iOS 1 through 16 on iPhone – An overview of the iPhone software’s history

Since its first release in 2007, Apple’s iOS has advanced greatly. Every successive edition has included ground-breaking features and advancements throughout time. The history of iOS is filled with fascinating tales, from the debut of the App Store in iPhone OS 2 to the inclusion of 5G connection in iOS 14.

In this editorial, we’ll look back on Apple’s iOS iterations, from the original iPhone OS to the most recent iOS 16. We will examine the important additions and upgrades that each version made, highlighting the crucial turning points in the development of the iOS operating system.

iOS 16 – September 12, 2022

The release of iOS 16 occurred in September 2022 after its announcement at the WWDC event in June 2022.

The support for Dynamic Island for iPhone 14 Pro devices was the most obvious improvement in iOS 16. By showing animated alerts and providing controls near the camera, it enhanced the new notch design.

Additionally, only available on the iPhone 14 series and supported by iOS 16 are features like Crash Detection, Always On display, Emergency SOS via Satellite, etc.

Key features of iOS 16:

  • Customizable Lock Screen
  • Live Activities
  • Better Focus Filters
  • New Message features
  • Redesigned Apple Maps
  • Apple Pay Later
  • Apple Order Tracking
  • iCloud Shared Photo Library
  • Live Texts on videos
  • Passkeys
  • Safety Check function
  • Improvements to Spatial Audio
  • Voice Isolation in phone calls
  • Advanced Data Protection for iCloud
  • Apple Music Sing karaoke

iOS 15 – September 24, 2021

In contrast to iOS 16, the iOS 15 upgrade placed a greater emphasis on software bug repairs, system enhancements, and refining built-in app capabilities.

The feature updates were also impacted by the pandemic era. Apple sought to improve Siri, Camera, FaceTime, Messages, and other services while also enhancing security and privacy, avoiding ad tracking, etc.

As of this writing, the iPod touch 7th generation and iPhone 6S series are both compatible with iOS 15.

Key features of iOS 15:

  • New FaceTime features – Spatial audio, SharePlay, FaceTime Link, Mic modes, Portrait modes, etc.
  • iMessage Share with you 
  • Better Focus Filters with Notification Summary, Signal your status, etc.
  • Live Text and Memory features in the Photos app
  • Advanced Spotlight search
  • App Privacy Report
  • Mail Privacy Protection
  • On-device Siri
  • Digital Legacy program
  • Redesigned Safari tabs
  • Detailed Maps  
  • Improved Health and Wallet app

iOS 14 – September 17, 2020

Similar system changes to those in iOS 15 are listed in iOS 14 as well. There were no notable modifications. A few improvements were made by Apple, including customising choices, home screen widgets, and privacy controls.

Key features of iOS 14:

  • Widgets on the Home Screen
  • App Library
  • Improved call notifications
  • Picture in Picture Mode
  • Redesigned Siri 
  • Translation, Password monitoring, and Website Privacy Report in Safari
  • Pinned Conversations and improved group texting in Messages
  • New Memoji Styles and Stickers
  • Cycling directions and Electric vehicle routing in Maps
  • Translate app
  • App Clips

iOS 13 – September 19, 2019

iPad also run iOS prior to iOS 13. But Apple made a significant advancement by releasing a new iPadOS to increase the iPad’s productivity and make it a potential laptop replacement. Since that time, iPad OS and iOS have always been released together.

The Dark Mode was the most noticeable new feature. Additionally, iOS 13 enhanced crucial features like Face ID, Portrait Lightning, a quicker app start, pre-installed app redesigns, etc.

Key features of iOS 13: 

  • System-wide Dark Mode
  • 30% faster Face ID unlocking
  • Revamped Apple Maps
  • Smarter HomeKit
  • Sign In With Apple user account
  • New privacy and security options
  • Portrait Lighting effects
  • New, improved Siri voice
  • Overhauled system apps like Photos, Mail, Reminders, and Notes

iOS 12 – September 17, 2018

Only a few new features were added to the iPhone OS in its 12th version. It primarily enhanced frequently utilised functions to enhance user experience. Apple unveiled features like Screen Time tracking, ARKit 2, and Siri Shortcuts.

