Here’s how texting will be different after Apple’s iOS 18 update

Here’s how texting will be different after Apple’s iOS 18 update

(NEXSTAR) – On top of the new AI-powered features Apple announced at its World Wide Developers Conference on Monday are several changes coming to the way you’ll be texting with the next iPhone software update.

iOS 18 will give iPhone users new options when it comes to customizing their home screen, searching for photos, and categorizing email. You may also notice a few major changes to iMessage, Apple’s texting and messaging app.

First up, there’s good news for those texting between iPhones and Androids. Apple says its Messages app now supports RCS or Rich Communication Services. What that means is you’ll be able to send higher resolution images and videos to your friends and family, and group chats should work more reliably.

Read receipts – an option to show the person you’re talking to that you’ve seen their message – will also start working with green texts.

Another change has to do with reacting to an iMessage (or “tapbacks”, as Apple calls them). Currently, you can give a message a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, and a few others. With iOS 18 the six available “tapback” options will expand to include any emoji or sticker you have on your phone.

“Tapbacks” will be expanded with iOS 18 so you can use any emoji or sticker. (Photo: Apple)

To add even more flair to your texts, you’ll have more options when it comes to emphasizing certain words. Instead of just using all caps and punctuation, you’ll be able to draw attention to certain parts of the message by making them expand on screen or bounce up and down. (See an animated example of what it will look like here.)

For night owls or forgetful folks, you’ll also be able to set messages to send at a later time – whether it’s waiting until your friend is awake to text them your thoughts, or setting up a “happy birthday” text in advance of the big day.

A rendering shows how you’ll soon be able to set messages to send at a later time with the iOS 18 iMessage updates. (Photo: Apple)

Additionally, iPhone users (who have an iPhone 14 or newer) will be able to send iMessages in some cases where there’s no cell reception and no Wi-Fi. Your iPhone will prompt you to connect to satellite to keep sending and receiving messages.

A rendering shows how your iPhone will direct you to point your phone toward the nearest satellite to stay connected on iMessage. (Photo: Apple)

Messages sent by satellite are end-to-end encrypted, Apple says.

These iOS 18 upgrades don’t even get into the host of new AI features Apple announced Monday, from using ChatGPT to make Siri smarter to integrating generative AI into an “Image Playground” for texters.

“With the Image Playground experience in Messages, users can quickly create fun images for their friends, and even see personalized suggested concepts related to their conversations,” Apple explained in its announcement Monday.

An example the company gives shows an AI-generated image of a mom as a superhero after she agrees to petsit for her child.

An example of an AI-generated picture using Apple’s Image Playground feature. (Photo: Apple)

iOS 18 will be available to download this fall, Apple says.

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