iOS (operating system)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
IOS logo
developer Apple
License (s) proprietary
First publ. June 29, 2007
Current  version 13.6.1 from August 12, 2020
(19 days ago)
Current  preliminary version 13.5.5  (June 1, 2020)
Basic system Darwin
Kernel XNU
ancestry Unix → BSD
↳ Rhapsody
↳ macOS
↳ iPhone OS / iPad OS
iOS (from 4.0)
Architecture (s) POOR
timeline iPhone OS 1
iPhone OS 2
iPhone OS 3
iOS 4
iOS 5
iOS 6
iOS 7
iOS 8
iOS 9
iOS 10
iOS 11
iOS 12
iOS 13
iOS 14
Languages) multilingual

iOS is a mobile operating system developed by Apple for the iPhone and iPod touch . Until the beginning of 2010 it was called iPhone OS (under iTunes iPhone Software ) on the iPhone and iPad OS on the iPad, until after the licensing of the brand name IOS by Cisco Systems from version 4 in June 2010 it was renamed to iOS and the two only slightly different Versions for iPhone and iPad were combined. In September 2019, the version for the iPad was separated from iOS again as a stand-alone iPadOS .

The Apple TV software, which runs on the second and third generation of the Apple TV and was renamed to tvOS with the fourth generation of the Apple TV , and watchOS for the Apple Watch are also based on iOS from version 4 .

In contrast to Apple's competitors, who often license their own mobile operating system to other hardware manufacturers, iOS is only used on Apple's own hardware. iOS is a macOS derivative and is based on Darwin , in turn, to the 1986 developed Next Step back, a BSD - Unix with Mach - kernel and then novel graphical interface.

History and Development


Development on iOS began in 2005. At that time, the idea of developing a tablet computer was temporarily rejected by Steve Jobs and it was decided that a phone should be developed. After an initial prototype called " Project Purple ", which had an iPod click wheel, Scott Forstall , then head of the Mac software department at Apple, took over the management of software development for what would later become the iPhone. Forstall's plan was to make a Mac OS X phone . The resulting prototype was called " Project Purple 2 " or just " P2 ". This resulted in the programs “ Purple Restore ” for installing iPhone prototypes and “ Purple Buddy ”, the setup assistant for the iPhone since iOS 5. The software for the prototype “P2” - later iOS - was developed on a Power Mac G5 and later Transferred to a weaker Power Mac G3 to simulate the performance of a smartphone. The development team soon completed the first real iPhone prototype, which, in contrast to the finished iPhone, used a Freescale MX31 SoC instead of a Samsung S5L SoC . All of the components required to operate the iPhone, such as a modem, were connected to this via cable. In order to ensure the confidentiality of the project, only a few employees were initiated into the software development. Parallel to SpringBoard , the well-known user interface of iOS, the SwitchBoard interface was developed, from which several diagnostic programs can be started, and “ SkankPhone ” for the primary use of the iPhone as a telephone. Many iPhone employees only saw the SpringBoard when it was presented at MacWorld .

Presentation at MacWorld

The original operating system was presented on January 9, 2007 along with the iPhone at the MacWorld Conference and Expo . At the time, Steve Jobs said "the iPhone runs OS X". The range of functions was rather sparse compared to today, as the iPhone almost only supported the functions of a GSM phone that was conventional at the time and, apart from operation via touchscreen and some of the well-known preinstalled apps, did not offer any functions of a modern smartphone. There was even a lack of essential components, such as the keyboard input of umlauts or support for the German language. iPhone OS (iOS) also did not support apps from external developers at this time. Steve Jobs was in favor of a closed operating and application system and said that webapps would do the service of natively installed applications just as reliably and quickly. Nevertheless, Apple announced on October 17, 2007, at the urging of the board of directors and the media, to release a software development kit (SDK) for developers in February 2008 .

Introduction of the iOS SDK

Steve Jobs introduces iPhone OS 2.0

On March 6, 2008, Apple released the SDK for iOS to give third-party developers the ability to develop apps for iOS. The apps developed in this way can only be published in the App Store , which was also newly introduced with iPhone OS 2.0 . The direct installation of apps (without including the app store) is only intended by Apple as part of the Developer Enterprise Program. This enables companies to create in-house apps and install them on the company's devices. A development package (SDK) for AppleTV (tvOS) has also been available since 2015.

Renaming and merging

Initially, the iOS of the iPhone and that of the iPad were operated as different versions ( iPhone OS and “iPad OS”). Technically, the differences were small, so the iPad can run all apps developed for the iPhone. There is the option of either adapting the app to the screen size of the iPad for better visibility (so-called upscaling ) or displaying it in a small window.

In June 2010, Apple renamed its iPhone OS to iOS . Apple licensed the necessary trademark rights from Cisco Systems , which already sold a router operating system called " IOS ". Cisco emphasizes that only naming rights have been licensed.

Finally, at the end of November 2010, Apple merged the operating systems of the iPhone and the iPad. The first common version was iOS 4.2.1.

New design

After the restructuring of iOS software development and the dismissal of Scott Forstall in November 2012, the iOS design was completely redesigned by chief designer Jonathan Ive . The result was iOS 7, a more colorful operating system that was based very much on flat design (not, as before, on skeuomorphism ). Visual layers (blurring and transparency) have been added in many of the newly designed standard apps.


