iOS 18 UK release date, and how to get the developer beta right now

Apple has promised a raft of new upgrades for iPhone users with the public launch later this year of its iOS 18 update.

Details were announced at the tech giant’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference on 10 June and include customisation options, a redesign of photos and a new personal intelligence system called Apple Intelligence.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said: “This release marks the beginning of a tremendously exciting new era of personal intelligence with Apple Intelligence delivering intuitive, powerful, and instantly useful experiences that will transform the iPhone experience, all with privacy at the core.”

Here we take a look at the details.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 10: Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi delivers remarks at the start of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 10, 2024 in Cupertino, California. Apple will announce plans to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into Apple software and hardware. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Apple’s Craig Federighi reveals iOS18 update details at the Worldwide Developers Conference on 10 June (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty)

When will iOS 18 be released?

Apple has said iOS 18 will be available this autumn as a free software update for iPhone Xs and later versions.

Technology website TechRadar has predicted the launch is most likely to be in September this year.

It stated: “Based on past form…the new update will almost certainly begin rolling out in mid-September 2024 (every major iOS release from iOS 6 onwards has started rolling out between September 13 and September 20).”

How can I get the iOS 18 developer beta?

A developer beta of an iOS update is like a trial run of the software.

It is an experimental development of software, mainly intended so the developer iron out any bugs and glitches and to ensure app developers can access the latest software and optimise their apps before public release.

After developers have trialled it, a public beta build is available to the general public if they are part of the Apple Beta Software Programme.

To join, visit the official Apple Beta Software Programme website, sign in with your Apple ID and then enroll your devices.

Once you are signed up to the programme, you should see the option to download the iOS 18 developer beta in your settings.

The developer beta of iOS 18 became available through the Apple Developer Programme at developer.apple.com on Monday 10 June and and a public beta will be available through the Apple Beta Software Programme next month at beta.apple.com. 

ANKARA, TURKIYE - JUNE 10: In this photo illustration, the 'Apple' logo is displayed on a mobile phone screen in front of a computer screen displaying Apple Intelligence logo in Ankara, Turkiye on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Hakan Nural/Anadolu via Getty Images)
One new feature of the new iOS18 update will be Apple Intelligence (Photo: Hakan Nural/Anadolu/Getty)

What are the new features of iOS 18?

The iOS18 update will include a host of new features aside from the launch of Apple Intelligence.

Customisation – iPhone users will have new ways to customise the Home Screen, Lock Screen, and Control Centre. Users will be able to arrange apps and widgets in any open space on the Home Screen, App icons and widgets can take on a new look with a dark or tinted effect and users can make them appear larger.

Control Centre redesign – providing easier access things users employ every day. For the first time, users will also be able switch the controls at the bottom of the Lock Screen and choose options available in the controls gallery or remove them entirely.

Photos redesign – A simplified, single view will display a familiar grid and new collections will help users browse by themes without having to organise content into albums. Collections can be pinned to keep favourites easily accessible and a new carousel view presents highlights that update each day and feature favourite people, pets and places.

iMessage text effects – Users will be able to add formatting like bold, underline, italics, and strikethrough. Tapbacks will be expanded to include any emoji or sticker and now users can compose a message and schedule to send it at a later time. iOS 18 will also introduce messages via satellite for the occasions when cellular and Wi-Fi connections are not available.

Mail improvements – An on-device categorisation will organise and sort incoming emails into Primary for personal and time-sensitive emails, Transactions for confirmations and receipts, Updates for news and social notifications and Promotions for marketing emails and coupons.

Updates to Safari – Highlights on Safari will allow users to review a summary to get the gist of an article on a webpage, quickly see the location of a restaurant, hotel, or landmark or listen to an artist’s track right from an article about the song or album.

Passwords App – The new Passwords app will make it easier for users to access their passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and verification codes. The app will also include alerts for users regarding common weaknesses, such as passwords which are easily guessed or used multiple times and those that appear in known data leaks.

Privacy Features – will give users more control over who can see their apps, how contacts are shared and how their iPhone connects to accessories. Users will be able to now lock an app and for additional privacy hide an app by moving it to a locked, hidden apps folder.

Apple Intelligence – Writing Tools built into iOS 18 will allow users to rewrite, proofread, and summarise text almost everywhere they write including Mail, Notes, Pages, and third-party apps.

Image Playground will allow users to create images from three styles: Animation, Illustration, or Sketch.

Memories in Photos will let users create stories by typing a description. Apple Intelligence will pick out the best photos and videos based on the description, craft a storyline with chapters based on themes identified from the photos and arrange them into a movie with its own narrative. In addition, a Clean Up tool will identify and remove distracting objects in the background of a photo.

Users will be able to type to Siri and switch between text and voice to communicate with it.

And access to ChatGPT will be integrated into Siri and Writing Tools allowing users to access it.

Apple Pay – Users will be able to redeem rewards and access installments from their eligible credit or debit cards. Tap to Cash will mean users can send a receive Apple Cash by simply holding two iPhone devices together.

AirPods – AirPods Pro (2nd generation) users will be able to nod their head yes or shake their head no to respond to Siri announcements. Voice Isolation will ensure a caller’s voice is heard in loud or windy environments.

Emergency SOS Live Video – will allows users to share context through streaming video and recorded media. During an emergency call, emergency services call handlers can send a request for a user to share live video or media from the user’s camera roll via a secure connection to make it quicker and easier to send help.