Apple starts disseminating a special build of iOS 18 on a controlled basis

Would you be surprised if I told you that Apple has started sending out iOS 18 to a few people? After all, the next build of Apple’s smartphone operating system isn’t expected to be unveiled until this coming June when Apple holds its annual WWDC developers conference. At that time we should learn about all of the glorious new AI features debuting on iOS 18. After June’s introduction, Apple will offer the beta version of iOS 18 to those iPhone users who don’t mind gambling with the battery life and important features they need to work.
Then, in September, around the time that the new iPhone 16 series is released, Apple will officially launch iOS 18. So when I write that Apple is sending out iOS 18 to a few people right now, am I out of my mind? Uh, better not answer that, please. Actually, per MacRumors, internal builds of iOS 18 are indeed being delivered to factories and vendors who have something to do with the production of the iPhone, possibly as a supplier.

This information comes from a private account on “X” that has an accurate track record when it comes to revealing Apple’s future plans. The version of iOS 18 that is being shipped right now is known as “VendorUI” and its access to it is reportedly strictly controlled. Apple sends out a ”VendorUI” version of the upcoming iOS build every year to factories for quality control.

The reason why access to this version of iOS is so heavily guarded is because it can include references to new features, new settings, and any branding changes. The “VendorUI” version of iOS ships with some apps missing and only includes those apps needed for tests.

Apple is expected to give iOS 18 a heavy helping of AI. There will be new AI-based accessibility features including Voice Shortcuts which would allow a user to use his voice to open certain accessibility features such as VoiceOver, Voice Control, and others.

Each build of iOS has different versions with the Release version the one that consumers receive each September. The InternalUI version is created for Apple’s software engineers with unreleased and unannounced features. This version usually features a pre-production variant of the iOS UI. VendorUI is the version being released now and it can contain some pre-production UI elements although it is designed for quality control testing in factories.

As you might assume, NonUI does not come with the standard iOS UI and is designed for hardware engineers and calibration machines. Lastly, LLDiags carries no UI at all except for a small diagnostics menu and this build is used for low-level diagnostics.

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