Key features of iOS 12:

  • Grouped Notifications
  • Screen Time
  • ARKit 2 for enhanced Augmented Reality
  • Siri improvements
  • Memoji

iOS 11 – September 19, 2017

iOS 11 got special features to support the iPod touch, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

Therefore, its primary features included more iPad-specific features like split-screen apps, drag-and-drop functionality, a file browser app, and support for Apple Pencil handwriting, etc. 

Key features of iOS 11:

  • iPad functions
  • AirPlay 2 
  • Support for Augmented Reality

iOS 10 – September 13, 2016

A turning point in the Apple ecosystem occurred with the release of iOS 10. It provided a number of APIs to include external products into the system apps. As a result, the UI and applications on the iPhone are now more customizable and interoperable. Third-party apps can now access Siri more easily. The fact that Apple let consumers remove built-in programmes was the best feature.

Key features of iOS 10:

  • Embedded ​iMessage apps
  • Delete built-in apps
  • Split Control Center into multiple panels
  • Integration of Siri with third-party apps
  • Smarter QuickType keyboard
  • 3D touch displayed widgets 

iOS 9 – September 16, 2015

For iOS 9, creating a strong operating system foundation was a top priority in order to enhance the speed, responsiveness, stability, and performance of older devices. Users began to feel that iOS was no longer the dependable, trustworthy, and capable platform it once was after significant changes to its technology foundation and design.

In order to establish the groundwork for the more significant improvements in the upcoming iOS upgrades, Apple decided to focus on improving the OS’s foundation rather than adding new features. iOS introduced the Public Beta feature to gauge public opinion and adoption. People can thus sample the future iOS version update before it is actually released.

Key features of iOS 9:

iOS 8 – September 17, 2014

iOS 8 was a key upgrade in iOS history since it brought Apple Pay, a contactless payment mechanism, and the Apple Music subscription service. Additionally, it improved the iCloud functions for smoother, more consistent, and reliable performance. The Handoff feature to smoothly move between Apple devices was the most practical new feature.

Apple entered the market for an iCloud Drive that is similar to Dropbox with the addition of iCloud Music Library and iCloud Picture Library. Apple provided Family Sharing so users could access material individually with just one membership, saving money on subscription fees. Additionally, the HomeKit and HealthKit features catered to consumers’ daily lives.

Key features of iOS 8:

  • Apple Music
  • Apple Pay
  • iCloud Drive
  • Handoff
  • Family Sharing
  • Spotlight Suggestions
  • QuickType in keyboard
  • HomeKit and HealthKit
  • Extensibility framework for third-party extensions

iOS 7 – September 18, 2013

Users were unsatisfied with iOS 7 since it had problems and things didn’t work the way they should have. The upgrade made considerable changes to the user interface and opted for a flat design. However, some users found it challenging to read due to the small, thin lettering, and others complained of motion sickness due to the frequent animations.

Additionally, Apple introduced AirDrop, Activation Lock, and CarPlay while also providing quick access to the most utilised features through Control Centre. In addition, Siri now has new voices and a fresh appearance.

Key features of iOS 7:

  • Activation Lock
  • AirDrop
  • CarPlay
  • Control Center
  • Thumbnails in App Switcher
  • Improved Notification Center
  • Smarter Siri
  • Touch ID

iOS 6 – September 19, 2012

Because of Apple’s intensifying competition with Google, iOS version 6 generated the biggest controversy in the history of iOS releases. Although the recently released Siri was a true technological advance, problems with it led to considerable adjustments.

Additionally, Google pre-installed the Maps and YouTube apps with iPhone OS version 1.0. But this time, Apple introduced a new Apple Maps app to replace Google Maps. But due to bugs, unclear instructions, and problems with other capabilities, it fell short of expectations.

