With iOS 18, Apple’s privacy-focus may push into a whole new world

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With the recent buzz surrounding AI in iOS 18, there are understandably privacy concerns. But according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman (via AppleInsider), many of the initial AI features for iOS 18 "will work entirely on device" — the same privacy approach Samsung took with many of the AI features on its S24 lineup. 

Put simply, this means that the first round of AI features won't require an internet connection or any type of cloud-based processing. More advanced AI features introduced later on will likely need an internet connection to send data between your device and Apple's servers, but basic text and response generation features won't.

Which apps will get AI upgrades in iOS 18?

The first AI features to hit iOS 18 will probably be basic text analysis and response generation. Because of this, the apps that will most likely get the AI treatment first include Messages, Safari, Spotlight Search, and Siri.

And with Apple's in-house large language model (LLM) — codenamed "Ajax" — it might be able to prevent the hallucination problem that plagues many AI tools.

When an AI tool "hallucinates," it's confidently generating incorrect information. AI models gather info from the internet — which is full of facts, opinions, and everything in between — and don't know how to pinpoint what's correct. Then, AI models learn from one another, and the problem gets worse.

AI features in iOS 18 might include helping you create a formal text to a coworker in Messages, summarize a long paragraph in an article on Safari, or pose complex questions to Siri.

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While these basic features should be able to function on-device, more advanced features might not be able to. It's possible that the iPhone 16 and future iPhones could be equipped with hardware that's more than capable of handling all AI features on-device, however in the short term, many features will likely require an internet connection to reach their full potential.

If Apple truly follows in Samsung's footsteps with privacy concerns, iPhone users might be able to set AI features to on-device-only like Galaxy S24 users can. Enabling a setting like this would prevent data from being sent to Apple's servers, but limit certain AI features that require cloud-based processing to work.

To get the full rundown on AI features headed to iOS 18 and macOS 15, we'll have to wait until WWDC 2024, which kicks off on June 10.