History of iOS Releases
History of iOS Releases

We highlight the history of Apple’s iOS operating system with a comprehensive history of every major release. From the original iPhone OS to the latest version, we’ve got you covered.

Introduction: The Evolution of Apple’s iOS

iOS, Apple’s operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch, has come a long way since its debut in 2007. Each major iOS release has brought new features, improved performance, and enhanced security, shaping the way we use our devices today.

iPhone OS 1: The Beginning (2007)

The first version, known as iPhone OS, was introduced in 2007 with the original iPhone. It brought revolutionary features, including a touchscreen interface, mobile browsing with Safari, and built-in apps like Mail, Calendar, and Photos.

iPhone OS 2: The App Store Arrives (2008)

The second iteration saw the arrival of the App Store, allowing third-party developers to create apps for the platform. This opened up a whole new world of possibilities for iPhone users.

iPhone OS 3: Spotlight and Cut, Copy, Paste (2009)

iPhone OS 3 introduced useful features like Spotlight search and the long-awaited Cut, Copy, and Paste functionality. It also brought MMS capabilities to the Messages app.

iOS 4: Multitasking and FaceTime (2010)

The fourth major release was the first to be officially named “iOS.” It brought multitasking capabilities, FaceTime video calling, and the creation of folders to organize apps.

iOS 5: Notification Center and iMessage (2011)

iOS 5 marked the debut of Notification Center, iMessage, and wireless syncing through iCloud. It also introduced Siri, Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant.

iOS 6: Apple Maps and Passbook (2012)

iOS 6 saw the introduction of Apple Maps and Passbook (now Wallet). It was also the last version to feature the original YouTube app, as Google and Apple’s licensing agreement came to an end.

iOS 7: A New Design (2013)

iOS 7 brought a complete visual overhaul, introducing a flatter, more modern design. It also featured Control Center for quick access to settings and AirDrop for file sharing.

iOS 8: Health and Handoff (2014)

iOS 8 introduced the Health app and Handoff, allowing seamless transitions between devices. This version also brought extensions, enabling apps to interact with each other in new ways.

iOS 9: Proactive Assistant and Low Power Mode (2015)

iOS 9 featured the Proactive Assistant for personalized suggestions, along with a new Low Power Mode to conserve battery life. It also saw improvements in Siri and Apple Maps.

iOS 10: Home App and iMessage Overhaul (2016)

The tenth major release introduced the Home app for managing HomeKit-enabled smart devices. iMessage received an overhaul, adding features like message effects and an App Store for iMessage apps and stickers.

iOS 11: ARKit and iPad Improvements (2017)

iOS 11 brought ARKit, allowing developers to create augmented reality apps. This release also marked significant improvements for the iPad, including a new Dock and powerful multitasking features.

iOS 12: Performance Boost and Screen Time (2018)

Focused on performance and stability, iOS 12 introduced features like Screen Time for managing device usage and Group FaceTime for video calls with up to 32 participants.

iOS 13: Dark Mode and Sign In with Apple (2019)

The thirteenth major release debuted Dark Mode and Sign In with Apple. It also featured a redesigned Reminders app and enhancements to Maps and Photos.

iOS 14: Home Screen Widgets and App Library (2020)

iOS 14 brought Home Screen widgets and the App Library for organizing apps. It also introduced features like App Clips for using parts of apps without full installation, and translation capabilities for Siri.

iOS 15: FaceTime Improvements and Focus Mode (2021)

iOS 15 brought enhancements to FaceTime, such as spatial audio and SharePlay. It also introduced Focus Mode, helping users reduce distractions and manage their time more efficiently.

iOS 16: Unsend Messages + Enhancements (2022)

iOS 16 is anjother major release of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system for the iPhone. It is the successor of iOS 15, and was announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 6, 2022 alongside iPadOS 16, and released on September 12, 2022. Apple Inc.

Here are some features of iOS 16:

  • Lock screen customization: Including widgets, editing, and gallery
  • Live Activities and Focus filters: Support for third party apps
  • iCloud Shared Photo Library: Makes it easier to keep family photos up to date
  • Apple Fitness+ support: Available on iPhone even without an Apple Watch
  • Unsend and edit iMessages: Also schedule emails

iOS 17: Live Voicemail, Interactive Widgets (2023)

  • The iOS 17 beta was released on June 5, 2023 at the WWDC June 2023 event
  • The iOS 17 public beta was released on July 12, 2023
  • iOS 17 is scheduled to be released in mid-September 2023, which aligns with the launch of the iPhone 15 models
  • Some features of iOS 17 include StandBy mode, Live Voicemail, Personal Voice, Offline Apple Maps, and Interactive widgets
  • iPhones that are compatible with iOS 17 include the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, and iPhone 12 Mini

The iOS 17 beta version is considered relatively stable, but there may still be some issues or problems that users may encounter while using it.


What was the first iPhone OS called?

The first iPhone OS was simply called iPhone OS. The name changed to iOS with the release of iOS 4 in 2010.

When was the App Store introduced?

The App Store was introduced in 2008 with the release of iPhone OS 2.

Which iOS version introduced Siri?

Siri was introduced with iOS 5 in 2011.

When did Apple introduce Dark Mode?

Dark Mode was introduced in 2019 with the release of iOS 13.

What are some notable features in iOS 15?

iOS 15 brought numerous improvements, including enhancements to FaceTime, the introduction of Focus Mode, and Live Text in Photos.


From the first iPhone OS to the latest iOS release, Apple’s mobile operating system has consistently brought innovation and improvements to the iPhone experience. As we look forward to future updates, it’s exciting to imagine what new features and enhancements await us.

Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at GadgetMates.com.  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at ericchan@gadgetmates.com if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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