On September 9, 2014, the Apple Watch with the associated operating system watchOS (originally Watch OS), which is based on iOS, was presented. It has an adapted user interface for the smaller display of the Apple Watch. It was released on April 24, 2015 along with the Apple Watch. The associated API is called WatchKit . watchOS 2 was launched at WWDC 2015 with major improvements such as: B. the native support for third-party apps, introduced and released on September 21, 2015.


At the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 3, 2019, Apple presented the iPadOS operating system. This is based on iOS and is only available for iPads . Apple can thus give the tablets additional functions and delimit the development more precisely. In the first version, multitasking functions were expanded and there are e.g. B. support for external storage media such as hard drives.

Operating concept

Schematic, exemplary representation of a home screen

The operating concept of iOS should be kept as simple as possible. So it is almost exclusively limited to the home screen - also called Springboard - and the synchronization with iCloud or iTunes . iOS is controlled almost exclusively via the multi-touch screen , only locking and switching off the device is triggered with the lock button and applications (called apps ) are closed with the home button . Like the lock button, this can wake up the device from standby mode. iOS is designed to work with all other Apple products. It supports multi-finger gestures ("Multi Touch") with up to five fingers.

Home screen

The home screen, also called SpringBoard, represents the actual user interface of iOS. Characteristic for this are the apps displayed as icons on individual pages , four of which can be stored in the dock , the status bar at the top of the screen with the time and the battery level and, if necessary, signal strengths and the lock screen with the unlock control and a digital clock.

Only with the software update 1.1.2 was it possible to move apps and arrange them as desired, delete them or create multiple pages with apps. From version 2.0, additional third-party apps can be installed from the App Store. With iPhone OS 3.0, the Spotlight search, known from OS X, was added, which can be used to search for content on the iOS device. At the same time, Apple also added a copy-paste function. Push messages were also added with iPhone OS 3.0 . Push notifications are sent from apps to the iOS device. These are text messages that can come from messaging or instant messaging apps, for example.

With iOS 4.0 it was possible for the first time to collect apps in folders. In addition, the black background of the home screen, which was previously not customizable, could be provided with your own background image. In addition, a taskbar was introduced with iOS 4, which has since been accessible by double-clicking the home button. The apps currently in use are displayed in this bar and can be called up directly from there. Since iOS 4, apps are no longer ended by the home button, but paused so that they can be loaded more quickly. If necessary, apps are closed to free up memory; however, after ten minutes, all apps that have no active task will automatically close.

With iOS 5, the Notification Center and Siri were added. The notification center shows the latest push messages and can be called up with a swipe down from the status bar. Siri is an assistant that responds to voice commands and can perform various tasks, such as creating and sending SMS messages.

With iOS 6, the previously pre-installed Google Maps was replaced by Apple's own, initially controversial map application Apple Maps . The YouTube app was also removed in the same step. Since then, Google has offered a free YouTube app for iOS in Apple's own app store.

Since iOS 7, the so-called Control Center can be called up with a swipe from the bottom to the top of the screen. For example, WLAN and Bluetooth can be activated or deactivated in the Control Center.

iOS 8 changed only a few things on the home screen. According to Apple, iOS 8 offers more options, especially for developers.

With iOS 9, changes were made to the operation, especially for the newer generations of devices. From the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, iOS 9 supports a technology called 3D Touch , with which submenus can be opened on the home screen and in applications by pressing the screen harder. The touch controls familiar from previous versions of iOS still work. The Slide Over and Picture in Picture functions are available on iPad models from iPad Air . This allows applications to run in the same window, but not at the same time. An application is dragged from the edge of the screen into the active application window and becomes active at that moment; the previously running application is paused. When you swipe back, the original application becomes active again. In the case of video display (for example through video telephony or YouTube videos), the video output field can be dragged anywhere in the active application and remains permanently in the foreground. From the iPad Air 2, the Split View function is also available, in which two separate applications run side by side on the same screen.

With iOS 14, which was presented via an online keynote on June 22, 2020, users will have options, among other things, to move so-called widgets to the home screen and to hide individual pages of the home screen. All apps will also be located in an "App Library" and automatically sorted into folders or alphabetically - the design of the Siri language assistant has also been revised. iOS 14 will be available from autumn for iPhone models from iPhone SE 1st Gen and iPhone 6s / 6sPlus.

Apple TV home screen

The Apple TV software of the second and third generation of the Apple TV uses the same kernel as the iOS of the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, but is controlled via a remote control with seven buttons and has its own surface that differs from the iPhone Home Screen is clearly different. Apple TV is primarily designed for multimedia content, not for using apps.


iOS does not allow the user direct access to the file system or the command line . Apps run in a sandbox and can only read and save local files on the device within this sandbox. Apps can only be downloaded from the App Store or installed using a developer account.

These restrictions can be circumvented by a so-called jailbreak that is not authorized by Apple . The user then has full access to the file system and the command line of the Unix-type operating system, and he can also install software from any source, such as Cydia . However, jailbreaking void the guarantee.

Until September 17, 2013, users of older devices were unable to install apps through the App Store that required a newer version of iOS. In the meantime, versions of apps that are compatible with older devices can also be downloaded from the App Store, making this restriction obsolete today.

It is not possible to install a web browser on iOS that uses its own rendering engine. All web browsers for iOS are therefore just different interfaces for the WebKit rendering engine. Up to and including iOS 7, speed improvements to the JavaScript engine were withheld from alternative web browsers.

