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Our favorite features so far in iOS 18

iOS 18 adds Genmoji to the messaging mix

Apple’s iOS 18 is on full display after Monday’s WWDC keynote, and there’s a lot to talk about! Here are our favorite new features that were previewed.

These yearly updates are full of hundreds of new features but there were a few things that stuck out to us including the revamped Control Center, smart home improvements, and of course Apple Intelligence.

Control Center

With the forthcoming update, Control Center is getting an overhaul with more colors, more pages, and more controls.

You still access it by swiping down from the top-right corner, which takes you to the first page full of your favorites. Just swipe up to go to the additional pages for dedicated media, smart home, and connectivity controls.

Control Center in edit mode

It’s easy to edit Control Center with iOS 18

To speed things up, you can continuously pull down to jump directly to these new pages.

Control Center can also be intricately customized. Tap the + button in the top-left corner and you’ll see both first-party and third-party buttons and toggles you can add.

Showing all the controls that can be added to Control Center

There are lots of new controls that can be added to Control Center

Apple demoed this with the new Ford app that would let you lock/unlock the car or turn on the AC preemptively. At launch, we’ll surely see many more third-party options added.


Messages got a lot of changes but we want to point out three impending upgrades — Genmoji, Send Later, and RCS.

Genmoji has been a standout hit from WWDC and for good reason. When you can’t find the right emoji, iOS 18 will just create it for you.

Creating an emoji with cucumbers over its eyes

Creating an emoji with cucumbers over its eyes

You can use natural language to describe what emoji you need and it will appear with several options to choose from. They behave otherwise just like emoji.

You can send them with text, by themselves, or as a Tapback.

Send Later does just what the name implies — you compose your text and then choose the time you want to send it.

Send Later UI in iOS 18

Send messages in the future with iOS 18

Maybe you want to remember to text your friend about their birthday tomorrow. Write “happy birthday” and schedule it to send the next morning.

Finally, RCS will arrive in the fall. It was widely expected that RCS would arrive with iOS 18 and now it’s official.

RCS will improve messaging with Android devices by including support for read receipts, typing indicators, sending over Wi-Fi, and higher quality media.

Related to Messages, Apple will also let you record calls with iOS 18. When enabled, it will automatically alert both parties to the recording so there are no surprises.

That conversation is recorded and automatically transcribed. You can save it, search through it, or export it to another app at that point.

Mac mirroring

If you have a Mac running macOS Sequoia, you can soon mirror your iPhone with iOS 18. This was possible before, but not nearly to the same degree.

When your phone is mirrored, you can interact with it, just like you were holding it. Swipe, tap, open apps, and more.

Even notifications and audio get relayed. All while your phone is safely in your bag, pocket, or charging in the other room.

A MacBook Pro with an iPhone mirrored to the display

A MacBook Pro with an iPhone mirrored to the display

One great use case of this is monitoring my toddler in his sleep. He sleeps in a Cradlewise crib and the companion app isn’t available on Mac.

With this, a notification on my iPhone would appear on my Mac that says he’s stirring. When I then click the notification, it starts the mirroring and opens the Cradlewise app.

We can then check on the little guy and decide if he was rolling over or is ready to get up from his nap.

Lastly, you can drag and drop between your Mac and your iPhone. Drag an image from your downloads folder directly into an app you have open on your phone.

Unfortunately, this feature is not yet in the betas.

Smart home changes

There were a few smart home changes to be excited for, but we were most eager about the long-awaited support for robotic vacuums and mops.

These will now show in the Home app and were introduced with version 1.2 of Matter. They say you’ll be able to adjust power control, different cleaning modes, and check charge status via Siri.

The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra vacuum

The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra is one of the first to support the Home app

They’ll also be able to be included in scenes too, such as you “goodbye” scene that will lock the door, close your blinds, and then run the vacuum.

One downside though is that they won’t be available right at launch. We can’t wait for it to arrive though, along with any other smart home features.

Apple Intelligence

We couldn’t make a summary list of the best iOS 18 features without touching on Apple Intelligence. It’s so expansive though, including encompassing features like Genmoji and call recording we mentioned above.

The new writing tools look awesome. Anywhere that you have a text box, like Messages, email, notes, and writing apps, you can use the new Apple Intelligence writing tools.

Writing tools adjusting an email

Edit text anywhere with Apple Intelligence writing tools

They can help proofread to make sure what you wrote is grammatically correct. They can help you rewrite your message in a different tone such as friendly or professional. Or use them to summarize a long block of text.

Apple Intelligence can also be used for image generation. You can create images in three different styles such as animation, illustration, or sketch.

These can be used in messages to celebrate a birthday or you can create images based on your notes.

There are so many options here Apple created a whole dedicated app called image playground where you can play around with images and styles and share them wherever you want.

The last feature set to mention is how Apple is improving Siri. The maligned voice assistant will become much more capable and be able to parse natural language better.

You can stumble through your command and Siri will still understand what your intent was. And, it can string multiple commands together.

Much of this is processed on device privately and securely but if it does benefit from a remote server, they’re using a new feature called Secure Cloud Compute. This will anonymize your request, and send it to an Apple Silicon-based server that is incapable of logging or storing anything that uses publicly available source code to be sure nothing is ever saved or compromised.

We’ll be talking about the interaction between a device and Secure Cloud Compute very soon.

Coming in the fall of 2024

All of these features – and much more – will arrive this fall in iOS 18. Apple has so far released the first developer betas and the public betas will be arriving in July.