Apple's iOS 18 update for iPhone said to be biggest in company's history

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

The iPhone 16 will without a doubt be one of the biggest releases of 2024, but Apple's annual smartphone refresh is only half the story. While the brand's hardware sets the boundaries of what the device is capable of, it's up to the device's software to take full advantage of it.

And, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple views this year's upcoming iOS 18 software release as "One of the biggest iOS updates — if not the biggest — in the company's history."

iOS 18: More open, more safe, more AI?

Early word on iOS 18 is always welcome, especially when it alludes to major and positive changes coming our way. However, ahead of the upcoming milestone release, Apple is still working hard on the next iOS 17.4 release, expected to arrive on March 6.

The iOS 17.4 update is expected to include automatically generated transcripts for Apple Podcasts, a multi-lingual update for Siri's Read Messages function, new emoji (including a phoenix, broken chain, mushroom, slice of lime, and nodding/shaking head expressions), and refinements to the new Stolen Device Protection feature introduced in iOS 17.3.

March's iOS update is also expected to bring with it support for alternative app marketplaces in 27 EU countries to adhere to the EU's new Digital Markets Act — giving users more freedom of choice when it comes to which apps they can make use of and from whom they acquire them.

Looking beyond this update, what can we expect from iOS 18? Well, as of yet, very little is set in stone. We do know that RCS support is expected to arrive in 2024 after Apple confirmed as much in an announcement from October of last year. Thanks to earlier reporting by Gurman, we also know that Apple is heavily invested in bringing AI to the iPhone with the next major iOS release.

iOS 18's AI features are said to include a revamped Siri that adopts elements of current Large Language Models like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Microsoft Copilot. Apple's AI plans also reportedly branch off into various other apps like Messages, Apple Music, Keynote, and Pages, to provide auto-complete responses and playlists, as well as generative drafting.


While Gurman's details on what makes iOS 18 such a groundbreaking release were scant, we've already heard enough about its RCS and AI ambitions to know it has the potential to live up to the early hype.

Balance these new adoptions with a slew of overall software tweaks that may introduce new features and you quickly understand why those in Apple Park might be thinking so highly of iOS' next milestone release, expected to arrive in September, 2024.

Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.