With iOS 9, Apple began to exclude older, but compatible devices with 32-bit processors (including the fifth generation iPod touch, the iPhones 4s, 5 and 5c as well as the iPads 2 to 4 and the iPad mini 1) from individual functions. For developers, Apple has now introduced the option of developing apps that are not compatible with these devices (instead, when trying to download the relevant apps from the App Store, the message “This app is not compatible with your device” appears). Also introduced with this update possibility of installing extensions for Safari - browser (. Such as advertising blockers ) has ruled Apple for these devices. The night shift mode introduced with iOS 9.3, with which the color temperature of the display can be changed, is also not available on these devices.

File system

History of the IPSW file size development from 2007 to 2014. The size of the root partition is equivalent to the size of the IPSW file, as it only contains the operating system and no data relevant to the user partition.

iOS has been using the Apple File System (APFS) as the file system since iOS 10.3 . It is optimized for flash memory and includes functions such as snapshots and copy-on-write. Before that, HFSX (HFS + Extended), a variant of the HFS + file system, was used. When starting iOS, two partitions are integrated .

The system partition contains the so-called root directory of iOS, there are all system components such as the springboard and the background services of iOS. The user cannot access the root partition without jailbreaking . The partition size increases in almost every new version of iOS. In iOS 6.1 this partition is about 1.3  GB . A manual change in size is usually not necessary, but can be done with a modified iOS firmware file via jailbreak. The maximum size of the partition is 4  GB . The system partition is read-only and the system cannot change any data here.

The data partition is /private/varvisible under and contains the folder mobile , the so-called user directory. All media and settings are saved in this directory. The size of the user directory depends on the storage capacity of the iOS device. The size of the user directory is specified by iOS as the total size of the flash memory . Because the system partition is enlarged in almost every iOS version, the usable memory of the iOS device is reduced after a major version or "major" update . The size of the root partition has increased more than twentyfold over the course of iOS development. The User directory contains several subdirectories, the most important of which are:

  • Containers: This is where all apps from the App Store and their data that arise during use are stored. The applications are located in the directory /Containers/Bundle/Application/while the data is /Containers/Data/saved in. Up to and including iOS 7, the application directory and data directory were not separated from one another; the application directory was simply called Applications .
  • Library: In the Library folder, all settings that are made in iOS, stored, such as screen brightness or arrangement of the apps on the home screen. If iOS is brought up to date via an OTA update , this folder is not overwritten and the settings are retained.
  • Media: Media contains all media that are transferred to an iOS device, such as music, films or the photos recorded with the camera app. This folder can also be read by appropriate programs without a jailbreak. Since the iOS version 3.0 also can Windows to the media contained folder DCIM include folder as a digital camera.


This list contains only the primary updates ("Major Updates") and their most important innovations. The iOS of the Apple TV is also not listed here because it has different version names; The same applies to the applications supplied.

version Publication date Important changes
Older version; no longer supported: 1.0.x June 29, 2007
  • First version; was released together with the first iPhone.
  • The first iPod touch was released on September 14th with iOS 1.1.
Older version; no longer supported: 1.1.x September 14, 2007
  • Introduction of the iTunes Store
  • Change of calculator icon
  • Video output via dock connector
  • Adds apps to the iPod touch that were previously only available on the iPhone (including Mail )
Older version; no longer supported: 2.x 2.0: July 11, 2008
Older version; no longer supported: 2.1.x September 9, 2008
  • iPod app has been redesigned
  • Enhancements to the restrictions
Older version; no longer supported: 2.2.x November 21, 2008
Older version; no longer supported: 3.0.x June 17, 2009
  • Copy and paste added
  • MMS support
  • Spotlight: Integration of the system search
  • Voice control (from iPhone 3GS)
  • Tethering : The iPhone can make its UMTS Internet connection available to other devices via USB.
  • Find My iPhone allows you to display the iPhone's location. (From iOS 4 for iPhone 4, iPad or iPod touch (4th generation) or higher free of charge)
  • In-app purchase allows installed programs to be expanded with additional functions directly from them and to pay for them via micropayment .
  • In multiplayer games , the iPhone can automatically connect to players in the immediate vicinity via Bluetooth Bonjour .
  • mHealth applications, for example the connection to a blood pressure monitor via Bluetooth, is now possible.
  • The A2DP Bluetooth profile for the transmission of audio data in stereo quality is supported (using SBC coding).
Older version; no longer supported: 3.1.x September 9, 2009
Older version; no longer supported: 3.2.x April 3, 2010
  • Published with iPad , was not available for iPhone and iPod touch.
Older version; no longer supported: 4.0.x June 21, 2010
  • Multitasking : A type of multitasking in which apps are not closed when exiting, but rather paused.
  • iAd: New possibilities of advertising within apps are made possible.
  • Facetime : video calling service
  • Background image of the start screen can be changed, folders can be created.
  • Renaming of "iPhone OS" to "iOS"
Older version; no longer supported: 4.1 September 8, 2010
  • Game Center : Games network for iOS games (no longer for the iPhone 3G)
Older version; no longer supported: 4.2.x November 22, 2010
  • AirPrint : wireless printing with supported printers
  • AirPlay : wireless transmission of audio content between AirPlay-enabled devices
  • Latest iOS version supporting iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd generation.
Older version; no longer supported: 4.3.x March 9, 2011
  • Hotspot: The iPhone or iPad (WiFi + 3G / 4G version) can share the Internet connection with up to five other devices via WiFi or Bluetooth. (iPhone 3GS only bluetooth)
  • AirPlay now also supports wireless transmission of video content between AirPlay-enabled devices.
Older version; no longer supported: 5.0.x October 12, 2011
  • Introduction of Siri
  • Notification center: notifications are summarized in it.
  • Twitter is integrated system-wide.
  • Reminders and to-do lists, if desired with time- or location-based reminders.
  • Mail supports S / MIME and basic formatting. (bold, italic, underlined)
  • iOS devices may be a. no longer rely on a computer for commissioning and for operating system updates.
  • iMessage : free messaging service for all users from iOS 5
  • iCloud has been integrated.
  • A total of 101 vulnerabilities closed
Older version; no longer supported: 5.1.x March 7, 2012
  • Latest version of iOS that supports 3rd generation iPod touch and 1st generation iPad .
  • A total of 85 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 6.0.x 19th September 2012
  • iCloud with expanded functionality ( e.g. it is now possible to share photo streams with other people or to synchronize tabs open in Safari between devices)
  • Facebook integrated directly into the operating systemalongside Twitter
  • New map application Apple Maps (with 3D view and built-in navigation software with Siri voice output) replaces Google Maps
  • Revision of Siri (including additional languages ​​and expanded functionality)
  • Facetime video calls can now be carried out via the cellular network ( UMTS and LTE ) on the iPhone 4s / 5, iPad (3rd generation and higher) and the iPad mini
  • Passbook : Tickets (e.g. a cinema or train ticket) can be found in Passbook (for iPhone & iPod touch)
  • Accessibility improved (one-app mode, switching to other apps not possible)
  • YouTube is no longer included by default.
  • Camera: Panorama photo function (iPhone 4s / 5 and iPod touch (5th generation))
  • Revision of many of the included apps such as phone, mail or Safari
  • According to Apple, a total of over 200 innovations
  • A total of 212 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 6.1.x February 21, 2013
Older version; no longer supported: 7.0.x 18th September 2013

