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Millions of iPhone users set to miss out on the latest free upgrade – see the full list

Apple has just unveiled a swathe of new features coming to iPhones as part of the next free iOS software update, but many models of the popular smartphone are set to miss out. That’s because a lot of the new features are based on artificial intelligence (AI), and Apple claims most of these goodies can only run on the newest iPhone hardware – and even the iPhone 15 misses out.

Apple announced several new features for the brand new iPhone software, iOS 18, at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at Apple’s California HQ on Monday. The tech giant runs this event every year to tease what’s coming to the iPhone in a few months time to allow developers – the people who design and build smartphone apps – to get to grips with the new tech and work it into their apps.

iOS 18 is due to come as a free software update later this autumn, but many new features – dubbed by Apple as ‘Apple Intelligence’ – will only work on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, the two most expensive iPhone models. It looks like many of the AI smarts won’t even work on the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Plus, phones that are barely nine months old.

Some of these Apple Intelligence features include using AI to help you rewrite text, create images from prompts, and a vastly cleverer Siri.

“iOS 18 also introduces Apple Intelligence, the personal intelligence system for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that combines the power of generative models with personal context to deliver intelligence that’s incredibly useful and relevant,” Apple said in a press release.

“Built with privacy from the ground up, Apple Intelligence is deeply integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia. It harnesses the power of Apple silicon to understand and create language and images, take action across apps, and draw from personal context, to simplify and accelerate everyday tasks.”

But if you have an older iPhone than the very latest top-of-the-line model, it looks like these features won’t be available to you.

iOS 18 is expected to launch as a free update to existing iPhones when the rumoured iPhone 16 series is announced. Apple traditionally lifts the lid on its new flagship iPhone range in September. The new phones will likely run all the new AI features, but if you don’t want to upgrade you could be left without the best Apple has to offer.

One piece of good news is Apple is promising to bring iOS 18 to iPhone XS and later – that’s a phone that came out way back in 2017, seven years ago. Aside from the AI features, Apple showed off how iOS 18 brings a big visual overhaul to iPhones, letting users finally – just like Android has always been able to do – put app icons anywhere on the home screen, and even change the colours of app icons to your liking.

There are also big visual changes to apps such as Photos and even a whole new Passwords app that all iOS 18 compatible phones are sure to benefit from. You’ll be able to change the two shortcut icons on the lock screen for the first time to something other than the torch or the camera, plus new emoji reactions and text effects in the Messages app look like they’ll bring it closer in line with what you can do in more visually advanced chat apps such as Telegram.

iOS 18 will be available to download for free later this year on these iPhone devices, but remember – only the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max will get any of the Apple Intelligence features:

  • iPhone 15
  • iPhone 15 Plus
  • iPhone 15 Pro
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)


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