IOS (formerly iPhone OS or iPhone Software ) is a system developed by Apple 's mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV 2nd and 3rd generation.

In contrast to Apple's competitors, who often license their own mobile operating system to other hardware manufacturers, iOS is used on its own hardware from Apple. iOS is based on a "Mac OS X" - core or Darwin operating system, which goes back again on a Unix core.

  • 2.1 home screen
  • 2.2 Home screen on Apple TV
  • 2.3 restrictions
  • 5.1 Included applications 5.1.1 iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
  • 5.1.2 iPhone and iPod touch
  • 5.1.3 iLife and iWork
  • 6.1 Vulnerabilities
  • 6.2 battery life

History and Development


The development on iOS began 2005. At that time the idea of ​​developing a tablet computer by Steve Jobs has been temporarily rejected and has been held that a phone should be developed. After a first " Project Purple" called prototypes which had an iPod clickwheel took over Scott Forstall, former head of the Mac software department at Apple's head of software development of the later iPhones. Forstalls plan was to develop a phone with OS X. The result, resulting prototype was called " Project Purple 2" or only "P2". Resulted from this are the softwares "Purple Restore " to install iPhone prototypes and "Purple Buddy", the setup wizard of the iPhone since iOS5. The software prototype " P2", the later iOS, has been developed on a Power Mac G5 and later transferred to a weaker Power Mac G3 to simulate the performance of a smartphone. The hardware team soon had completed the first real iPhone prototype that used a Freescale MX31 SoC instead of a Samsung S5L SoCs in contrast to the finished iPhone. These all necessary for the operation of the iPhone components such as modems were connected by cable. To ensure the secrecy of the project, only a few people were privy to the software development. It developed parallel to the Springboard, which is generally known user interface of iOS, the surfaces of the Switchboard can be started several diagnostic programs, and the " SkankPhone ", the primary use of the iPhone as a phone. Many employees of the iPhone got the Springboard only at the presentation at the MacWorld to face.

Presentation at the MacWorld

The original operating system was introduced on January 9, 2007, together with the iPhone at the MacWorld Conference and Expo. At that time, Steve Jobs " iOS " designated yet as a " Mac OS, which runs on the iPhone ." iPhone OS (iOS ) supported at this time no apps from external developers.

Steve Jobs was for a closed operating and application system, and said, Webapps would do the service of natively installed applications just as reliable and fast.

However, Apple announced on 17 October 2007, at the urging of the Board and the media to release in February 2008, a software development kit (SDK ) for developers.

Introduction of the iOS SDK

On 6 March 2008, Apple released then the SDK for iOS to give third party developers the ability to develop apps for iOS. The thus developed apps can be published exclusively in also with iPhone OS 2.0 introduced new App Store. An SDK for AppleTV is not available.

Renaming and merging

First, the iOS of the iPhone and the iPad were operated under different versions (iPhone OS and " iPad OS" ). Technically, however, there was only a slight difference, the iPad can therefore perform all developed for iPhone Apps. It is an option the app either in favor of better visibility adapt to the screen size of the iPad (so-called upscaling ) or display it in a small window.

In June 2010, named Apple then his iPhone OS to iOS order. The necessary trademark licensed Apple Cisco, which already distributed a router operating system called " IOS ".

Finally, Apple introduced the operating system of the iPhone and the iPad together. The first common version was iOS 4.2.1.

New Design

After the restructuring of the iOS software development and the dismissal of Scott Forstall in November 2012, was a complete reorientation of the iOS designs by the chief designer Jonathan Ive. The result was iOS 7, a more colorful operating system on very flat design (not as before on Skeuomorphismus ) was based. Visual levels ( blurring and transparency) were added in many of the newly designed standard apps.

Operating concept

The operating concept of iOS should be kept as simple as possible. Thus, it is limited almost exclusively to the home screen, also called Springboard, and syncing with iCloud or iTunes. iOS is controlled almost exclusively by the multi-touch screen, only the locks off the unit is triggered with the Lockbutton, and stopping applications ( called apps ) with the Home button. This can wake the device as well as the Lockbutton from standby mode. iOS is it designed with all other Apple products work together. It supports multi-touch with up to five fingers. Multitouch is partly used for gesture control, so can be closed or go through gestures, for example, the iPad apps.

