Will your iPhone support iOS 18? The latest rumors could bring good news

Three iPhones on an orange background showing the Personal Voice feature
(Image credit: Apple)

  • iOS 18 tipped to be compatible with the same models as iOS 17
  • That would mean support for iPhones from the XR onwards
  • Major software update expected to be announced in June

With iOS 18 expected to be one of the biggest updates in iPhone history, the obvious follow-up question is – which models will support it? Well, we now have a good idea thanks to a new rumor from a credible source.

A now-deleted post on X (formerly Twitter) from MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris says that iOS 18 will be compatible with models from the iPhone XR onwards. The XR was released in 2018 and has an A12 bionic chip, which means the rumor suggests that the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will also be compatible.

If true, that means the iOS 18 compatibility list would match the one for last year's iOS 17 update. And that'd be good news, as Apple usually drops support for older devices with each new iteration of iOS. For example, iOS 17 dropped support for the iPhone 8iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

iOS 18 and iPadOS 18: rumored compatibility

An iPhone on an orange background showing Siri

(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 18
iPhone XR, XS and XS Max or later

iPadOS 18
iPad Pro (2018 or later)
iPad Air (2019 or later)
iPad mini (2019 or later)
iPad (2020 or later)

The three latter phones all ran on the A11 Bionic chip, but it seems that the A12 has a longer shelf life for software updates. If the rumor is correct, then Apple will have given the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max six years of software updates (and counting).

However, the news could be less positive for owners of older iPads. According to the same MacRumors source, iPadOS 18 could drop support for iPads running on the A10X and A10 Fusion chips. 

If so, these incompatible models would include the iPad Pros launched in 2017 (including the iPad Pro 10.5 2017 and iPad Pro 12.9 2017), plus the standard iPad 9.7 (2018) and iPad 10.2 (2019). iPadOS 18 is likely to arrive at WWDC 2024, which typically runs every June – although we're yet to get a confirmed date for the event.

Which phones will get AI features?

Two iPhones on an orange background showing the Siri assistant and shortcuts

(Image credit: Apple)

While it's good news that iOS 18 potentially won't see Apple drop software support for older models, that doesn't mean the iPhone XR will get exactly the same experience as the iPhone 15.

As we've seen before, older iPhones can hit a performance ceiling when running the latest versions of iOS, even if they technically support all of the latest features. And given that some of the biggest iOS 18 changes are expected to be AI-powered, some new tricks may still be restricted to more recent models (in reality).

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple's senior management has called its next operating system "ambitious and compelling" with some "major new features and designs".

What kind of features? Reliable leaker Revegnus has suggested that Apple is using a proprietary LLM (large language model) to “completely revamp Siri into the ultimate virtual assistant", while Messages, Apple Music and Pages are also expected to get major AI upgrades.

The question is how many of these new features will run on-device or via the cloud. Given Apple's privacy-focused stance, it seems likely that it'll err towards the former, but we'll likely find out for sure in June. For now at least, your iPhone XR, iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max will live on to see another year, it seems.

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.