Apple's AI aspirations for iOS 18 emerge with 'Safari Browsing Assistant' leak

iOS 18 mockup logo
(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Apple's iOS 18 update is rumored to be one of the biggest in the company's history, supposedly bringing with it new AI features that will refresh the user experience. According to backend code discovered by Nicolás Álvarez on Apple's servers (via MacRumors), one of these new features might be a browsing assistant in Safari powered by generative AI.

Aaron Perris, a MacRumors contributor, confirmed that this backend code exists, but without many details (and obviously no confirmation from Apple), it's all just speculation right now. That said, generative AI in Safari is certainly the most exciting possibility.

iOS 18 might be the AI future iPhones have been waiting for

In addition to discovering code for Apple's possible "Safari browsing assistant," Nicolás Álvarez also found an "Encrypted Visual Search" feature in the backend of Apple's servers. Again, no extra details were attached to this discovery, so it's unclear where the feature might show up.

Another MacRumors contributor, Steve Moser, found a "Visual Search" feature in visionOS beta code for the Vision Pro that would let users copy/paste text from the real world into apps. Since this feature still hasn't launched yet, it's possible that the "Encrypted Visual Search" feature discovered by Álvarez could simply be a new and improved version.

Or, this backend code might be related to the Visual Look Up feature already on iPhones, which lets users quickly and easily identify objects in photos and videos.

Luckily, we won't have to speculate for long. Apple will reveal all the exciting iOS 18 features to look forward to — AI and otherwise — at WWDC 2024, which kicks off June 10.