Why iOS 18 is the Best Update Yet: Everything You Need to Know

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iOS 18

Apple previewed iOS 18, a groundbreaking update that brings an unprecedented level of customisation, the most significant redesign of the Photos app to date, and advanced connectivity features. 

This release also marks the introduction of Apple Intelligence, a sophisticated personal intelligence system that enhances the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes this truly outstanding

Enhanced Customisation and Control

iOS 18 offers users innovative ways to personalise their devices. Apps and widgets can now be arranged freely on the Home Screen, including above the dock, and new customisation options for the Lock Screen and Control Centre have been introduced. 

Users can modify the appearance of app icons and widgets with dark or tinted effects, and adjust their size for a tailored visual experience. Control Centre has been revamped to provide quicker access to frequently used controls, including third-party app functions, and users can customise the layout and size of controls to suit their needs.

Revamped Photos App

The Photos app has received its largest-ever redesign, making it easier to organise and enjoy memories. A unified view presents photo libraries in a single, accessible format, with new collections that automatically organise favourites. A carousel view updates daily to highlight important people, places, and pets while autoplaying content breathes life into photo libraries.

Read more: Optimising Performance in iOS Development Tips and Tricks

Advanced Messaging and Connectivity

iMessage now includes new text effects and formatting options, allowing users to express themselves more vividly. The app also supports RCS for richer media and more reliable group messaging with non-Apple devices. A major innovation is the ability to send messages via satellite when no cellular or Wi-Fi connection is available, using technology similar to existing iPhone satellite capabilities. This feature ensures communication remains uninterrupted in remote areas.

Improved Mail and Safari

Later this year, the Mail app will introduce on-device categorisation to organise emails into Primary, Transactions, Updates, and Promotions. A new digest view will collate relevant emails from businesses, streamlining the inbox experience. Safari, already the world’s fastest browser, has been enhanced with Highlights for summarising webpage content and a redesigned Reader for distraction-free reading.

New Passwords App and Privacy Features

The new Passwords app, built on the foundation of Keychain, offers easy access to passwords, passkeys, and verification codes. It alerts users to common password weaknesses and known data breaches. Privacy features in iOS 18 give users more control over app visibility, contact sharing, and accessory connections, including options to lock and hide apps for added security.

Introduction of Apple Intelligence

Apple Intelligence, deeply integrated into iOS 18, leverages generative models and personal context to provide relevant and useful insights. This system includes Writing Tools for rewriting, proofreading, and summarising text, and new image capabilities through Image Playground, allowing users to create playful images in various styles. The Photos app now features a Memories tool for creating storylines from user descriptions and a Clean Up tool for removing background distractions in photos.

Apple Intelligence also improves Siri, making it more conversational and contextually appropriate. Users can type to Siri and easily transition between text and voice interactions. AI privacy is ensured through Private Cloud Compute, which processes data on-device or on secure Apple servers, with no data storage or access by Apple.

Additional Features and Updates

iOS 18 includes a range of new features such as custom walking routes in Apple Maps, Game Mode for improved gaming performance, enhanced Apple Pay capabilities, and updates to AirPods for better audio and personalisation. The Notes app introduces instant equation-solving and new organisational tools, while the Journal app adds insights, search functionality, and integration with the Health app.

Calendar now integrates events and tasks from Reminders, offering a comprehensive view of schedules. The Health app has been redesigned for easier access to emergency information and provides better pregnancy data insights. Emergency SOS Live Video enables users to share live video or recorded media with emergency responders for quicker assistance.

The Home app introduces guest access for smart home control and hands-free unlock using Ultra Wideband technology. Energy category updates help users make informed decisions about their home electricity use.

Accessibility Enhancements

iOS 18 introduces Eye Tracking for hands-free navigation, Music Haptics for experiencing music through vibrations, and Vocal Shortcuts for performing tasks with custom sounds.

Also read: iOS 17 Makes iPhone More Personal and Intuitive

Additional Features in iOS 18

  • Apple Maps in iOS 18 lets users explore thousands of hiking trails in US national parks and create custom walking routes accessible offline. Users can save their favourite hikes and routes to a new Places Library, adding personal notes for each location.
  • Game Mode improves the gaming experience by providing consistent frame rates during long play sessions and making wireless accessories like AirPods and game controllers more responsive.
  • The Journal app features an insights view to track journaling goals. Improved search and sorting capabilities make it easier to revisit past entries. Journaling time can be logged as mindful minutes in the Health app, and users can record their state of mind directly in the Journal. An additional widget permits swift input from the Home Screen or Lock Screen, and automatic transcription of audio recordings enables effortless export and printing.
  • Calendar now displays both events and tasks from Reminders, allowing users to create, edit, and complete reminders within the app. The updated monthly view provides a comprehensive overview of all functions and events.
  • The Health app’s redesigned Medical ID feature makes critical information more accessible to emergency first responders. It also offers better insights into pregnancy-related health data, with adjustments and recommendations based on physical and mental health changes.
  • Emergency SOS Live Video enables users to share live video or recorded media with emergency responders during a call, providing crucial context and helping responders assess situations more effectively and quickly.
  • The Home app introduces guest access, allowing users to grant control of selected smart home accessories to guests and set access schedules. Hands-free unlock with home keys uses Ultra Wideband technology to unlock supported entry locks when users are within six feet of the door. Updates to the Energy category make it easier for users to manage their home electricity use more efficiently.
  • iOS 18 includes significant accessibility improvements, such as Eye Tracking for hands-free iPhone navigation, Music Haptics for experiencing music through vibrations, and Vocal Shortcuts that allow users to perform tasks with custom sounds.

These updates make iOS 18 a significant step forward in personalisation, usability, and accessibility, enhancing the iPhone experience for all users.

Implications for iOS Development Services

With the extensive enhancements and new features in iOS 18, the landscape for iOS development services is set to evolve significantly. Developers now have more tools and capabilities to create highly customised and powerful applications, leveraging the advanced features introduced in this update. The deep integration of Apple Intelligence across iPhone, iPad, and Mac will enable developers to build more intelligent and contextually aware apps, enhancing user engagement and functionality.

App Development Opportunities

The new capabilities in iOS 18 present a wealth of opportunities for app development. From the redesigned Photos app and advanced messaging features to the improved Mail and Safari applications, developers can create innovative apps that take full advantage of these updates. Introducing satellite messaging and enhanced privacy features also opens up new avenues for developing secure and reliable communication tools.

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Is iOS 18 Right for You?

With its focus on customisation, improved functionality, and innovative features, iOS 18 is a must-have update for any iPhone user. It injects new life into your device and empowers you to personalise it to perfectly match your style and needs.

Stay tuned! The developer beta of iOS 18 is available through the Apple Developer Program, with a public beta expected next month. The full release will be available this autumn as a free update for iPhone Xs and later. Apple Intelligence will be in beta on chosen devices at first. For more details, visit Apple’s website.

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