iOS 7 is the first 64-bit mobile OS ever, which was compiled for the first mobile 64-bit SoC in the consumer segment, the Apple A7 .

  • Apps have a simpler look thanks to semi-transparent status bars and thinner fonts
  • Animated wallpapers and menus with parallax effect
  • New app icons
  • New user interface; Screenshots of the last used apps are displayed
  • AirDrop : easily share files between iOS devices
  • Control center: uniform center for settings and quick access
  • Notification center: daily overview; missed notifications; Access from the lock screen possible
  • Siri: New Voices; Integrated Bing , Twitter and Wikipedia ; System settings can be changed
  • iTunes Radio: Internet radio station based on favorite music (initially only in the USA, planned for other countries at a later date)
  • App folders can be any size; page based
  • App Store: Apps can be updated automatically
  • WiFi HotSpot 2.0: Simplified, automated connection to hotspots with compatible hardware via SIM cards
  • Photos app with location and time-based collections and an overview of the year
  • Camera: integrated color effects and a square format for photos; Shortcut now also on iPad; Slow-Motion (from iPhone 5s)
  • A total of 84 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 7.1.x March 10, 2014
  • Speed ​​optimizations
  • Optical changes
  • Revision of the Touch ID recognition
  • CarPlay
  • Last iOS version supported by iPhone 4 .
  • A total of 104 vulnerabilities closed
Older version; no longer supported: 8.0 17th September 2014
  • Messages: Voice messages and media shortcuts
  • Control Center: Redesigned minimalist design
  • Notifications: shortcuts for push notifications
  • QuickType keyboard: Automatically suggests words that are likely to be written
    • Alternative keyboards can be installed from the App Store
  • iCloud Drive: Content can be saved and edited directly in the cloud
  • Family Sharing: Content such as photos, apps and others can be shared directly with the family.
  • Health: Collection of various fitness and health functions in one app
  • Improved interaction between different Apple devices such as Mac and iOS devices
  • Spotlight Search: Advanced search for web content, iTunes Store content, and more
  • optimized design and functionality
    • Swipe gestures for notifications and in mail
    • Safari tab map for iPad
  • advanced integration of third party apps in iOS
  • Introduction of the new Swift programming language
  • Revision of the app store: new search, app bundles, app preview, test flight
  • WiFi telephony: Cell phone calls and SMS can be handled via WiFi if the network provider supports this.
Older version; no longer supported: 8.0.x September 26, 2014
  • HealthKit: Fixes bugs so that HealthKit apps can now be made available through the App Store.
  • iPhoto Library: Fixes errors that could prevent some apps from accessing the iPhoto Library.
  • Keyboards: Fixes errors in connection with third-party keyboards and passcode entry.
  • SMS / MMS: Fixes errors that can lead to unexpected mobile data usage when receiving SMS and MMS.
  • Ask to buy: improved support for “Ask to buy” for family sharing and in-app purchases
  • Ringtones: Fixes a bug that could sometimes prevent ringtones from being restored from iCloud backups
  • Safari: Fixes a bug that could prevent images and videos from being uploaded to Safari.
  • Improved reachability reliability on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

The update to iOS 8.0.1 was withdrawn by Apple shortly after its release. The iPhone models 6 and 6 Plus had problems with cellular reception and Touch ID after the update.

