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iOS 18 wishlist: What I want to see and what we know so far

There are early iOS 18 rumors suggesting this could be one of the biggest updates in years.

Published onMarch 18, 2024

iOS 17 iPhone smart lists in reminders app

While I prefer Android, I can’t overlook the significant improvements iOS has made in recent years. Some of its major updates, like the widespread adoption of widgets, may not be groundbreaking for those of us familiar with Google’s OS, but Apple’s OS undoubtedly showcases a level of polish and refinement not always present in every Android skin. Released late last year, iOS 17 introduced a host of enhancements, including new contact posters, simplified contact sharing, and more. Although it was a substantial update, I’m eager to see even more meaningful changes in 2024. Let’s explore my wishlist for iOS 18, along with everything we currently know from the latest rumors.

iOS 18: Features we want to see

In the last few updates, Apple has focused a lot on customization, which is something I’d like to see pushed even further. While I’d love to see sideloading come to the US, it’s also important to be realistic here. That’s not happening until Apple is forced to. Most of what I want to see is a few better customizations and an AI overhaul. Let’s dive in.

Better use of the lock screen shortcuts

Apple iPhone 15 Pro lockscreen in hand

Depending on your iPhone model, you may have up to five different methods to access the camera directly from the lock screen, which seems excessive to me. I’d like to see the current method of unlocking the camera by swiping left replaced with a customizable launch function. Perhaps there’s a specific app you want quick access to right from the lock screen, or maybe you want to let your child quickly open their favorite game (likely Minecraft) while restricting access to other functionalities. For those who prefer the left swipe to activate the camera, this could remain an option as well.

How likely is such a feature? It’s difficult to predict. To their credit, Apple has significantly opened up the lock screen in recent updates, introducing enhanced customization options like widgets, special wallpapers, and even the ability to change fonts. While I suspect this specific feature isn’t on Apple’s radar at the moment, it wouldn’t be entirely out of character for the company, and one can at least hope.

Customizable icon placement on the home screen

Apple iPhone 14 homescreen face up

Okay, this suggestion might seem like a stretch. While Android has permitted custom home screen layouts since its inception, Apple has been far more protective of its home screen design. Although adding widgets is now possible, there’s still no option to rearrange icons, reduce their number per page, or organize them into newly grouped pages, among many other customizations that are standard on my Android devices.

It’s high time Apple granted us greater control over the home screen. Despite historical precedence suggesting otherwise, Apple has made several unexpected moves in recent years, including a significant embrace of widgets. Moreover, rumors surrounding iOS 18 hint at it being one of the most substantial updates in years. So perhaps, the idea of enhanced home screen customization in iOS is not as far-fetched as it initially appears?

Siri needs an upgrade or replacement

Siri versus ChatGPT

Siri was already arguably behind the pack when it came to natural responses and functionality even before the AI boom. Since ChatGPT burst on the scene in late 2022, we’ve experienced rapid changes in AI. Most recently, Google took mobile AI to whole new heights with the introduction of its Google Assistant alternative, Gemini. It’s clear that Siri’s current iteration won’t cut it anymore.

The good news is that there are plenty of rumors suggesting AI will be a major focus for Apple. There are whispers that the company is developing its own take on ChatGPT, currently referred to as AppleGPT, though there are also rumors that Apple will adopt Google’s Gemini for its next crop of phones. Beyond that, we’ve also heard reports Apple will show off its newly improved Siri at WWDC 2024 alongside the first preview of iOS 18.

While upgrading Siri is a great start, we also hope to see AI applied meaningfully across iOS 18. What we don’t want is a bunch of gimmicks. Apple usually takes a more reserved approach to emerging technologies so I feel the most logical extension of AI beyond Siri would be the camera app.

Camera AI features would be nice

Apple iPhone 15 Plus 2

I am not entirely convinced by some of the AI features being introduced to Android phones. It’s not that they’re inherently bad; rather, many seem unnecessary or somewhat gimmicky. However, the camera is a notable exception, where AI integration feels both natural and genuinely beneficial.

Google and Samsung have introduced powerful, user-friendly tools that enable users to remove background objects or people from photos effortlessly. Similarly, Audio Magic Eraser is designed to eliminate distracting background noises from videos, representing another genuinely useful application of AI. Moreover, AI expertise has been utilized behind the scenes in newer phones like the Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24, significantly enhancing the automatic quality of photos. Let’s hope Apple is taking note and will incorporate some of these innovative AI features, drawing inspiration from Samsung and Google’s technological advancements.

iOS 18 expected release date

Apple iOS 17 Feature Summary

Apple typically releases its major OS updates annually, usually in mid-September, coinciding with the launch of the next iPhone model.. There’s no indication that this pattern will change in 2024.

Although iOS 18 is not expected to arrive until later this year, you won’t have to wait that long to get a glimpse of what’s coming. Apple almost always unveils new iOS versions at WWDC, held in early June.

Will there be an iOS 18 beta?

Unless Apple changes its strategy in a big way, yes there will be an iOS 18 beta. Typically Apple releases its earliest previews specifically to developers, usually not too long after WWDC. Public betas usually come sometime after that.

iOS 18 rumored features

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Titanium Black

As mentioned previously, we likely won’t officially hear about iOS 18 until WWDC 2024, sometime this summer. Regarding iOS 18 rumors, it’s still very early, but we have heard a few whispers. We’ve already discussed some of them, such as Apple’s plans to build its own GPT chatbot and a significant update for Siri this year, but those aren’t the only rumors circulating.

According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, Apple internally views this as a major upgrade. In fact, the focus for the iPhone 16 will be more on new software features than on hardware improvements. As Mark put it, “Apple is banking on the software to sell people on the new models.” While there’s no clarity on the specific features we can expect, it’s reasonable to anticipate a significant role for AI in this upgrade, echoing trends we’ve seen from Apple and Samsung.

Speculating further, we might expect features like live translation, generative imaging, and generative text, aligning with some of the innovations we’re seeing in the Android ecosystem. However, these features could have a unique Apple twist, as the company often prefers to differentiate its offerings rather than follow current trends directly.

iOS 18 compatibility

While it’s too early to definitively say which iPhone models will support iOS 18, Apple is known for extending support to its devices for as long as feasible. For instance, iOS 17 supports the iPhone XR/XS or newer, dropping support for the iPhone 8 and X. If Apple follows the same pattern, iOS 18 may support the iPhone 11 or newer. However, Apple does not have a guaranteed update policy, making predictions challenging. With Android stepping up its game with the Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24, Apple might even decide to give the iPhone XR/XS one more major OS upgrade. For now, all we can do is speculate.