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Why can’t you use Apple’s new AI features on older iPhones?

Answer: It has to do with the chips.

A person holding up an iPhone X.
Apple is holding its annual WWDC event this week, and among other new tech announcements the company revealed that it is jumping on the artificial intelligence bandwagon. A new suite of generative AI (GenAI) features is coming to Apple devices, but only if you have the right ones.

Called Apple Intelligence, these new features will mostly be powered by the devices’ onboard chips. That means they’ll only work on some models within the newest line of iPhones, as well as any iPad or Mac new enough to be sporting an M1 chip. If you’ve got anything older than an iPhone 15, or if you don’t want to spring for the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max, then you’re out of luck.

Apple Intelligence comes with a host of abilities that Apple is probably hoping will be enough to entice users to upgrade. It can do things like generate custom emojis or draft emails and texts or connect you with OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot. Siri will also now be backed by Apple Intelligence, giving the voice assistant new abilities like accessing a specific action in an app.