Older version; no longer supported: 8.1.x December 9, 2014
  • Photos: iCloud Library (Beta), Recordings Album will be added if iCloud Photo Library is not enabled, will be advised of storage problems before recording time-lapse videos
  • Messages: The ability to receive or write SMS from the iPhone on a Mac or iPad fixes several errors.
  • Accessibility : Fixes several issues and improves reliability.
  • Apple Pay (US only)
  • Speed ​​optimizations
  • lots of bug fixes
  • A total of 48 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 8.2 March 9, 2015
Older version; no longer supported: 8.3 April 8, 2015
  • CarPlay can be used wirelessly
  • new emoji selection menu and new emojis (selection of different skin colors added)
  • Conversation filter in iMessage (filtering of contacts who are not in the address book)
  • Send advertising / spam to Apple in iMessage
  • Speed ​​optimizations
  • 60 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 8.4.x June 30, 2015
  • Revision of the music app
  • Introducing Apple Music (Not for 5th Generation iPod Touch)
  • Improvements to iBooks
  • Bug fixes
  • A total of 105 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 9.0.x 16th September 2015
  • New news application News
  • New task switcher
  • Revision of the following applications:
  • notes
  • cards
  • CarPlay
  • Wallet (formerly Passbook)
  • Siri
  • Ever
  • Innovations for the iPad:
  • New multitasking functions
  • Extended input options with the keyboard
  • Playing video in the window ( picture in picture )
  • Further changes:
  • Minor iOS update files
  • Improving the battery life
  • Advanced security features
  • A total of 106 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 9.1 October 21, 2015
  • New emojis
  • Speed ​​optimizations
  • 55 Security gaps closed
Older version; no longer supported: 9.2.x 19th January 2016
Older version; no longer supported: 9.3.x August 25, 2016
  • Night Shift: Adjustment of the color temperature at sunset (only for devices with 64-bit processor)
  • Data protection: access to the media library can now also be allowed or denied for individual apps
  • Bug fixes
  • Closing security gaps, etc. a. "Trident" vulnerability (see Pegasus )
  • Last version of iOS supported by fifth generation iPod touch .
  • A total of 133 security holes closed
  • If the fingerprint sensor of the iPhone 6 was replaced by a replacement sensor (e.g. when repairing the screen glass), the affected devices could no longer be used after an attempt to update the operating system, because the installation could not be completed and the error message 53 was displayed. Apple responded with the iOS update 9.3, which should be installed to fix the error.
  • With the iOS 9.3 update, older devices, especially the iPad 2, could no longer be activated. After installing iOS, activation is required in order for the user to access the SpringBoard . Apple then released a revised version of iOS 9.3, which fixed this bug.
  • Apparently, some iPad Pros with 9.7-inch screens seem to be unusable after updating to version 9.3.2, and recovery should also be impossible. The operating system version 9.3.2 was then withdrawn prematurely for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro models.
Older version; no longer supported: 9.3.6 July 22, 2019
  • Troubleshooting time display and GPS tracking
  • Last iOS version that supports the iPhone 4s , as well as the iPads 2 and 3 .
Older version; no longer supported: 10.0.x 13th September 2016
  • Redesigned lock screen
    • Swipe to unlock has been removed; It is unlocked by pressing the home button
    • Widgets can be viewed on the lock screen by swiping to the right without having to leave the lock screen
    • The camera is called up by swiping to the left
    • Notifications can be enlarged using 3D Touch to make additional information visible
  • Improved messaging app (including stickers, handwriting function, effects, secret ink function, tapback function, swapping words with emojis with one tap)
  • Standalone home app
  • Newly designed apps (maps, music, news)
  • "Memory" function in the photos app
  • Pre-installed apps can be removed
  • SiriKit: Siri open to third-party apps
  • Extended notification center
  • optional user data acquisition with differential privacy
  • Improvements in detail
  • 1 security hole closed
Older version; no longer supported: 10.1.x October 24, 2016
Older version; no longer supported: 10.2.x 23rd January 2017
  • 72 new emojis according to Unicode 9.0
  • Improves power management by reducing performance, which means that an iPhone with a defective battery no longer unexpectedly turns off from iOS 10.2.1
  • Bug fixes
  • A total of 91 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 10.3.x March 28, 2017
  • Apple File System
  • Revised AppleID management in the settings
  • One-hand operable on-screen keyboard for iPads
  • User data collection can be extended to iCloud data upon request ( opt-in )
  • Changed start animation for apps
  • Support for mutable app icons
  • local weather information integrated in maps
  • Optimizations and additional functions for CarPlay, SiriKit and HomeKit
  • "Find my AirPods" function
  • Latest iOS version that supports iPhone 5 and 5c and iPad 4 .
  • A total of 199 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 10.3.4 July 22, 2019
  • Troubleshooting time display and GPS tracking
Older version; no longer supported: 11.0.x 19th September 2017
  • Improved Siri voice
  • New, customizable control center
  • Files app
  • ARKit for Augmented Reality
  • Redesigned App Store
  • “Do not disturb” while driving
  • "Indoor maps" for maps
  • Updated note taking app
    • Handwriting recognition
    • Document scanner
    • PDF export
  • Screen recording
  • HEIF support
  • New filters for Live Photos
  • One-hand keyboard for the iPhone
  • Improvements for the iPad
    • Improved multitasking
    • dock
    • extended QuickType keyboard
  • User guide Invert colors expanded with the intelligent option (helps against fatigue and the tendency to myopia with black background for apps with white background)
  • Bug fixes
  • 94 Security gaps closed
Older version; no longer supported: 11.1.x October 31, 2017
  • other emojis, and much more
  • 24 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 11.2.x 2nd December 2017
  • Apple Pay Cash
  • Support for faster wireless charging of iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X and more
  • A total of 54 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 11.3.x March 30, 2018
  • Advanced battery settings
  • Digital patient record in the health app
  • Business chat for iMessage
  • ARKit 1.5
  • A total of 57 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 11.4.x 29 May 2018
  • AirPlay 2 multi-room audio
  • Support for HomePod -Stereopaare
  • "Messages" in iCloud
  • Bug fixes from iOS 11.3
  • A total of 59 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 12.0.x 17th September 2018
  • new Memoji function and four new Animojis
  • Siri works better with apps
  • CarPlay supports third-party apps
  • Devices should be up to 70% faster
  • Revision of stocks, books (previously iBooks) and voice memos
  • new apps "Tape Measure" (pre-installed) and "Shortcuts" (available in the App Store)
  • Settings
    • Introduction of "Screen Time"
    • Revision of "battery"
    • Option to automatically update iOS
  • photos
    • Revision of the "Albums" and "Search" sections
  • Consolidation of several notifications from the same app in the notification center
  • Gesture-based operation on all supported iPads similar to that of the iPhone X.
  • Fixed issue with plugging in the Lightning connector on iPhone Xs and Xs Max
  • iPhone Xs no longer only uses 2.4 GHz WiFi instead of 5 GHz
  • The? 123 and emoji keys have been swapped on the iPad keyboard
  • Bluetooth problems solved
  • Fixed issue with displaying subtitles from third party video apps
  • A total of 40 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 12.1.x October 30, 2018
  • FaceTime possible with up to 32 people
  • Introduction of the dual SIM function on iPhone XS, XS Max and XR
  • more than 70 new emojis
  • Depth control in the camera preview of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR
  • Ability to change or reset screen time for kids with Face ID or Touch ID
  • Power management function for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
  • Improved VoiceOver reliability
  • Bug fixes
  • Preview of notifications with Haptic Touch on iPhone XR
  • Dual SIM with eSIM for other network operators on the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
  • Capture Live Photos during one-on-one FaceTime calls
  • Switch between the front and rear cameras by tapping in FaceTime
  • RTT (Real-Time Text) support for WLAN calls on the iPad and iPod touch
  • Improvements for dictation in voiceover
  • A total of 87 vulnerabilities closed
Older version; no longer supported: 12.2 March 25, 2019
  • 51 Security gaps closed
Older version; no longer supported: 12.3.x May 13, 2019
  • 42 Security gaps closed
Older version; still supported: 12.4.x July 22, 2019
  • iPhone Migration Assistant
  • Preparations for credit card Apple Card
  • Latest version for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 series and the first generation iPad Air
  • A total of 44 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 13.0 19th September 2019
  • Revised photo app
  • Maps revised
  • Up to 2x faster app start
  • App download more compact and faster
  • Support for new service " Sign in with Apple "
  • Integration of swipe inputs on the keyboard
  • New copy and paste gestures
  • Revised memories
  • New UI for Apple CarPlay
  • ARKit overhauls (recognizes people and makes objects disappear behind them)
  • Dark mode
  • 9 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 13.1.x September 24, 2019
  • General stability improvements
  • Local location via U1 chip
  • iPad support removed (iPad tablets use iPadOS from this version )
  • A total of 1 vulnerability closed
Older version; no longer supported: 13.2.x October 28, 2019
  • Support AirPods Pro
  • Image algorithm "Deep Fusion" for better camera photos with iPhone 11 devices
  • 70 new emojis
  • Bug fixes and improvements
  • A total of 28 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 13.3.x December 10, 2019
  • A total of 37 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 13.4.x March 24, 2020
  • New memojis
  • iCloud folder sharing
  • Bug fixes and improvements
  • 30 security holes closed
Older version; no longer supported: 13.5.x May 20, 2020
  • Exposure Notification API to support contact tracking apps in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Easier unlocking and faster code entry with Face ID when wearing mouth and nose protection
  • FaceTime: Bug fixes and improvements
  • Addresses a security gap that allowed, one on a device with IOS 13.5 Jailbreak perform
  • A total of 45 security holes closed
Older version; still supported: 13.6.x 15th July 2020
  • Introduction of Apple CarKey
  • Share disease symptoms from Health with third-party apps
  • Bug fixes for iCloud Drive, WiFi calls, data display when using an eSIM
  • 29 Security gaps closed
Older version; no longer supported
Older version; still supported
Current version
Current preliminary version
Future version


