iOS 18: Which iPhones won't be able to get Apple's next update?

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(NEXSTAR) — We already know Apple will bring new AI-powered features and changes to the way iPhone users will be texting when it rolls out iOS 18, but if you’re holding an older iPhone while reading this, you may not get to enjoy those updates. 

Apple unveiled the expansive iOS 18 update on Monday during its World Wide Developers Conference. In addition to AI-powered features and changes to text messaging, Apple says the update will bring more customization options to iPhone, expanding on features iPhone users saw last year with iOS 17.

If you have an iPhone, you’ll be able to personalize your home screen, schedule texts to send later, and even stay connected without cellular data or Wi-Fi — as long as you can download the update. 

There are a couple of reasons your iPhone may not be able to get iOS 18 when it becomes available. You may have encountered one of those obstacles before: lack of storage space. 

It’s unclear how large iOS 18 will be, but as we’ve seen with other major iPhone updates, they can be several gigabytes in size. 

While you’re checking how much storage you have left on your iPhone, you may want to double-check what model your phone is: Older models won’t be able to get iOS 18. 

This is a common practice for Apple. At some point, your iPhone will become too old to handle the newest features. (Can you imagine trying to FaceTime with an original iPhone that didn’t even have a front-facing camera?)

If you were able to get iOS 17 when it was released last fall, you’ll be able to get iOS 18. Apple released this list below of devices that its next major update is compatible with:

  • 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)

That means older iPhones — ranging from the original through iPhone 8 models — won’t be offered iOS 18.

It’s worth noting, though, that just because your iPhone is on the list above doesn’t mean you’ll get access to all of Apple’s newest features. 

Sending messages via satellite without cellular data or Wi-Fi will only be available on iPhone 14 and later, Apple notes. Only those with iPhone 12s or later will be able to use: live audio transcription on recorded audio sessions; haptics that allow “those who are deaf or hard of hearing” to “enjoy the Apple Music catalog”; and eye tracking to control their device “with just their eyes.” Third-generation iPhone SE models will also be able to get the latter feature. 

Not sure which iPhone you have? Open the Settings app, then go to General, and About. 

When is iOS 18 available?

You’ve cleared up your storage space and confirmed your iPhone is compatible with iOS 18 — so when can you get Apple’s newest update?

Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a few months. Right now, Apple says the update will be available this fall. 

If iOS 18 is released along the same time frame as iOS 17, Apple should make it available in September. 

You can, however, sign up for beta access to iOS 18. Apple’s Beta Software Program allows users to try out the software before it’s released and submit feedback on it. There may be errors, inaccuracies, and non-usable functions, Apple warns, adding that users should back up their devices before downloading beta software.

The beta version of iOS 18 is already available.

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