Home screen

The home screen is the actual user interface of iOS dar. characteristic of this are the apps shown on individual pages as icons, four of which can be stored in the dock, the status bar at the top of the screen with the time, the battery level, and, where appropriate, signal strengths, and the lockscreen with the unlock slider and a digital clock.

Only in the course of time it was possible to move apps and arrange at will, or delete, create multiple pages of apps or install more apps from the App Store. With iPhone OS 3.0, which is known from OS X Spotlight search was added. With the Spotlight search can be looking for content on the iOS device. Also came with iPhone OS 3.0 added push messages. Push messages are sent from apps to the iOS device. These are text messages that can be derived eg from instant messaging programs or news apps. With iOS 4.0 for the first time it was possible to organize apps into folders. It was also possible to provide hitherto not customizable black background of the Home screen with its own background image. Moreover, it was with iOS 4 a taskbar introduced, which can be accessed by double-clicking the Home Button ever since. In this bar the recent apps are displayed and can be called directly from there. Since iOS 4 apps are no longer terminated by the home button, but paused so that they can be loaded faster. If necessary apps are terminated in order to release memory.

With the iOS 5 Notification Center, and Siri were added. The Notification Center displays the last push messages and can be called up with a wiping of the status bar downwards. Siri is an assistant that responds to voice commands and can various tasks, such as creating and sending of SMS run.

Since iOS 7 is the so-called Control Center called with a mop from the bottom of the screen. In the Control Center can be, for example, Enable or disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Home screen on Apple TV

The iOS Apple TV uses the same kernel as the iOS of iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, but is controlled by a remote control with seven buttons and has its own interface, which significantly differs from the iPhone home screen. Apple TV is designed primarily to multimedia content, not to the benefit of apps.


IOS does not allow direct access of the users to the file system or the command line. Apps run in a sandbox and can read local files on the machine and save only within this sandbox. Apps can only be downloaded from the App Store or installed on a developer access.

These limitations can be circumvented by an unauthorized by Apple so-called jailbreak. After the user has full access to the file system and the command line of Unix-like operating system, also it can install software from any source, for example via Cydia.

Until 17 September 2013, was users of older devices not possible to install apps on the App Store, a newer iOS version was required. In the meantime, however, can also with older devices still compatible versions of apps on the App Store, so this restriction is obsolete today.

File system

IOS uses the HFSX file system, HFS file system based, considered the case. When you launch iOS two partitions are mounted.

The system partition contains the so-called root directory of iOS, there are all the system components, such as the Springboard and the background services of iOS. The user has to install no access to the root partition without a jailbreak. The partition size is increased in almost any new iOS version. In iOS 6.1 this partition is approximately 1.3 GB in size. Manually change the size is usually not necessary, but can be accomplished with a modified iOS firmware file. The maximum partition size is 4 GB. The system partition is purely readable and the system can not change any data here.

The data partition is mounted on / private / var and contains the folder mobile, called the user directory. In this directory, all media and settings are saved. The size of the user directory depends on the storage capacity of the iOS device. The size of the user directory is provided by iOS as overall size of the flash memory. The fact that the system partition is increased in almost every iOS version, the usable memory of the iOS device is reduced after a major version or major update. The user directory contains several subdirectories that are most important ones:

  • Applications: This is where all apps from the App Store and these obtained when using data.
  • Library: The Library folder, all settings are to be made ​​in iOS stored, such as screen brightness or arrangement of the apps on the home screen. Will iOS updated via an OTA update, so this folder is not overwritten and preserved the settings.
  • Media: Media contains all the media that are transferred to an iOS device, such as music, movies or recorded with the camera app photos. This folder can be read without a jailbreak of corresponding programs. Since the iPhoneOS software version 3.0 and Windows can mount the DCIM folder contained in the media folder as a digital camera.