Despite its shortcomings, iOS 6 added a Podcast app, a more intelligent Siri, a Panoramic mode in the Camera, and the ability to make FaceTime calls using cellular connection.

Key features of iOS 6:

  • Apple Maps
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Passbook (now Wallet)
  • New features in Siri like launching apps
  • Panoramic photos
  • FaceTime over cellular data

iOS 5 – October 12, 2011

With the introduction of Siri, iCloud, wireless iPhone activation, and Wi-Fi iTunes syncing, iOS 5 marked a turning point for Apple. Without a computer, users may download and install software updates on their iPhones. Additionally, iMessage and Notification Centre were added to the iPhone for improved accessibility and user experience.

Key features of iOS 5:

  • Siri
  • iCloud
  • iMessage
  • Notification Center
  • Redesigned Reminders and Newsstand apps
  • Wireless syncing and activation

iOS 4 – June 22, 2010

Apple first referred to the “iPhone OS” as “iOS” with iOS 4, which marked the beginning of the futuristic iOS’s development. Features including FaceTime, multitasking, iBooks, Game Centre, organising programmes into folders, custom wallpapers, Personal Hotspot, AirPlay, and AirPrint were added to this version in a number of versions.

Additionally, Apple provided customers with the option to combine numerous email accounts into one inbox and added Bing as a search engine for Safari. For the first time, all iOS devices were no longer supported by this version of iOS. It wasn’t compatible with either the iPhone or the first-generation iPod touch.

Key features of iOS 4:

iPhone OS 3 (iOS 3) – June 17, 2009

iOS 3 was the first operating system for the iPad and came out of the box with the iPhone 3GS without any charge. Users were able to copy and paste text system-wide. Besides, Spotlight search, MMS support in the Messages app, and the capability to shoot films using the Camera app are just a few of the new features it included.

Key features of iOS 3;

iPhone OS 2 (iOS 2) – July 11, 2008

The iPhone 3G variant, which supported the 3G network, was designed with iPhone OS 2 in mind. App creators attempted to jailbreak the iPhone as it gained popularity in order to install third-party applications. In order to prohibit the installation of apps from the web, Apple introduced development tools including APIs and SDKs for software firms to launch apps in the App Store.

The App Store had about 500 applications when it first launched. Other noteworthy improvements to iPhone OS 2 include Podcast support, walking and public transportation directions in Maps, an iTunes Genuine playlist, and improvements to Mail, Calculator, and Contacts using Microsoft Exchange support.

Key features of iOS 2:

  • App Store​
  • Developer APIs and SDKs
  • Support for Microsoft ActiveSync and Microsoft Exchange
  • Improved Maps app​

iPhone OS 1 (iOS 1) – June 29, 2007

In June 2007, the first iPhone introduced iOS. However, OS X, the Mac operating system, provided the majority of its power. At the time when powerful smartphones first appeared, it had the fundamental iOS UI, iTunes integration, Multi-touch gestures, Mobile Safari, iPod, Visual Voicemail, and Maps.

But it only included fundamental pre-installed programmes like Calendar, Pictures, Camera, Notes, Mail, and Phone and didn’t support true third-party applications.

Key features of iOS 1:

  • Visual Voicemail​
  • Multitouch interface
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Camera
  • Clock
  • iPod
  • iTunes
  • Mail
  • Maps
  • Music (iPod Touch)
  • Notes
  • Phone
  • Photos
  • Safari
  • Settings
  • Stocks
  • Text
  • Videos (iPod Touch)
  • Weather
  • YouTube

What to expect from iOS 17?

You can see how far Apple has come in providing the most cutting-edge technologies as a new feature in each update by looking over the history of Apple iOS version updates. You must now be eager to learn what will be included in the iOS release.

Call recording, Lock Screen widgets, Split Screen, dual apps, a third-party App Store, and other features could be included in the new version, which is scheduled to be released on June 5 at WWDC 2023. Visit our post on iOS 17 rumours and expectations to learn more.


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