iOS and AI: everything you need to know

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WWDC kicks off with a keynote, giving us a sneak peek at the upcoming operating systems for Apple products, and this year is no different. 

Artificial intelligence is the buzzword in tech right now, and Apple is diving in headfirst. At today’s WWDC 2024, the Cupertino tech giant announced the new iOS 18 and some fresh AI updates across all its major software, dubbing it Apple Intelligence. 

Following the keynote, developers gain access to a beta build to test their apps. As for us regular users, we can also sign up our iDevices to receive public beta builds once they’re released.

The complete version of iOS usually debuts in September alongside the latest iPhone. Therefore, this year, we anticipate iOS 18, along with its new AI features, to launch alongside the iPhone 16 series.

So, where did Apple sprinkle its AI magic?

Well, pretty much everywhere in its software. But the AI additions in iOS 18 make this the biggest software refresh we have seen in years. And while Apple is spreading AI across its operating systems, Siri is the main highlight.

Siri

Apple has reworked Siri using large language models to make it smarter and more responsive to user queries. The new Siri can now take actions within Apple’s own apps, making the assistant way more capable than it used to be.

The new Siri feels more casual and conversational, with a more natural-sounding voice. It can do more than before, taking into account events, locations, dates, people, and companies. In an essence, Siri will use your information to serve you better results. For example, you can tell Siri to find your driving license and the digital assistant will pull it out from Photos. 

Siri is stepping up its game with some handy new tricks. Imagine being able to tell Siri to open a document, move a file, delete an email, edit a photo, or give you a quick summary of your messages, notifications, and articles. That is the kind of convenience Apple is bringing with the updated Siri.

However, as exciting as all this sounds, we will have to wait a bit. The new Siri experience is set to roll out with the first version of iOS 18 and some of the new features will roll out gradually in the next year. 

Apps and services

Apple is sprinkling AI magic into loads of its own apps, and here is a rundown of the new AI features the company revealed during the event:

  • Safari: Safari is getting smarter with an Intelligent Search feature that uses AI to highlight key topics and phrases on web pages, providing a neat summary. And there is a handy new tool called Web Eraser for hiding pesky parts of web pages that keep popping up.
  • Messages: in the Messages app, get ready for a slew of handy AI features. Now, you will get better-suggested replies powered by AI for swiftly responding to incoming texts. Plus, ‌Siri‌ is stepping up its game by summarizing lengthy messages, making it easier to catch up on conversations. There is also a new emoji feature coming out. Users can make emojis based on their messages. These emojis will be made by AI, and they will be completely original, not from the usual emoji collection. 
  • Mail: the Mail app is improved with a new Smart Replies feature that offers suggestions for quick responses to incoming emails. Alongside that, there are enhancements to the search function and an option to summarize lengthy email threads. Not stopping there, Mail is also getting a makeover with automatic categorization of incoming messages. And you can also use the new Rewrite feature to get different drafts of your text by changing the tone and style of your email. 
  • Photos: in the Photos app, there is a new AI-powered feature that lets users remove unwanted objects from their images. Plus, searching photos and videos gets easier as thanks to AI, the app  understands more complex queries. You can also create a memory by typing a description and letting Apple Intelligence do the work of turning your photos into a movie.
  • Notes: with the latest AI updates, Notes lets you record voice memos directly within the app, complete with a transcript feature. Mathematical notations have been enhanced to accommodate a wider range of equations, and the app also offers AI-generated summaries of key points in both notes and audio recordings.
  • Voice Memos: similar to the Notes app, the Voice Memos app now offers transcripts and summaries for recorded content.
  • Notifications: AI will get summaries of the most important and relevant information. 
  • New Image Playground app: You can create as many images as you want with the help of AI. It is also integrated into Messages and more in-house apps. 

Which devices will be receiving the latest AI features?

‌iOS 18‌ is compatible with all iPhones that support iOS 17, including:
  • iPhone 15 series
  • iPhone 14 series
  • iPhone 13 series
  • iPhone 12 series
  • iPhone 11 series 
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
However, Apple Intelligence will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro models, the latest iPad Pro M4 (2024) models and newer. 

Privacy and security

In iOS 18, some of the new AI features work right on your device, so they won’t rely on cloud servers for processing, which means your data stays on your iPhone. However, other features will work on servers but Apple says you are in control of your data and can choose where to store it. 

Apple usually puts all its features into beta first, so they can test them thoroughly before making them official. The new AI features are all opt-in, if don’t want to use AI, you have the option not to.

What makes all of this possible?

Apple has struck a deal with OpenAI to incorporate ChatGPT into ‌iOS 18‌. Instead of developing its own chatbot, Apple has opted for this integration for now. Users of ‌iOS 18‌ and iPadOS 18 will have the option to enable ChatGPT or not. Also, if you want to use it, it will be free and you won’t need to make an account. 


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