Some iPhones Unlikely to Support iOS 18 AI Enhancements

With the upcoming iOS 18 update, Apple is set to introduce a significant AI overhaul. However, not all features will be available on older iPhone models, even those listed as compatible with the new operating system.

AI Feature Division in iOS 18:

  • Basic AI Tasks: These will operate entirely on-device, utilizing the iPhone’s own processor to handle tasks without needing to connect to Apple’s servers.
  • Advanced AI Capabilities: More complex functions will require server-side processing, communicating directly with Apple’s servers.

At the core of these enhancements is a revamped Siri, redesigned to leverage large language models (LLMs) for a range of tasks from opening documents to organizing notes and summarizing articles.

Details on Device Requirements:

  • Supported Devices: Advanced on-device AI tasks will need at least an iPhone 15 Pro due to hardware capabilities.
  • Compatibility List: Despite the new AI features, iOS 18 will remain compatible with models as old as the iPhone 11, similar to iOS 17.

Specific Limitations Across Devices:

  • iPhone Models with Partial AI Support: The following models will run iOS 18 but may not support some on-device AI functionalities due to hardware limitations:
  • iPhone 11 series
  • iPhone 12 series
  • iPhone 13 series
  • iPhone 14 series
  • iPhone 15 (standard model)
  • iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation)

iPad and Mac Requirements

Similarly, iPadOS 18 and macOS 15 will share AI features with iOS 18. Devices like Macs with M1 chips and fifth-generation iPad Pros or newer are necessary for full AI functionality, excluding older Intel Macs and iPads.

Hardware Constraints and AI Functionality:

  • Memory Requirements: Non-supported standard iPhone 15 models feature 6GB of RAM, while supported Pro models boast 8GB. Given that LLMs require substantial working memory, this distinction in RAM is critical for supporting advanced AI tasks.

MacReview verdict

The iOS 18 rollout illustrates Apple’s push towards integrating sophisticated AI capabilities into its ecosystem. However, the disparity in hardware support across devices highlights a significant challenge—ensuring that advancements in software continue to be accessible across older hardware. Users of newer iPhone models will enjoy the full spectrum of AI features, while others may need to upgrade to access the most advanced capabilities. As technology progresses, Apple users must consider both software and hardware capabilities when planning device updates or purchases.

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