Supplied applications

A number of apps are supplied with the iOS-based devices. Despite having the same name as the corresponding programs for Mac OS X, the apps for iOS are adapted to the respective user interface and their functionality has been changed. The applications Nike + iPod and iCloud Drive are hidden by default and must first be activated by the user. From iOS 10, most of the preinstalled apps can be hidden, from iOS 11 they can also be uninstalled. These can then be downloaded again from the App Store.

The following lists show all applications that are pre-installed in the current version of the operating system.

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Surname function
Mail E-mail program
Apple Safari Web browser
music play music
Videos Play videos
news SMS & MMS , iMessage
calendar Appointment management
photos View and edit photos and video recordings
camera Take and edit photos and videos
Facetime Video telephony
Photo booth Take photos and videos with special effects (iPad only)
notes note
cards App for Apple's vector-based maps
News Folder app to read magazines (not available in Germany)
memories To do list
Clock World clock , stopwatch , alarm clock , timer and the "bedtime" function introduced in iOS 10
contacts directory
Settings System settings
iTunes Store Access to the iTunes Store
App Store Third party apps can be downloaded here
Game Center enables multiplayer games against other users, central leaderboards, etc.
iBooks Read and buy books from the Apple iBooks Store
Podcasts Download and listen to podcasts
Tips shows tips for using the device
Watch shows information about the Apple Watch ; the application can be used to configure the clock
Home Central control of HomeKit-compatible smart home devices
shares Watch stock prices
Voice memos Sound recordings
Tape measure Measurement of objects with the help of ARKit 2 including a spirit level

