iOS 18: the five upgrades I'm really hoping for at WWDC 2024

iPhone 11 review
iOS 13 running on the iPhone 11 (Image credit: TechRadar)

It’s almost time for WWDC 2024, with the event set to kick off on June 10, and it’s here where we’re sure to get our first official look at iOS 18.

This should be worth tuning in for, as leaks suggest that iOS 18 could be a massive overhaul of Apple’s smartphone operating system, with major AI features added, and big changes to both the appearance of the interface and how you interact with it.

This could be exactly what iOS needs to stay fresh and current – and to catch up with rivals like Samsung and Google, which have already baked a lot of AI into their phones.

But while this all sounds very promising, there are five specific upgrades that I’d really like to see in iOS 18, and I’ve listed these below.

1. An AI photo editor to rival Google’s

Google Pixel 8a showing camera app focused on living room

The Pixel 8a has powerful photo editing capabilities (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Google has packed the Pixel 8 full of all sorts of AI magic, including a whole suite of photo editing tools. These let you do things like move or remove objects in images, make things appear larger or smaller, unblur images, adjust the position or brightness of light sources, change the color of the sky, and more.

These don’t all work perfectly all the time, but they’re generally quite impressive, and are sure to only get better as Google’s AI capabilities improve.

Over on iPhone, there’s nothing close to this (at least not in first-party apps), but it’s something that I’d love to see Apple add with iOS 18.

Of course, you could argue that editing images as heavily as Google now allows can make them fake, rather than in any way replicating reality. That’s a bigger discussion, but I think the ability to tweak imperfect images to bring them closer to what you intended or hoped to capture is definitely valuable.

I’m not optimistic that Apple will allow you to easily stray far from reality with its photo editing tools, but we may well at least see AI used to optimize the lighting and colors in images.

2. A ChatGPT-like overhaul for Siri

Siri saying Sorry, I don't understand on iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Even before the arrival of ChatGPT, Siri felt like it had been left behind by rival services like Google Assistant, Alexa, and even Bixby, as it frequently fails to understand questions or carry out requests. And now that ChatGPT and other AI-powered chatbots have arrived, it’s starting to feel even more dated.

So more than perhaps anything else in iOS, Siri is in desperate need of some improvements, and an AI overhaul would be an obvious one.

I’d like to see Siri be able to carry out complex, multi-part requests, and follow the thread of a full conversation.

And there are signs that some or all of this might be coming to Siri, with various leaks pointing to an AI overhaul for Siri – one that might even be powered by ChatGPT.

3. Spam call alerts

An image of an incoming call on iPhone

The iPhone's call screen is great... unless it's an unknown number (Image credit: Apple)

Spam and scam calls are a constant annoyance, and where on Android I can at least use a third-party app like Truecaller to provide live caller ID, there’s no such functionality on the iPhone.

Truecaller exists, but to identify unknown callers with it you have to pay for a subscription and then ask Siri to search Truecaller's database every time an unknown number appears on your phone.

So with iOS 18 I’d, at a minimum, like Apple to allow Truecaller and similar apps to provide live caller ID on the call screen, so I can easily identify, ignore, and block spam calls. But better yet I’d love to see Apple build a similar system into iOS.

With the sheer number of people who use iPhones, its database could dwarf those of third-party apps, making spam and scam calls far less of an annoyance. Sadly, there’s no indication that this is something Apple is working on, so I don’t expect to see this in iOS 18, but I live in hope.

4. A fully customizable Control Center

The iOS Control Center on an iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

Right now, Apple only allows very limited customization of Control Center, with about half of it being unchangeable, but I’d love to see it become fully customizable with iOS 18.

That way you could choose exactly which shortcuts and controls you want access to, and which you don’t. And it wouldn’t waste space on things that you never use.

There’s a chance this will happen, as one recent leak suggests that Apple is testing a redesigned Control Center that will be easier to customize, but it doesn’t specify whether you’ll be able to customize everything in it.

5. An overhaul of the Camera app

iPhone 15 Pro review Portrait mode camera UI

The iPhone's camera interface could use some work (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

For all the talk of iOS being intuitive, I’d argue that isn’t always the case, with the Camera app being a prime example.

Its settings are split between the app itself and the phone’s main Settings menu, certain modes and features like burst mode and long exposures are somewhat hidden, and many options require a swipe to display – which is convenient once you know to do that, but won’t be obvious to everyone.

So I’d like to see Apple work on the Camera app to make its various features more obvious and less hidden.

Will this happen? Well, some reports say iOS 18 will have a visual overhaul, so changes to the Camera app are very possible, but it remains to be seen whether these changes will address my issues with it.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.