The new Apple Image Playground app in iOS 18 will label images as AI-generated

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Jun 16, 2024

At WWDC 2024 earlier this week, Apple announced a whole host of AI features coming to its various software platforms, including an Image Playground AI art generator in iOS 18 – and now we’ve got some more information about how the app is going to work.

As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple VP of software engineering Craig Federighi said in an interview during WWDC that iOS 18 is going to “mark up metadata” so that image files come with details stating whether or not they’re made by AI.

While the current developer beta of iOS 18 doesn’t include any of the upcoming AI features – so no Image Playground app – some digging into the beta code by the 9to5Mac team found references to image “forensics” that would identify AI-generated files.

Put that together and it’s clear that Apple has been thinking about how to encourage the responsible use of AI – which Apple is calling Apple Intelligence on its own devices – and how to stop faked pictures being passed off as real.

Apple and AI art

Image Playground will be able to create AI art on demand (Image credit: Apple)

From what we know about Image Playground already, the app will pop up in various places – like Messages or Notes – whenever you need to create a new AI picture. It might be a custom emoji, for example, or an image of a friend in your choice of setting.

Pictures created by Image Playground will take the style of cartoons and illustrations rather than photos, so that’s one way Apple is protecting against these tools being misused. If you’re not sure what to create, prompt suggestions are included too.

These AI models have been trained on “licensed data” and “publicly available data” pulled from the web, Apple says. In other words, if your art is online, Apple Intelligence was probably trained on it – unless the site it was published on opted out of the process.

The Image Playground capabilities are going to be made available in a future beta, according to Apple, but out of the currently available iPhones only the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will have the necessary power to run it. These AI art generation features will also be available on Apple Silicon Macs.

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