iPhone and iPod touch

Surname function
phone Making calls (iPhone only)
computer (simple or scientific) calculator
Weather Weather forecast
Wallet Management of vouchers, tickets & boarding passes
compass Compass (iPhone only)
Health summarizes health and fitness data from other apps
  1. Up to iOS 4.x, the music app on iPhone & iPad was called iPod .
  2. Up to iOS 4.x, videos on the iPhone were included in the iPod app.
  3. Up to iOS 6.x, FaceTime was included in the phone app on the iPhone.
  4. Up to iOS 5.x, the map app used maps from Google Maps .
  5. Up to iOS 1.x, contacts on the iPhone were included in the phone app.
  6. a b Installed by default since iOS 8
  7. Installed by default since iOS 8.2
  8. Installed by default since iOS 10
  9. Installed by default on devices with an A9 chip or higher since iOS 12
  10. Starting with the iPad 2, the iPad also has a compass, but this does not have a separate app.

Up to iOS 5.x, an app designed by Apple for watching videos on YouTube was preinstalled. As of iOS 6.0, the app was no longer integrated into the OS due to an expired license. Shortly afterwards, Google made a revised YouTube app available in the App Store for iOS 6 users. An alternative to the app, which requires an Apple ID, is YouTube's mobile website, which can be accessed in a web browser. Google has largely switched off support for the YouTube app on older iOS devices on the server side.

The standard installation of the Apple Watch app in iOS 8.2, which is to be used to configure the watch, caused criticism, as the app was installed before the watch appeared and could not be removed.

iLife and iWork

Since autumn 2013, the so-called iLife ( iMovie and GarageBand ) and iWork apps ( Pages , Numbers and Keynote ) for iOS can be downloaded free of charge. However, this only applies to iOS devices that were purchased after September 10, 2013 and only for the first-time user. If the device is resold, given away or used by the same user with a different ID, the free entitlement expires and you have to pay the regular price for the apps.

The apps have been free for all iOS users since April 2017.

These apps have been installed by default on devices with 64 GB or 128 GB of internal storage since autumn 2014.

App Store

In addition to the standard programs supplied, other applications are available in the App Store . By May 2013, more than 50 billion apps had been downloaded from there worldwide. All apps in the App Store are controlled by Apple, which means security, but also restrictions for the user.

Pre-release apps

In the first beta version of iOS 8, the Bug Reporter app was introduced, which is now called Feedback . It is used to send errors found by the iOS developers to Apple.


Apple's centralized process for publishing apps is often viewed with skepticism. Since it is difficult for users to obtain programs from sources other than the App Store, critics see censorship in the non-approval of programs. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also criticizes that developers are forced to accept significant restrictions if they wanted to develop for iOS; Among other things, they would have to sign a confidentiality agreement and pay a membership fee. In the long term, this could therefore inhibit innovation.

Other authors, however, see the control of the App Store as an advantage:

"As more consumers have fears about security on the Internet, viruses and malware, they may be happy to opt for Apple's gated community."

"As more and more consumers worry about online security, viruses and malware, they may be happy to choose Apple's sealed system."

- Laura Sydell : NPR

The closed nature of the platform has also been criticized. Developers in particular fear that future generations will not be able to tinker intensively with the devices and will therefore not be enthusiastic about IT. Some users also feel patronized by the restrictions imposed by Apple and are disturbed by the excessive control Apple has over the platform. For example, Apple can delete programs from the user's iPhone using the Apple kill switch. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs stated that this option only targets malware.

Apple received a lot of criticism for the fact that there was no Flash Player for iOS . According to Apple, its manufacturer Adobe was unwilling or unable to develop a working solution for iOS. Steve Jobs commented on the Flash debate in an open letter in April 2010. In November 2011, Adobe stopped developing the Flash Player for all mobile devices, and from August 2012 it was no longer possible to download the program, making this point of criticism obsolete today.

A separate map service was introduced under iOS 6, which was heavily criticized because of serious errors in the map material. In some cases, the satellite material was poorly resolved or only in black and white. Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized in an open letter and assured that the map material should be improved. In the summer of 2013 he said in an interview “we screwed up” (“we have failed”).

Allegations of plagiarism

Apple is accused of not having developed iOS functions themselves, but merely copied them. British developer Greg Hughes developed the WiFi-Sync app for iOS 4, which made it possible to wirelessly synchronize iOS devices with iTunes. This app was rejected in the iTunes Store, whereupon Hughes submitted its application to the Cydia Store. Apple then implemented the WiFi Sync functions with the same name and a similar logo in iOS 5. Parts of the notification system on the iOS lock screen are also said to be copies of some applications from Cydia. The Control Center was introduced in iOS 7 , with which functions such as WLAN or Bluetooth can be activated and deactivated. According to Chip Online , the template is clearly the 2008 SB-Settings , an application also from the Cydia Store, from which many elements could have been adopted.

IOS 6 for the iPad also caused a stir, with which a previously missing clock application was installed on the iPad. Apple stole the design of the watch from Hans Hilfiker , to which the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) hold the rights.

The tab overview of the Safari browser is so similar to Google Chrome that the two applications can hardly be distinguished from one another. In a conclusion, Chip Online thinks that many similarities between the systems are too obvious to be coincidental. Direct parallels can apparently also be drawn to WebOS, whose multitasking menu was adopted in iOS.


The lock screen of iOS has been criticized again and again because security gaps have been noticed several times that allowed unauthorized access to the phone app.

