Will Your iPhone Support iOS 18’s AI Features?

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We’re expecting to see several new AI features in iOS 18, although it’s likely that not all the new features will work on older iPhones — even if the handset is included on the iOS 18 compatibility list.

Apple’s iOS 18 AI features are said to be on two levels. First, there are basic AI features that will be processed on-device, with no cloud connection required. The second, more advanced set of AI features will require a connection to Apple’s AI servers.

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Siri is said to be the heart of these new AI features, and Apple engineers have reportedly had to re-engineer Siri’s underlying software with large language models (LLMs), the algorithm that powers generative AI.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says the improvements will allow Siri to do several new things, including deleting emails, summarizing articles, emailing links, opening specific documents, and much more. Apple reportedly has plans to use AI to analyze what users do on their devices, automatically enabling features where needed.

Apple’s LLM is expected to handle basic AI tasks entirely on-device, processing the model using only the iPhone’s processor, with no need for a cloud connection. While we don’t know what will be considered to be basic AI tasks, the LLM is said to contain code that decides if a request can be processed locally or will require access to Apple’s cloud servers.

Gurman says on-device AI capabilities will require an iPhone 15 Pro or later to work. Meanwhile, we’ve seen rumors that indicate iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models that are capable of running iOS 17. This means we’ll see several devices that can run iOS 18 but won’t have the capabilities to support some of iOS 18’s on-device AI features.

The following iPhones should be compatible with iOS 18:

  • iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro and and iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE (3rd generation)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)

iPadOS 18 and macOS 15 are also expected to share many of the same AI features supported by iOS 18. Gurman has said Macs and iPads powered by at least an M1 chip will be a requirement for on-device AI tasks. This means Apple silicon Macs will be a must for on-device AI in macOS 15 (so Intel Mac owners are SOL) and anything older than a 2021 iPad Pro or 2022 iPad Air will not offer support for on-device AI features in iPadOS 18 — and the current 10th-gen iPad and iPad mini 6 won’t be included at all.

It’s possible that Apple’s AI features won’t be supported by standard iPhone 15 models because they have only 6GB of RAM and an older A16 Bionic chip, while iPhone 15 Pro models boast 8GB of RAM and Apple’s cutting-edge A17 Pro. All Apple Silicon-powered iPads and Macs have a minimum of 8GB of RAM. Since LLMs require large amounts of RAM to perform their magic, 6GB just might not be sufficient for Apple’s AI purposes. 

We’ll likely learn about iOS 18’s system requirements during next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which Apple is expected to kick off with a Keynote address on Monday, June 10 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. During the keynote, Apple will preview new versions of its upcoming operating systems, including iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15, visionOS 2, tvOS 18, and watchOS 11. 

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