Skip to content

Apple Intelligence Preview: a look at 18 amazing AI-powered features

Apple’s take on AI, dubbed Apple Intelligence, underpins so many awesome (and a few slightly weird) new features in iOS 18. Most of these things will work with iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia too, when they’re released later this year.

Here’s a list of everything you can expect AI to help you do in the near future.

1. A chattier, smarter Siri

Siri’s conversational capabilities have truly leveled up thanks to Apple’s own Large Language Model, meaning it can understand complex prompts and respond more naturally than ever. Siri now understands more of your personal details, it retains context between queries, and it’s aware of what’s on screen. The interface has been updated too, with a glowing light around the screen edge when Siri is active. We just hope it’s as good as it looked in the demos.

2. Siri can now take actions within apps

There’s another Siri function that could be a game-changer: it can now perform hundreds of new actions within both Apple and supported third-party apps. For example, you can ask Siri to pull up a specific article from your Reading List or send photos from a recent event to a friend. This could bring Siri closer than ever to Apple’s original dream for the assistant.

3. Free and secure access to ChatGPT

This is a huge deal. Siri has ChatGPT integration built right in, allowing you to access its expertise and capabilities directly from your device. When you make a request that’s not in Siri’s wheelhouse, it can (optionally) hand off to ChatGPT for a more advanced response. This could be useful for things ChatGPT excels at, like creative tasks and anything requiring a wide general knowledge base. This integration is free, doesn’t require an OpenAI account, and comes with built-in privacy protections, such as obscuring IP addresses and not storing requests.

4. AI tools for all your writing needs

iOS 18 introduces system-wide Writing Tools that can rewrite, proofread, and summarize text in any app with a typing interface. You can adjust the tone of your writing to suit different audiences and tasks, and get instant grammar and style suggestions powered by AI. It’s a bit like a super-powered spellcheck tool.

5. Express yourself with Genmoji

2000+ emoji not enough for you? Genmoji takes emoji to the next level by letting you create custom versions based on a text prompt. The results are styled like genuine emoji, and can even incorporate caricatures of any named contacts from the Photos app. These personalized emojis can be used in messages, shared as stickers, or even used in Tapback reactions.

6. Create AI images with Image Playground

Apple Intelligence in iOS 18 allows you to generate playful generative images in three distinct styles: Animation, Illustration, or Sketch. You can customize these images to your heart’s desire using text prompts. This tool is integrated into apps like Messages, but also runs as a standalone Image Playground app for more in-depth creations. It looks fun, if a little unsettling and morally grey. Interestingly, Apple has chosen not to include a photorealistic option, possibly to stop the spread of misleading fake photos.

7. Image Wand will improve your sketches

The new Image Wand feature in the Notes app leverages AI to enhance your scribbles into polished images. Circle a rough sketch and you’ll get the chance to transform it into an AI-generated image inspired by your starting scrawl. You can also create entirely new images based on context from surrounding text.

8. Instant photo editing with object removal

The new Clean Up tool in Photos uses AI to identify and remove distracting objects in the background of your photos, much like the widely-advertised Google feature that’s been around for a couple of years. Previously, you’d need a third-party app and some level of skill to remove unwanted people from your snaps – now all it takes is a tap.

9. Custom memories in Photos

The video memories in Photos are great, but have always been extremely fiddly to customize. Now, Photos lets you create memories by simply typing a description of what you want to see. AI then selects the best photos and videos, crafts a narrative, and arranges them into a movie with suggested songs from Apple Music. This makes reliving your favorite moments easier and more personalized.

10. Enhanced image and video search

Searching for specific photos and videos in your library becomes easier with natural language search powered by Apple Intelligence. You can find specific moments in video clips or locate photos based on detailed descriptions, such as “Maya skateboarding in a tie-dye shirt.” No need to match exact predefined keywords anymore.

11. Highlights and summaries on the web

Safari introduces Highlights, which uses AI to provide key information summaries for web pages. This allows you to get the gist of an article or see important details at a glance. The redesigned Reader view improves on Safari’s distraction-free reading experience, adding AI-generated summaries and a table of contents for longer articles.

12. An AI assistant for your email

Mail now offers AI-generated smart replies for quick responses and provides summaries of long email threads. This makes it easier to manage your inbox and respond to messages efficiently. The AI also identifies questions in emails to ensure you address everything, and there’s a new view in Mail that collates all communication from a particular sender to give you a zoomed-out overview.

13. Smarter inbox sorting in Mail

In iOS 18, the Mail app automatically sorts your emails into categories like Primary, Transactions, Updates, and Promotions. This helps you quickly find important messages without sifting through clutter. Priority Messages uses AI to filter important emails to the top of your inbox, ensuring you never miss something urgent.

14. AI-powered priority notifications

Notifications in iOS 18 are smarter, with Priority Notifications appearing at the top of the stack to highlight what’s most important. Summaries help you quickly scan long notifications, showing key details on the Lock Screen.

15. Reduce interruptions with a new focus mode

Reduce Interruptions is a new Focus mode that minimizes distractions by only surfacing notifications that might need immediate attention. This feature is ideal for staying present during important tasks or meetings, without fully switching off. It ensures you only see the most critical notifications without being overwhelmed.

16. Audio notes in the standard Notes app

In the Notes app, you can now record audio, which will be automatically transcribed and summarized. This is useful for capturing key points from meetings or calls without manually taking notes. Similar features are also present in Voice Notes.

17. Record and transcribe calls in the Phone app

The Phone app now includes the ability to record calls, which – just like audio notes – are then transcribed and summarized by AI. This feature is perfect for keeping track of important conversations and recalling key points easily. Participants are notified when recording starts, ensuring privacy and transparency.

18. Private Cloud Compute protects your privacy

Unlike other types of AI, most Apple Intelligence features are performed on your device, rather than on a server halfway across the world. This is great for both privacy and response times, but for more complicated tasks that need more power your iPhone or iPad just won’t cut it. Apple has devised a solution called Private Cloud Compute, a way to hand off tasks to Apple’s servers in a secure way. This setup protects your data by ensuring it’s never retained or exposed, with cryptographic checks from independent privacy experts to ensure your continued safety. It sets a high bar for privacy in AI, and hopefully will set a new standard for others to follow.

How to try these new features

iOS 18 won’t be released in full until September, and most of the Apple Intelligence stuff mentioned here won’t even be available for beta testing until late summer. Sit tight, and we’ll bring you news as soon as there’s a way for you to access this stuff.