Every iOS device up to and including the iPhone 4 has a hardware fault that allows it to execute unauthorized code. Up to iOS version 3.1.3, the keychain can be deleted from iOS with a delete command, which means that the code lock disappears. With iOS 4, Apple introduced an additional encryption called Data Protection , which additionally encrypts certain data with the set code. This prevents protected data from being readable without knowledge of the code even with physical access on the device.

The mentioned hardware error can also be used to read out insufficiently protected data, even from iOS 4, without entering the code. Due to the pure encryption via a hardware key, data protected without data protection can still be read in this way. From iOS 7, encryption is compulsory, but there are still gaps.

Furthermore, a brute force attack against the code lock can be started with the help of the hardware error mentioned . If only a four-digit code is used, it can usually be decrypted after about five to ten minutes, regardless of the iOS version used. In this case, the code lock and encryption by data protection have no effect on older devices.

Up to iOS 7, it was possible for Apple to read out the data from locked devices using a “proprietary process”.

With the introduction of iOS 8 in September 2014, according to Apple, there is no longer any possibility of bypassing the entered passcode without which data on mobile devices can no longer be accessed in the future. Search warrants from law enforcement authorities can no longer be complied with. This is confirmed by a report from the New York Public Prosecutor's Office. This protects photos, messages including attachments, emails, contact details, connection histories, iTunes content, notes and reminders. An FBI agent said Apple's move contributed to the growing obscuration that comes with the widespread use of encryption.

In June 2015, a study was published that describes serious security gaps in iOS and OS X that can be used to read passwords and data; The researchers took advantage of the lack of security mechanisms in the communication between apps ( Cross-App Resource Access , or Xara for short ). Appropriately manipulated apps could be placed in both the iOS and the Mac App Store . Apple was informed of the problems in October 2014 and asked for a period of six months - as is customary in the industry - for troubleshooting. As of June 2015, Apple had not fixed the bug.

Up to iOS version 9.3.4 there were three critical security holes that were exploited by the NSO Group's spyware tool Pegasus and that Apple closed with the release of version 9.3.5.

Battery life

IOS is occasionally criticized for problems with the battery life. IOS 7.1, released in March 2014, is said to have a major impact on the possible runtime of iOS devices. There were similar problems with previous versions of iOS, with iOS 5 there was talk of the so-called Battery Gate , based on the antenna-gate construction error of the iPhone 4. In most cases, restoring the can remedy the poor battery life under iOS iOS from the DFU mode out without the subsequent installation of a backup.


In the past, after the release of new iOS versions, there was criticism that the speed of some devices decreased after the updates. For example, users complained about speed problems with the iPhone 4 under iOS 7 or the iPhone 4s under iOS 8. Apple submitted updates with iOS 7.1 and iOS 8.1.1 to improve the stability and speed of the devices. There are also reports that the speed will improve again with further updates.

In the United States , over 100 plaintiffs are currently pursuing class actions against Apple. Apple is accused of knowingly deceiving users through false advertising claims. For example, the iOS 9 software update is said to have massively restricted the usability of the iPhone 4s in internal app tests , but Apple is said to have promised performance and battery life improvements in advertising, against better judgment. The plaintiffs hold Apple against that it should at least have been pointed out that updating to iOS 9 could limit the usability of the devices. The plaintiffs suffered financial damage as a result of iOS 9, since older iOS versions cannot be played back. Furthermore, Apple should deliberately restrict the usability of the devices through software updates in order to induce customers to buy a new device.

In December 2017, Geekbench developer John Poole discovered a function in iOS that permanently artificially lowers the system performance of older devices by reducing the processor clock frequency when the charge carrier capacity of the built-in lithium polymer battery has decreased due to natural wear and tear. The iPhone SE (1st generation) , iPhone 6 , iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 with iOS 10.2.1 or 11.2.0 or newer are affected. Apple confirmed on request that the performance of older devices would be artificially throttled and announced that it would also apply this practice to other devices in the future. The reason Apple states is that the lithium-ion batteries used in the iPhone can no longer deliver the required power in load situations because they wear out over time or are exposed to cold temperatures. As a result, emergency shutdowns of the devices have occurred more often in the past, which Apple would like to avoid as part of a positive user experience and extension of the product life. French consumer advocates filed a lawsuit against Apple at the end of December 2017 because planned obsolescence is illegal in France. In January 2018 it became known that the French judiciary had started an investigation against Apple. Apple responded with a discount on battery replacement for affected devices. Until December 2018, customers could have their batteries exchanged at Apple or authorized dealers for € 30 instead of € 90.

Lack of support for open standards

It is repeatedly criticized that Apple only supports open standards very half-heartedly. In October 2016, for example, a lawsuit was filed against Apple in France because support for HTML5 in the Safari web browser lags far behind its current status. This problem is particularly glaring in iOS, as providers of other web browsers are not allowed to use their own render engines , but only have access to Apple's own WebKit render engine and its limited support for open web standards. The FaceTime video chat protocol , which was originally promised to open, remains proprietary despite criticism.


IOS is delivered in French, English, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, German, Danish, Swedish, Arabic, Thai, Finnish, Polish, Vietnamese, Norwegian, Indonesian, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian, Hungarian, Catalan, Czech, Hindi, Malay, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovak.

See also


  • Jonathan Zdziarski: Identifying back doors, attack points, and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices. In: Digital Investigation. 11, 2014, pp. 3-19, doi: 10.1016 / j.diin.2014.01.001 .

Web links

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