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iOS 18 rumors suggest Home Screen customization, generative AI, and RCS support

According to the latest reports, iOS 18 could be set to be the biggest update in years when it releases this September. Analysts at Bloomberg expect Apple will make sweeping changes, including more control over app layouts, integrating artificial intelligence, and improved texting with non-Apple devices.

Home Screen customization

One of the main changes being reported is in how users can arrange their Home Screens. Currently, users don’t get much control beyond ordering their apps and widgets, but iOS 18 is expected to open things up a bit.

The underlying grid will remain, to keep things from getting too messy, but rumor has it users will be able to place their apps anywhere by adding blank spaces between icons. That means you will no longer be required to have apps right at the top of the screen where they’re hard to reach, instead docking them wherever you like.

Sure, that’s already possible, but only via a fiddly process involving third-party widgets and custom shortcuts. Apple making this change in iOS would simplify things a lot.

Generative AI

We’re also hearing that Apple is looking to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) before it falls too far behind the competition. These would likely come as improvements to Siri, with some suggesting we might even see Siri branch into a fully conversational interface like the one popularized by ChatGPT.

Apple, of course, prioritizes privacy over many other things. That’s one of the reasons Siri isn’t currently as advanced as some other smart assistants. We’d expect Apple to continue running most functions on-device, with speed and privacy at the forefront.

But for more complex generative AI queries, reports say Apple may turn to Google for help. We could see a partnership that brings Google’s Gemini AI to Apple devices, rather than Apple trying to play catch-up with its own tech.

RCS support

The Messages app is great for chatting with other people who own Apple devices, but it’s not ideal for your green-bubbled friends texting from other phones. Texting with those contacts is as simple as it gets, but supporting the universal messaging standard known as RCS would change that.

This change would be a substantial upgrade to the iPhone-to-Android chat experience. It would unlock high-quality media sharing, read receipts, live typing indicators, and location sharing. Sadly, RCS messages are not end-to-end encrypted, so it still wouldn’t be as secure as texting another Apple user via iMessage.

It’s long been expected that Apple will add RCS text message support to iMessage; pressure from regulators in the EU makes it almost a certainty. But we now know that iOS 18 is the most likely time for these changes to arrive.