How Many Versions of iOS Are There?
The operating system of the iPhone or iPod is popularly known as iOS. This core software is present in all the devices in order to support and run other applications. Macbooks have macOS, PCs have Windows, and iPhones have iOS. Given the staggering amount of iPhone models that have been released over the years, an interesting question arises: How many iOS versions have been introduced till date? Let us go through the history of every iOS version and see how many have actually been released.
The very first operating system was pre-installed on the original iPhone. A breakthrough version of the operating system was released in 2007 with advanced features like visual voicemail, multi-touch screen, and iTunes integration.
The initial version of the iOS 2 was released in 2008 along with the iPhone 3G. This operating system introduced the App store to support third-party applications. At launch, around 500 applications were available on the App store. iOS version 2.2 had walking and public transit directions on the Maps and Podcast support.
iOS 3 was released in 2009 along with the iPhone 3GS with the added features of spotlight search, copy-paste feature, and video recording. iOS 3.2 was the first OS to support the iPad which was released in 2010.
iOS 4 was the shaping stone of many aspects of the modern iOS. Features like multi-tasking and app organising with the help of folders, FaceTime, AirPlay, AirPrint, and personal hotspot were introduced with the various updates of iOS 4.
Released in 2011, the iOS 5 introduced wireless activation of the iPhone and sync iTunes through wifi, without having to connect to a computer. Notification centres and iMessages were introduced with iOS 5.
This version of iOS introduced Siri to the world along with Apple’s app for Maps in 2012. But the app faced a lot of backlash due to bad directions and bugs. The passbook feature (now known as a wallet) was introduced along with the do not disturb.
Advanced touch ID, activation lock, airplay, airdrop, control centre, and car play were introduced with iOS 7 which was released in 2013. Many users were unhappy with the small font size that was difficult to read and the motion sickness caused by frequent animations.
A stable and consistent operation returned to iOS with this version that was released in 2014. Major new features such as secure and contactless payment via Apple Pay, iCloud photo library, iCloud drive, iCloud Music Library, third-party keyboards, family sharing, and a Home kit.
Constant changes to the technical foundation and interface resulted in a lack of dependability and stability. So Apple concentrated on stabilising the foundation of iOS before any new features were added. With iOS 9 released in 2015, there were improvements in performance, responsiveness and speed. A few features like night shift, public beta program and low power mode were introduced to stabilise the OS.
iOS 10 was released in 2016 alongside major theme customization. Direct communication between apps was enabled. This allowed the usage of a few features of another app without opening it. Users could customise their experiences by deleting built-in apps. The iMessage had built-in apps to add new animation and effects to their texts.
iOS 11 was released in 2017 and it focused on expanding support to the iPad and the iPhone. iPad Pro series were transformed to replace laptops. Multiple workspaces, split screens, drag and drop, support for handwriting and notation with Apple pencil, and a file browser app were introduced. All these features in the iPad were aimed to imitate the operating system of the laptop. iPhones saw the addition of features like AirPlay 2 and augmented reality.
Commonly used features were refined to boost the user experience. iOS 12 released in 2018 and witnessed enhanced augmented reality along with the introduction of Siri shortcuts, memoji, group notifications and screen time control.
iPadOS was introduced with iOS 13 in 2019 to boost the potential of the iPad and improve its productivity. A few core features were added to improve the app launch, including Face ID unlock. Pre-installed apps like Safari, Notes, Mail and Reminders were overhauled. System-wide dark mode, Google-style street view on Maps, improved Siri's voice, and new privacy and security options were introduced.
iOS 14 released in 2020 included small and medium changes to improve the overall user experience and boost ease of use. Privacy controls were improved, home screen widgets were improved, and users could choose the default apps. Other new features such as app clips, app library, smart stack, built-in language translator, and less screen space option for FaceTime and phone calls were added.
Released in 2021, iOS 15 introduced a lot of improvements in the iPhone platform. Enhanced Mic modes, spatial audio, share play, cross-platform support, and portrait mode, were added. The photo app witnessed the addition of visual search and live text options. Privacy and security were improved with on-device Siri, mail privacy protection, and app privacy reports.
iOS 16 was released in Sep 2022 and addresses the issues of migration and activation during setup. The beta version includes the ability to remove wallet apps and features like clean charging, battery percentage, and live activities.
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