Apple Intelligence Imposes iPhone 15 Requirement

Nigel Dixon-Fyle

Apple’s push into artificial intelligence introduced a powerful, upcoming feature called Apple Intelligence, designed to enhance user experiences across iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. After much excitement and anticipation, a dose of reality has come. It appears the advanced AI requires the latest hardware to function — specifically the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. During the WWDC keynote announcement, the requirement for Apple Silicon-powered Macs and iPads was clear. Curbing Intelligence’s availability raises questions among users about why older devices aren’t supported.

What’s Happening & Why This Matters

Apple Intelligence, a key feature in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, leverages on-device generative large-language models to deliver a more personalized and interactive user experience. The technology harnesses the computational power of Apple’s latest chips to provide real-time AI capabilities.

The Technical Justification

During a discussion at WWDC 2024, Apple’s AI/machine learning head John Giannandrea, marketing chief Greg Joswiak, and software engineering chief Craig Federighi explained the need for cutting-edge hardware. Giannandrea noted that the inference of large language models is computationally intensive, requiring significant processing power and memory. The A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro models, with its 16-core Neural Engine, is capable of performing nearly 35 trillion operations per second, a necessity for running these advanced AI models efficiently.


Many users speculated that the hardware requirement was a tactic to boost sales of new devices. However, Apple executives assured that the limitation is purely technical. Joswiak pointed out that if the intent were to drive sales, the requirement would also extend to more recent iPads and Macs. Despite the hardware cut-off, Apple has ensured that iOS 18 brings numerous new features to all iPhones capable of running iOS 17, including models as old as the iPhone XR. This means that while older iPhones won’t support Apple Intelligence, they will still benefit from other updates.

TF Summary: What’s Next

Apple Intelligence represents a significant step forward in integrating AI into everyday devices. The necessity for the latest hardware underscores the rapid advancements in AI technology and the increasing demands on processing power. As Apple continues to innovate, users can expect even more sophisticated features that push the boundaries of what their devices can do. For those eager to experience Apple Intelligence, the upcoming iPhone 16 series may offer a broader range of compatible devices, aligning with the release of iOS 18 in the fall.

Share This Article
Avatar photo
By Nigel Dixon-Fyle "Automotive Enthusiast"
Nigel Dixon-Fyle is an Editor-at-Large for TechFyle. His background in engineering, telecommunications, consulting and product development inspired him to launch TechFyle (TF). Nigel implemented technologies that support business practices across a variety of industries and verticals. He enjoys the convergence of technology and anything – autos, phones, computers, or day-to-day services. However, Nigel also recognizes not everything is good in absolutes. Technology has its pros and cons. TF supports this exploration and nuance.
Leave a comment