iPhones will reportedly get AI-generated emojis with iOS 18 this year

Apple introduced custom stickers with iOS 17 — could AI-powered emoji be next? (Apple)
Apple introduced custom stickers with iOS 17 — could AI-powered emoji be next? (Apple)

With more than 3,700 emojis at our fingertips, do we need more colourful icons to express ourselves? Apple thinks so.

The iPhone maker will allow users to create custom emojis using generative artificial intelligence later this year, Bloomberg reported. The bonkers feature will be a central part of Apple’s upcoming iOS 18 software update, alongside other AI-powered tricks such as voice note transcriptions, photo editing, and faster Spotlight search.

Come autumn, we’ll be dreaming up delirious new smileys to embellish texts. Are you feeling hungry? Swap that hackneyed drooling emoji for a raccoon on a rocket-powered pizza.

When a red heart isn’t enough, switch to a pug in a heart-shaped hot tub. The crazier, the better.

But, how will it work? Well, it sounds like the tech will be as intuitive as predictive typing. Apple’s AI will suggest emojis based on what you’re texting. Maybe, you’ll be able to prompt it with your textual suggestions, too.

While the feature probably won’t be available until September, we could get our first glimpse at Apple’s WWDC event in June.

The emojis already on your iPhone are not going anywhere. They will continue to be expanded with every new release through the Unicode Consortium.

Apple is banking on an overhauled iOS 18 and the next iPhone to help it gain ground on rivals in the AI race. The likes of Google, Snapchat, and Meta already offer emoji customisation that relies on AI to varying degrees. Some features, including Instagram’s custom stickers, are still unavailable in the UK.

Of course, Apple already offers plenty of cartoonish customisations. The company’s Memoji avatars can mimic your appearance and facial expressions. Since their introduction in 2018, Apple has continued to expand the animations with more hairstyles and headwear to make them more diverse and representative.

With iOS 17, Apple enabled iPhone users to turn their photos into custom stickers.