8 AI Features Coming to iPhone That You Need To Know About

Apple’s upcoming iOS 18 has a pointed AI focus, and may well be one of the most drastic software upgrades in the iPhone’s history.

by Emma Madden
Apple is planning to announce new AI features coming to iOS 18 for the iPhone at WWDC 2024 on June 1...
Photograph by Raymond Wong

In the AI race between Microsoft, Google, and Apple, the house that Steve Jobs built clearly has the late start. While Microsoft and Google have rolled out AI features at a dizzying rate, Apple has taken its time, a test of patience and refusal to trust blindly in beta AI products.

According to Bloomberg, Apple will soon introduce a number of AI-themed upgrades to the iPhone as part of its upcoming iOS 18 software update. There’s still a few weeks to go before CEO Tim Cook’s keynote speech at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where he’s expected to officially announce Apple’s AI strategy. But for now, here’s a batch of potential AI-based upgrades that might be coming to iPhones by the end of the year.

1. AI-generated emojis


Let’s start with the standout. While Apple is mostly playing catch-up with Microsoft’s new Copilot AI capabilities, an idea that is so far uniquely Apple’s is its AI emoji feature. Supposedly, iOS 18 will introduce users to a new way of texting, with custom emojis — beyond Apple’s current catalog — on constant standby. That means an emoji will be generated based on what you text, no matter what you type in.

2. Smart Summaries

This one was leaked a little while back, so by now you might already know that a big part of iOS 18 will be its smart summaries. These are due to be baked into just about every major part of the software experience: Emails, webpages, and messages will be condensed into bite-sized pieces of information, saving you a lot of reading and scrolling time.

3. A Long-Due Safari Upgrade

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At this rate, Safari is swiftly reaching Internet Explorer levels of obsolescence. It’s been due for a good renovation for some time now. Well, here it comes. Potentially confirming earlier leaks, Safari will be upgraded with an AI-backed web search, which should mean better results and quick summaries.

4. Photo Retouching

This feature won’t exactly rock the boat, but it should help Apple catch up to Samsung Galaxy’s impressive generative AI editing suite. Among Apple’s new AI photo retouching tools could be the ability to erase or shift objects in the frame, and to enhance colors.

5. A More Helpful and Realistic Siri

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Following up on previous reports, Siri is about to get quite a bit more realistic, with a less robotic-sounding voice and better responses overall. Siri has seen relatively little improvement in its 13 years of existence, so this may be one of the most drastic shifts to the virtual assistant. Expect a larger range of expertise and assistance, too, including the ability to summarize emails and messages. Siri’s IQ is set to increase by quite a wide margin.

6. Voice Memo Transcription

Not exactly a new idea here either, but one that will be very welcome on iOS all the same. Google’s Pixel phones have already made good use of AI to help turn voice memos into text, now Apple is working to follow suit. This will probably enhance the Voice Memos experience, allowing users to automatically transcribe speech, making the lives of students and journalists a little easier.

7. Automatic Replies

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If you find yourself stuck on something to say, then Apple’s smart AI responses should soon have your back. Handing over your texting responsibilities to an AI could potentially get a little hairy, so Apple will provide suggestions that can be reviewed and edited, rather than simply sending texts to your contact list on the fly.

8. Local On-Device AI > The Cloud

While a substantial amount of AI tech has been powered in the cloud, Apple will soon look to rely on its own large language models so that its upcoming generative AI features can run locally and in the background. This should allow for quicker response times and greater privacy and safety, but it may prove problematic for more robust AI operations that require more processing power.

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