A version of iOS 18 is already being tested outside Apple Park, report claims

Apple's expected to unveil the iOS 18 software update in June and ship it this coming fall, but a new report claims that a version is already in the wild.

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Apple's iOS 18 iPhone software update is expected to be announced to the world at the WWDC event that's likely to be held in June, but it won't be made available to the wider public until September. A developer and public beta program will run from June until then, but a new report claims that an early version of the iOS 18 software is already in the hands of some.

According to a MacRumors report Apple recently began distributing internal builds of iOS 18 to factories and vendors. The information reportedly comes via a credible source who has proved to be accurate in the past. According to the source, the build that has been made available is called VendorUI, and access to it is highly controlled to ensure that information surrounding its features and capabilities are not leaked to the public.

A version of iOS 18 is already being tested outside Apple Park, report claims 02

MacRumors says that the VendorUI builds are sent out to factories for quality control testing every year, but because the software is in a preproduction state the interface isn't complete. In fact, it doesn't resemble the interface that Apple will announce in June. To ensure that leaks are kept to a minimum the report claims that the version of iOS 18 sent to vendors is limited in terms of the apps that are installed, ensuring that only those that are required for testing are available.

Apple is said to have various different stages of iOS development with VendorUI being just one of them. The process starts with LLDiags, a low-level diagnostics version of IOS that has no interface. From there, NonUI is a version designed for hardware engineers and calibration, again lacking an interface like the one iPhone users are familiar with. Next comes VendorUI followed by InternalUI. This build is created for Apple's software engineers and has preproduction versions of the iOS interface with unannounced and unconfirmed features available to testers. Finally, the release version is created that can be shared as both a developer and public beta before rolling out to users around the globe.

Despite the locked-down nature of the testing, the fact that iOS 18 is starting to move through the development process suggests that leaks could become more of a common problem for Apple as more people lay eyes on the software. Leaks have already suggested that Apple intends to focus on AI features with iOS 18 while accessibility and other improvements are also in the cards.

Apple's WWDC event is likely to also see Apple unveil new software for the Mac, Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Vision Pro.

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NEWS SOURCES:macrumors.com, apple.com

Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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