Three beta builds in, iOS 18 testers still can’t try out Apple Intelligence features

Three beta builds in, iOS 18 testers still can't try out Apple Intelligence features


The beta testing cycle for Apple’s latest operating system updates is in full swing, with the third developer betas rolling out earlier this week for iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15 Sequoia, and the rest of this fall’s updates. The fourth developer beta is due out in a few weeks, and it’s likely to coincide with the first betas that Apple offers to the full public (though the less stable, developer-only betas were made much more public last year when Apple stopped making people pay for developer accounts to access them).

Many of the new updates are present and available for testing, including cosmetic updates and under-the-hood improvements. But none of Apple’s much-touted Apple Intelligence features are available for testing in any form. MacRumors reports that settings menus for the Apple Intelligence features have appeared in the Xcode Simulator for current versions of iOS 18, but that so far those settings appear to be nonfunctional placeholders that don’t actually do anything.

That could change quickly; Apple did say that the first wave of Apple Intelligence features would be available “this summer,” and I’d be willing to put a small amount of money on the first public betas arriving later this month. But the current status of the betas bears out reporting from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who suggested that Apple had been “dragged off” by the tech world’s intense interest in generative AI.

Even when they do arrive, Apple Intelligence features are rolling out gradually. Some will be available sooner than others: Gurman recently reported that the new Siri specifically may not be available for testing until January, and may not be ready for launch until sometime in early 2025. The first wave of features will only work in US English, and only relatively recent Apple hardware will be able to use most of them. For now, that means iPads and Macs with an M-series chip, or the iPhone 15 Pro, though this year’s new crop of Pro and non-Pro iPhones will presumably all be Apple Intelligence-compatible.

Apple’s relatively slow rollout of generative AI features isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Look at Microsoft, which has been repeatedly burned by its desire to pack AI-powered features into its Bing search engine, Edge browser and Windows operating system. Windows 11’s Recall feature, a vast database of screenshots and text that keeps track of everything users do on their PCs, was announced and then delayed multiple times after security researchers and other testers demonstrated how it could compromise users’ personal data.

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