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iOS 18 Review: Is It the Best iPhone Update Yet?

November 16, 2023

The iPhone, renowned for its innovation and user-friendly interface, continues to evolve with each software update. Apple’s iOS, the operating system powering these iconic devices, stands at the heart of their functionality. With the release of iOS 18, anticipation surges as users eagerly await the enhancements and features promised by this latest update.

In this comprehensive review, we delve into the depths of iOS 18 to discern whether it lives up to the hype and holds the title of the best iPhone update to date. From performance improvements to new functionalities and everything in between, this analysis aims to provide an insightful overview of what iOS 18 brings to the table and whether it sets a new standard for excellence in the realm of smartphone operating systems.

iOS 18 Review: A bigger update than usual

iOS 18 Review: A bigger update than usual

The previous versions of Apple’s iPhone software have been comparatively small enhancements, even though they may not appear like it when you list the changes in recent releases like iOS 17 and iOS 16. All of the major updates in iOS 17, such as StandBy Mode, Live Voicemail, and Contact Posters, are merely improvements to pre-existing features and apps. Even more recent releases, such as the Journal app that came with iOS 17.2, don’t change how you use your iPhone.

To do that, you would need to revert to the iOS 14 update from 2020, which allowed you to rearrange your phone’s apps into an App Library and add widgets to the home screen. There were new methods to engage with your iPhone thanks to this upgrade.

From the little leaks of iOS 18 that we have heard so far, it appears like Apple is aiming for a similar release with its next iOS iteration. Sure, your iPhone does include some AI-powered functions, but not quite as many as the initial speculations regarding iOS 18’s feature set suggest.

Consider Siri, a feature of the iPhone that dates back to iOS 5. Siri can now handle consecutive queries without requiring you to reactivate the virtual assistant on Apple’s most recent update. For instance, you might ask Siri to remind you that you have an appointment tomorrow and then instantly follow up with a query on the weather.

Now contrast that with some of the rumors we’ve heard about iOS 18’s use of AI. According to an article in The Information, Apple’s AI implementation will enable you to start multi-step processes with just your voice. It’s far more difficult to ask Siri many questions at once than it is to use a straightforward voice command to make a group of recently taken images into a GIF and then forward them to a contact, as the example given on that page illustrates.

Apple playing AI catch-up

Apple playing AI catch-up

The belief that Apple’s AI efforts lag behind those of other tech companies is another reason for the increased interest in iOS 18 and its possible AI-powered features. This view is not unjustified.

Microsoft worked with OpenAI in 2023 alone to introduce the Copilot AI assistant to Windows 11 and integrate ChatGPT into Bing and Edge searches. Google unveiled Bard, a generative AI chatbot, intending to incorporate it into Google Assistant.

The biggest opponent of Apple in the smartphone market, Samsung, has emphasized its own AI projects. Galaxy AI is expected to make its debut on the Galaxy S24 models in the upcoming year. The phone manufacturer promises “universal intelligence on your phone as you’ve never seen it before.” The S24 models are anticipated to have a variety of AI-powered camera and picture processing features, as well as the ability to compose emails, summarize papers, and translate content on-device.

So what’s Apple’s take on all of this? According to reports, the corporation plans to invest $1 billion a year in generative AI research and development. With iOS 18, we could see the fruits of these efforts for the first time.

iOS 18 pushing more iPhone upgrades

iOS 18 pushing more iPhone upgrades

Additionally, it’s important to keep an eye on iOS 18, since Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggests Apple may be depending on the software update to play a significant role in iPhone upgrades next year. According to Gurman, the iPhone 16 hardware “won’t have any major advances next year,” one way Apple may pique interest in its newest phones is by incorporating AI functions into the operating system.

Because of this, there have been some rumors speculating that the iPhone 16 models would be placed specifically for AI-driven features on the smartphone. These AI functions could instead be cloud-based for older phones running iOS 18. Among other advantages, that would mean quicker AI performance for iPhone 16 models potent enough to handle on-device AI.

It is common for an iOS upgrade to limit part of its functionality to specific iPhone models. For example, the most recent iOS 17 update requires an iPhone 12 or later to use a new feature called FaceTime, which controls on-screen effects with hand movements. But it’s not uncommon for features to be limited to a particular generation of iPhones; iOS 18’s on-device AI activities seem to be one example of this.

iOS 18 outlook

There’s still plenty of time before iOS 18’s anticipated sneak peek at WWDC in the summer of next year, so more specific information on Apple’s AI intentions may surface in the interim. But even this early on, it’s evident that iOS 18 won’t be like other iPhone updates. And it makes sense that people are curious to see what new capabilities iOS 18 will provide.


The iPhone, known for its innovation and user-friendly interface, continues to evolve with each software update, with iOS 18 being the latest release. This comprehensive review aims to provide an insightful overview of what iOS 18 brings to the table and whether it sets a new standard for excellence in the realm of smartphone operating systems.

It is expected that iOS 18 will be a big driver of iPhone upgrades next year, as Apple could be counting on the software update to be a big driver of iPhone upgrades. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the iPhone 16 hardware “won’t have any major advances next year,” so AI features added to the operating system could be one way in which Apple drums up interest in its latest smartphones.

It’s not unusual for an iOS update to restrict some of its features to select iPhone models, but this could be happening with on-device AI tasks in iOS 18. There is a lot of time between now and iOS 18’s likely sneak preview at next summer’s WWDC, so more concrete details about Apple’s AI plans could emerge in the interim.

In conclusion, iOS 18 is expected to bring significant enhancements and new functionalities to the iPhone, setting a new standard for excellence in smartphone operating systems. While rumors are suggesting that Siri will be able to field back-to-back requests without having to re-activate the virtual assistant, the limited number of leaks suggests that iOS 18 could be the first chance to see the fruits of these efforts.


Should I upgrade to iOS 17 now?

That’s all well and good, but switching to Apple’s most recent operating system, iOS 17, is safer since it receives a lot more security patches than iOS 16. According to security expert Josh Long, you should update to iOS 17 if your iPhone is capable of running it and you are concerned about security.

Which iPhones support iOS 18?

iOS 18-compatible devices

  • iPhone XR*
  • iPhone XS*
  • iPhone XS Max*
  • iPhone SE 2nd Gen.
  • iPhone SE 3rd Gen.
  • iPhone 11.
  • iPhone 11 Pro.
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max.

What iPhone will get iOS 17?

Who can get iOS 17? According to Apple’s website, owners of more recent iPhone models, including the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max, the iPhone 11, iPhone SE (second generation and above), the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14, can download iOS 17. Nevertheless, the system upgrade will not work with iPhone models from before.