Everything Apple iOS 18 Will Do Android Already Does

Everything Apple iOS 18 Will Do Android Already Does

Apple finally previewed what’s coming to iOS 18 at its annual developer conference keynote. The iPhone’s next major software update will roll out later this year, featuring plenty of AI infusion—Apple Intelligence—plus other quality-of-life improvements across the platform. It’s all excellent news for iPhone users, even if Android wielders have heard it before.

In some cases, iOS 18 is playing catchup to its Android competition. But iPhone users seem excited about what’s coming—there were many cheers in the keynote audience—and so-called copycat features mean more parity across mobile platforms, which means less of a Sophie’s Choice whenever shopping for a new smartphone. Here are some new features coming to the iPhone with iOS 18 and how they compare to those already on Android devices.

Move apps wherever you like

Custom icon placement is no longer limited to Android users with time to burn. At WWDC 2024, Apple announced that iOS 18 would finally let you place app icons wherever you want on the Home screen, freeing them from the stringent rail it was on before. You can move apps to either side of the screen with space in the middle to highlight a subject on your wallpaper.

iOS 18’s new icons.

Tinted icons

iOS 18 users will have access to tinted icons—something the Pixel Launcher has done since Android 13. The iOS 18 developer beta shows that the color accents pick up based on your wallpaper and system theme. And if you don’t like the color Apple picks for you, you can adjust it to something else.


If you’ve read any tech blog in the past few years, you know that Google had RCS first—and won’t stop reminding us about it. It even took out a giant advertising campaign to hone in on the message.

Still, even though Apple quietly announced RCS support this week during its developer conference, Google doesn’t get its victory lap. Apple did not devote any fanfare to its acquiescing to the mobile protocol. On the plus side, messages between iPhones and their green bubbles will be able to share features like high-resolution photos and Tapback animations later this year.

Schedule a message

The Messages app on the iPhone will let you schedule your messages to send later when iOS 18 rolls out later this year. Google Messages has been able to schedule text messages since 2022. It’s how I’ve kept my iPhone-using friends from coming after me for sending them text messages late at night when my brain is most active.

Game Mode

iOS 18 will offer a Game Mode. Apple advertises that it will minimize background activity to help sustain a consistent framerate. Android has had an official game mode offering since Android 12. Some Android smartphones have even made it their identity to be gaming phones—looking at you, Asus Rog Phone.

Type to Siri

Okay, I’ll admit that Google’s transition from the Assistant to Gemini has not been smooth. But I’ve been able to type out a command to the Assistant for years now, enough that I will miss it when the Assistant eventually faces its expiration date.

Well, at least Siri users can type commands, or you will once iOS 18 goes live. I saw a demonstration of typing to Siri at WWDC, which reminded me that it’s a feature I will miss if/when Google forces me to Gemini. Sob.

Live Audio Transcriptions

iOS 18 will have a handy feature that lets you record audio sessions with the Notes app and then have it generate a transcription of the session, which you can then combine with other documents and checklists.

Google introduced Live Transcribe to the Pixel back in 2019. As of 2021, it’s integrated into the Android system settings.

Control Center

iOS 18’s revamped Control Center.

iOS 18 will bring more customization to this pull-down part of the iPhone. In addition to home controls and quick settings, third-party app developers can offer pinnable shortcuts.

Android has always had the notification shade. In Android 7, the Quick Settings in the notification shade added editable tiles, which were eventually opened up to third-party app developers.

iPhone Mirroring

There’s excellent news for iPhone users with a Mac on the desk. iOS 18 will let you stream your iPhone live to your Mac and use it with a mouse and keyboard. You can even drop media between the desktop and mobile environments easy-peasy.

Android users have been enjoying this kind of mirrored synchronization with their phones since the first third-party offered the ability in the 2010s. But it’s still up to third parties a decade later, as there’s no native implementation between Android and Google’s Chrome OS. Only the latest Samsung flagships have the added benefit of phone mirroring to the PC using Micorosft’s Phone app.

Genmoji, meet Emoji Kitchen

Apple users can generate emojis from a text prompt on the iPhone when iOS 18 hits later this year. Genmoji, as it’s called, is meant to showcase the company’s underlying Apple Intelligence capabilities.

The ability sounds similar to Android’s Emoji Kitchen, which has been a hit since it launched on the Google Keyboard in 2020. Emoji Kitchen isn’t as AI-forward as Apple’s Genmoji but just as fun.

Live audio transcripts

Apple announced its Apple Intelligence infusion will help power a live transcription feature in the Notes app on iOS 18. The tool will record your call and then spit out a summary after you’ve hung up.

Android has been able to do both these things separately but not together. The Pixel’s Live Transcribe works well, but it’s meant for in-person interactions rather than over-the-phone audio. And while Android has allowed third-party apps to enable call recording, the transcription part requires a little research to find the right service.


iOS 18 will let you type out a command to Siri. There’s been a run-around way to enable this since iOS 11, but this method is more direct and easier to access. It’ll also be more contextual than Siri’s ever been, giving us Android users struggling to accept Gemini a little FOMO.

I’ve been typing using Google Assistant for five years. It’s been helpful when I can’t speak out loud, which is why Apple also adopted the feature for iOS 18. This ability is still available on Android devices, though the eventual transition to Gemini may change this ability.

Bonus: Calculator app on the iPad

iPad OS 18 is finally getting its very own optimized calculator app. This isn’t related to iOS 18, but it is worth mentioning because Android has had a calculator for tablets long before Apple did.

At the very least, Apple sweetened the deal for iPad users with its calculator app by offering Math Notes, which are unlockable with the Apple Pencil.

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