation

The Mail app has been enhanced to help users manage their inboxes more efficiently.

On-device intelligence now categorises incoming emails into Primary, Transactions, Updates, and Promotions, making it easier to navigate and prioritise messages. This categorisation is designed to help users quickly identify and address the most important emails.

Additionally, a new digest view consolidates relevant emails from a business, allowing users to quickly scan for important information. This feature aims to reduce clutter and improve the overall email management experience.

Safari and Passwords: Enhanced Security and Convenience

Safari, already renowned as the world’s fastest browser, has received updates that make discovering information on the web even easier.

The new Highlights feature uses machine learning to surface key information about a webpage, such as summaries, locations, and relevant media, providing a richer browsing experience. The redesigned Reader mode offers distraction-free reading with added summaries and tables of contents for longer articles.

Building on the foundation of Keychain, the new Passwords app simplifies the management of passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and verification codes. The app also alerts users to common weaknesses, such as reused or easily guessed passwords, and those involved in data breaches, enhancing overall security.

Privacy and Security at the Forefront

iOS 18 introduces several new privacy features designed to give users greater control over their data. Users can now lock and hide apps, ensuring that sensitive information remains private. The ability to share specific contacts with an app further enhances privacy, allowing users to maintain control over their data.

Apple Intelligence, deeply integrated into iOS 18, combines generative AI with personal context to deliver highly relevant and useful experiences. This system uses on-device processing to ensure that personal data remains private while providing powerful capabilities like text rewriting, proofreading, and summarisation across various apps.

Additional Features and Enhancements

Beyond the major updates, iOS 18 introduces a range of new features designed to improve usability and enrich the user experience:

  • Apple Maps: The app now includes thousands of hikes across national parks in the United States, custom walking routes, and an all-new Places Library for saving favourite locations and notes.
  • Game Mode: Enhances gaming performance with consistent frame rates and more responsive wireless accessories like AirPods and game controllers.
  • Apple Pay: New payment options include redeeming rewards and accessing instalments from eligible credit or debit cards. Tap to Cash allows users to send and receive Apple Cash by simply holding two iPhones together.
  • SharePlay: Expanded to allow multiple users to control music playing from HomePod, Apple TV, or any Bluetooth-enabled speaker.
  • AirPods: Personalised Spatial Audio, improved Siri interactions, and Voice Isolation for clearer calls in noisy environments.
  • Notes and Journal: Instant formula solving, new collapsible sections, and highlights in Notes. Journal app enhancements include an insights view, audio transcription, and quick entry widgets.
  • Calendar: Integration with Reminders to show events and tasks, updated month view, and the ability to manage reminders directly from the calendar.
  • Health App: Redesigned Medical ID, adjustments for pregnancy health, and emergency SOS live video sharing.
  • Home App: Guest access for smart home controls, hands-free unlock with home keys, and energy usage tracking for informed decision-making.
  • Accessibility: Eye Tracking for navigation, Music Haptics for experiencing music through vibrations, and Vocal Shortcuts for performing tasks with custom sounds.

The Future of iPhone with Apple Intelligence

The introduction of Apple Intelligence marks a new era for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. This personal intelligence system combines the power of generative AI with personal context to enhance productivity and simplify everyday tasks. Integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple Intelligence leverages Apple silicon to deliver capabilities such as language and image understanding, contextual actions, and advanced text and image creation.

One of the key features is the systemwide Writing Tools, which allow users to rewrite, proofread, and summarise text across various apps. The new Image Playground enables quick creation of playful images, and Memories in Photos lets users generate personalised stories based on descriptions, crafting narratives with selected photos and videos.

Also read: Elon Musk threatens Apple device ban over OpenAI partnership

Siri also benefits from Apple Intelligence, becoming more natural and contextually relevant. Users can now type to Siri and switch between text and voice, enhancing the flexibility of interactions. The integration of ChatGPT into Siri and Writing Tools provides users with access to advanced expertise and capabilities without needing to switch between different tools.

iOS 18 represents a significant leap forward for Apple, offering a wide range of new features and improvements designed to enhance the iPhone experience. From unprecedented customisation options and a redesigned Photos app to revolutionary messaging capabilities and the introduction of Apple Intelligence, this update promises to make the iPhone more powerful, intuitive, and secure than ever before.

As Craig Federighi aptly summarised, “This release marks the beginning of a tremendously exciting new era of personal intelligence with Apple Intelligence delivering intuitive, powerful, and instantly useful experiences that will transform the iPhone experience, all with privacy at the core. We can’t wait for users to experience it.”

Samuel Bolaji

Samuel Bolaji holds a Master of Letters in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an experienced researcher, multimedia journalist, writer, and Editor. He is currently the Editor of Arbiterz.

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