This list includes only the primary updates ( major updates ) and their most important innovations. Also the iOS of Apple TVs, since it carries different version numbers, not listed here; the same applies to the supplied applications. For more detailed information on all iOS updates and versions, see:

  • First version; was published together with the first iPhone.
  • The first iPod touch was released on September 14 with iOS 1.1.
  • Introduction of the iTunes Store
  • Change the icons Calculator
  • Video output via dock connector
  • Adds iPod touch apps to that were available only on the iPhone so far ( inter alia Mail)
  • App Store is introduced
  • Extensions for use in large enterprises (among central administration, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, security features such as IEEE 802.1X or IPsec)
  • IPod app has been revised
  • Extensions to the restrictions
  • Google Street View support
  • Emoji support
  • Added Copy and Paste
  • MMS support
  • Spotlight: Integration of System Search
  • Voice control (from iPhone 3GS )
  • Tethering: The iPhone may make his UMTS Internet connection via USB other devices.
  • Find My iPhone is to display the location of the iPhone allowed. ( As of iOS 4 for iPhone 4, iPad or iPod touch (4th generation ) or later free)
  • In-App Purchase allows you to expand installed programs directly from these out to other functions and paying through micropayments.
  • About Bluetooth Bonjour iPhone in multiplayer games can automatically connect to players in the immediate vicinity.
  • MHealth applications such as connection to a blood pressure monitor is now possible using Bluetooth.
  • The Bluetooth profile A2DP for transmitting audio data in stereo is supported (using the SBC encoding).
  • Latest iOS version that supports the iPhone and iPod touch 1st generation.
  • Was published together with the iPad, was not available for iPhone and iPod touch.
  • Multitasking: A kind of multi-tasking, are not closed but paused at the apps when you exit.
  • IAd: New ways of advertising within apps are possible.
  • FaceTime: video telephony service
  • Background image of the home screen be changed, folders can be created.
  • The iPhone OS has been renamed to iOS.
  • Game Center: Games network for iOS games ( not for the 3G iPhone )
  • AirPrint: Wireless Printing with supported printers
  • AirPlay: wireless transmission of audio content between AirPlay - enabled devices
  • Latest iOS version that supports the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd generation.
  • Hotspot: The iPhone or iPad (WiFi 3G/4G-Version ) can share the Internet connection with up to five other devices via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. (iPhone 3GS only Bluetooth)
  • AirPlay now supports wireless transmission of video content between AirPlay -enabled devices.
  • Message center: Notifications are summarized therein.
  • Twitter is integrated systemwide.
  • Reminders and to-do lists, with optional time-or location-based reminders.
  • Mail supports S / MIME and basic formatting (bold, italic, underline)
  • IOS devices are no longer dependent on a computer, inter alia, to commissioning and operating system updates
  • iMessage: Free messaging service for all iOS 5 users from
  • ICloud is integrated.
  • Latest iOS version that supports the iPod touch 3rd generation and iPad 1st generation.
  • ICloud with extended functionality ( among others, it is now possible photostream to share with other people or to sync open tabs between devices in Safari)
  • Facebook Twitter built right next to the operating system
  • New maps application Apple Maps ( with 3D View and built-in navigation software with Siri voice ) replaces Google Maps
  • Improvements in Siri (among additional languages ​​and extended functionality)
  • FaceTime video calls are now mini executable via mobile network (UMTS and LTE) on the iPhone 4S / 5, iPad (3rd generation and later ), and the iPad
  • Passbook: Tickets (such as a cinema or train ) locate 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 feature (iPhone 4s / 5 and iPod touch ( 5th generation) )
  • Improvements in many included apps like Phone, Mail or Safari

( According to Apple, there are over 200 new features. )

  • LTE support for 36 additional network operator, Swisscom and others (since iOS 6.1)
  • Latest iOS version that supports the iPod touch 4th generation and iPhone 3GS.
  • Design modified, adopted elements of Flat Design
  • Apps designed visually by simple semi-transparent status bar and thinner fonts
  • Animated wallpapers and menus with parallax effect
  • New app icons
  • Multitasking for all apps based on usage profile
  • New user interface; Screenshots from last used apps are displayed
  • Speed optimization
  • Optical changes
  • Improving the Touch ID detection
  • CarPlay


Bundled applications

A number of apps are included with the iOS -based devices. Despite the name similarity with appropriate programs for Mac OS X apps for iOS are adapted to the user interface and changed functionality. Some of the included apps, such as the Nike iPod app are hidden by default and must be activated by the user. The pre-installed apps can not be uninstalled.

