Hidden AI Features Available on Your iPhone Right Now

Mike Powers
Hidden AI Features Available on Your iPhone Right Now


Apple has been the notable holdout from the generative AI conversation until recently. But AI is already present on the iPhone, driving core features in popular apps such as the Camera, Photos and Siri among others. 

At the same time, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been more vocal about the technology — suggesting that Apple’s public AI push may finally be here. More than a year after ChatGPT took the global spotlight and catalyzed a tech arms race, CEO Tim Cook confirmed on an earnings call in February that Apple is investing in generative AI. Without offering specifics, he said there’s “a huge opportunity for Apple with gen AI and AI.”

Read more: Best iPhone for 2024

Although Cook kept details to a minimum, research from Apple suggests the company could be working towards the goal of on-device AI for its iPhones. Apple followed that up with this week’s announcement of new MacBook Air laptops, which the company touts as the “best consumer laptop for AI.”

Only Apple knows what’s next for the iPhone and its other products. But in the meantime, here are some of our favorite AI-based features on newer iPhones right now.

Watch this: Apple Has Big AI Plans for Mac — and iPhone, Too

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iPhones demonstrating new features in iOS 15 iPhones demonstrating new features in iOS 15

iphone-xs-max-portrait-mode-f4-5 iphone-xs-max-portrait-mode-f4-5

Portrait Mode was a turning point for iPhones since it could recognize subjects, understand depth and create a bokeh effect in the speed needed for smartphones.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Photography smarts

It’s no secret that the iPhone relies on advanced algorithms as well as computational photography for a large chunk of its camera features. Portrait Mode, which uses AI to identify subjects and create a bokeh effect, is just one example. Another is Cinematic Mode, which uses AI to simulate the desired aperture and dynamically adjusts focus to keep your moving subject sharp. One of the newer AI-powered capabilities, courtesy of iOS 17, is the Photo app’s ability to identify pets in a photo, which allows for better photo organization.

James Martin/CNET

iPhone AI going forward: Will Siri get smarter?

Siri has been around since iOS 5, which was released in 2011, but Apple’s voice-activated assistant could soon become a lot smarter. A September report from the Information said Apple plans to use large language models, a crucial part of generative AI, to enhance Siri. An example detailed in that article explained how Siri would be able respond to simple voice commands for more complex tasks, such as turning a set of photos into a GIF and then sending them to one of your contacts. If that example is accurate, this represents a significant step forward for Apple’s digital helper. Apple already uses AI to help Siri to understand language and respond in a human-like fashion, among other uses.

Read Now: Apple’s iOS 18 Rumors: A Possible Big Leap Into AI

Since Apple usually unveils new iPhone software features at its Worldwide Developer Conference, we’ll likely know more about Apple’s plans for AI on the iPhone then. 

Watch this: Apple Puts an AI Twist on Accessibility

09:06

Editors’ note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.

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