I did not expect this iOS 18 feature announced at WWDC to be my favorite (and it's not AI)

Apple demoed a new Game Mode for the iPhone during its developer conference, and it solves a big pain point for mobile gamers.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor
iPhone 15 Pro Max at Apple Park WWDC 2024
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Today at WWDC, Apple demoed its new Game Mode feature for the iPhone, mirroring the feature that was recently introduced to MacOS last year. Mobile gamers will be stoked to learn that they can activate the mode on the iPhone to maximize immersion in games by giving it more access to the device's CPU, jacking up performance, and improving frame rates. 

Also: Live updates: Everything Apple announced at WWDC 2024, including iOS 18, Siri, AI, and more

Game Mode doesn't just pause background app activity; it also temporarily pauses notifications from other apps that can pull you out of the game. It's quite literally a game-changer.

Game Mode will also bump up the audio quality on your phone by doubling the Bluetooth sampling rate, reducing audio latency and improving the performance of wireless accessories such as controllers and AirPods. Even better, certain games will support spatial audio, providing an even more immersive experience. 

Also: Here's every iPhone model that will support Apple's upcoming AI features (for now)

These new features suggest that Apple wants to push the iPhone as a capable mobile gaming device with high-end audio and optimization features. 

During the demo, Apple demoed a quick video for the mobile racing game Need for Speed, one of the first games to support spatial audio, slated for release later this fall. It'll also open up a dedicated API for game developers to build around the AirPods' spatial audio technology.

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