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

IPhone, iPad and iPod touch

IPhone and iPod touch

Until iOS 5.x one designed by Apple app for watching videos on YouTube was pre-installed. Because of an expired license, the app requires iOS 6.0 was not included in the OS. Shortly thereafter, Google introduced a redesigned YouTube app in the App Store for iOS 6 users to download. An alternative to the app (which requires an Apple ID ) is the mobile website of YouTube, which can be accessed in a web browser. In versions 1.0 to 5.1.1 of the operating system, the YouTube app from Apple is still usable.

ILife and iWork

Since autumn 2013, the so-called iLife ( iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand) and iWork apps ( Pages, Numbers and Keynote) for iOS can be downloaded for free. This is only for iOS devices that were purchased after September 10, 2013.

App Store

In addition to the supplied standard programs more applications are available on the App Store. Until May 2013, more than 50 billion apps have been downloaded from the world. All apps in the App Store are controlled by Apple, but also means security restrictions for the user.


Apple's centralized process surrounding the publication of apps is seen often skeptical. Since it is difficult to users, from sources other than the App Store to purchase programs that critics see in the non-approval of programs censorship. 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 act to 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 are concerned about the security of the Internet, viruses and malware, they may decide not fond of Apple's insular system. "

The closed nature of the platform is criticized. Especially developers fear that future generations can tinker intensively on the devices less and will therefore not enthusiastic about computer science. Also, some users feel through the steps taken by Apple restrictions patronized and offended by the strong control that Apple has over the platform - as Apple, for example, delete a channel using the Apple Kill Switch from iPhone the user. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs explained that this option aimed only for malware. Many users criticized that the pre-installed apps like Stocks, Weather or newsstand can only be removed with a jailbreak. This is true even for those apps that have no critical impact on the fundamental proper operation of the device.

Much of the criticism was Apple that there was no Flash Player for iOS. After presentation of Apple the company Adobe was unwilling or unable to develop a workable solution for iOS. Steve Jobs commented in April 2010 in an open letter to the debate about Flash. In November 2011, Adobe stopped the development of Flash Player for all mobile devices, the download was discontinued in August 2012, so this criticism is obsolete today.

On iOS 6 has its own mapping service was introduced, which has been heavily criticized due to serious errors in the maps. So the satellite material is in some cases poorly resolved or black and white. Apple CEO Tim Cook has apologized in an open letter and assured that the maps should be improved. In the summer of 2013 he said in this regard in an interview "we screwed up" ( "We have failed ").


Again and again, is the lock screen of iOS in the criticism, since multiple vulnerabilities have noticed, which allowed unauthorized access to the phone app.

Each iOS device to and including the iPhone 4 has a hardware failure, which allows to run unauthorized code. Until the iOS version 3.1.3 can be so by a delete command to delete the keychain from iOS, making the code lock disappears. With iOS 4, Apple introduced an additional encryption called Data Protection, the specific data also encrypted with the set code. This prevents protected data without knowledge of the code even with physical access to the device are readable.

The mentioned hardware failure can also be exploited to to enter from iOS 4 still insufficient protected data without the code must read. Due to the pure encryption via a hardware key protected data without the Data Protection on this path to read. From iOS 7 encryption is forced, but has also gaps.

In addition, can also be started a brute force attack against the lock code using the mentioned hardware failure. If only one four-digit code is used, it can be decoded independently from the iOS version used usually after about five to ten minutes. In this case, the code lock and encryption by Data Protection for older devices are ineffective.

Battery life

Chance of iOS is due to problems with the battery life in the criticism. The published in March 2014 iOS 7.1 should impair strongly the possible duration of the iOS devices. There were similar problems already with previous versions of iOS, with iOS 5 was the so-called Battery Gate speech, inspired by the Antenna gate design flaw of the iPhone 4 remedy against the meager battery life under iOS creates in most cases restoring iOS from the DFU mode without the subsequent install a backup.