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5 Best iOS 18 Features Compatible with Older iPhones (and 5 That Aren’t)

iOS 18 will become available for download on any iPhone newer than the iPhone XS later this year (likely September), which is great news for anyone who hasn’t yet upgraded to one of the latest models.

This means that if you’re still using an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone SE (2020), or iPhone 11, you can enjoy many of the exciting new features iOS 18 has to offer. However, due to the older chipsets in these models, some of the more advanced iOS 18 features won’t be available.

Here’s a breakdown of five of the best iOS 18 features that will work with your older iPhone, and five that won’t. Note that we’re not referring to the Apple Intelligence features (like Clean Up, the new Siri, and Genmojis), which will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and M1-equipped iPads and Macs. These features will be part of iOS 18 but are best considered separate tools.

Best iOS 18 Features

Advanced Home Screen Customization Want to refresh your Home Screen? In iOS 18, you can reposition apps at the bottom or side of the screen, freeing up space for your wallpaper. You can also trigger a new dark mode for app icons, add color tints, and even hide app names for a minimalist look.

Upgrades to Messages Apple is introducing several key upgrades to the Messages app in iOS 18. You’ll be able to react to messages with any emoji, schedule messages to send at a later time, and format text with underlines, strikethroughs, and new animation effects. Additionally, the Messages app will support the RCS standard for a richer messaging experience with non-Apple devices.

Redesigned Control Center iOS 18 allows you to separate the Control Center into distinct function groups like Media and Home, resize Control Center widgets, and edit which widgets appear on your Lock Screen.

ID-Authenticated App Locks For privacy-conscious users, iOS 18 lets you add Face ID or password authentication to apps, and you can hide these apps in a new Hidden Apps folder.

Apple Passwords App iOS 18 will introduce an Apple Passwords app, making it easier to manage your passwords, verification codes, passkeys, and other credentials from your iPhone.

Restricted iOS 18 Features

Messages via Satellite iOS 18 expands Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature to include text messaging via satellite. However, this service will be limited to the iPhone 14 series and newer.

Audio Transcription in Notes iOS 18 lets you record and transcribe phone calls on compatible iPhones and start an audio recording directly from the Notes app. Automatic transcription of these recordings in Notes will be reserved for the iPhone 12 and newer.

Eye Tracking iOS 18 introduces eye-tracking for better accessibility, allowing you to open apps and control iOS elements using just your eyes. This feature requires an iPhone 12 or later.

Music Haptics Music Haptics, which uses your iPhone’s Taptic Engine to pulse in time with the rhythm of a song played through Apple Music, will also be exclusive to iPhone 12 and newer models.

Wireless Smart Lock Opening The Home app in iOS 18 will enable you to wirelessly unlock doors equipped with Ultra Wideband (UWB) smart locks. However, this feature will be available only to iPhones with a UWB transmitter, excluding the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the original iPhone SE.

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