The History of the iOS

Tim Cook talks about Apple iOS
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The iOS is the operating system that runs the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It's the core software that comes loaded on all devices to allow them to run and support other apps. The iOS is to the iPhone what Windows is to PCs or Mac OS X is to Macs. This article is a history of each version of the iOS, when it was released, and what it added to the platform.

Find out if your device is iOS 9 compatible

iOS 9.3
Released: March 21, 2016
Added:

  • Night Shift
  • Touch ID security for Notes app
  • Support for pairing multiple Apple Watches to one iPhone
  • Wi-Fi Calling support on Verizon
  • Improvements to Apple Music and Maps in CarPlay
  • New 3D Touch shortcuts 

iOS 9.2.1
Released: Jan. 19, 2016
Added:

  • Bug fixes

iOS 9.2
Released: Dec. 8, 2015
Added:

  • Feature improvements to Apple Music and News
  • 3D Touch support in iBooks
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements

iOS 9.1
Released: Oct. 21, 2015
Added:

  • New emojis
  • Support for iPad Pro
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements

iOS 9.0.2
Released: Sept. 30, 2015
Added:

  • Bug fixes

iOS 9.0.1
Released: Sept. 23, 2015
Added:

  • Bug fixes

iOS 9.0
Released: Sept. 16, 2015
Added:

  • Maps app with mass transit directions
  • Proactive, Apple's Google Now competitor
  • Improved Siri
  • 3D Touch on iPhone 6S series
  • Live Photos
  • Low power mode for up to 3 hours of extra battery life
  • Overhauled Notes app
  • New apps: News, Switch to iOS, iCloud Drive

Find out if your device is iOS 8 compatible

iOS 8.4.1
Released: Aug.

13, 2015
Added:

  • Bug fixes for Apple Music
  • Bug fixes for iCloud Music Library

iOS 8.4
Released: June 30, 2015
Added:

  • Apple Music
  • Fix for text-message bug that could crash phones with a single message
  • Other improvements and bug fixes

iOS 8.3
Released: April 8, 2015
Added:

  • Support for multicultural emojis
  • Siri support for Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese
  • Ability to report iMessages as a spam
  • Numerous more subtle improvements and bug fixes 

iOS 8.2
Released: March 9, 2015
Added:

  • Support for Apple Watch
  • Apple Watch app that provides configuration options and App Store access
  • Improvements to the Health app
  • and many other improvements and bug fixes.

iOS 8.1
Released: Oct. 20, 2014
Added:

iOS 8.0
Released: Sept. 17, 2014
Added:

  • Notification Center widgets
  • Third-party keyboards
  • App extensions to provide functionality between apps
  • Support for Apple's Continuity and Handoff features with Mac OS X
  • iOS-to-Mac AirDrop support 
  • Healthkit support
  • Homekit support
  • Improvements to the Messages app, including voice messages and auto-expiring messages
  • Family Sharing
  • Wi-Fi calling.

Find out if your device is iOS 7 compatible

iOS 7.1
Released: March 10, 2014
Added:

  • Support for CarPlay
  • New voices for Siri in Mandarin Chinese, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese
  • Added iTunes Radio features
  • Improvements to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S
  • Enhancements to the Calendar app and accessibility features
  • Changes to improve performance on the iPhone 4
  • and many other improvements and bug fixes.

iOS 7.0.6
Released: Feb. 26, 2014
Added:

  • Bug fixes for major iOS security hole that allowed websites to fake security certificates

iOS 7.0.5
Released: Jan.

29, 2014
Added:

iOS 7.0.4
Released: Nov. 14, 2013
Added:

  • Mostly unspecified bug fixes

iOS 7.0.3.
Released: Oct. 22, 2013
Added:

iOS 7.0.2
Released: Sept. 26, 2013
Added:

  • Fix for lockscreen bug
  • Greek language support to lockscreen

iOS 7
Released: Sept. 18, 2013
Added:

  • New user interface
  • iTunes Radio
  • iTunes in the Car
  • Control Center
  • Improvements to Find My iPhone, including Activation Lock
  • Touch ID fingerprint scanner on iPhone 5S
  • AirDrop
  • Image filters built in Camera app
  • Hundreds of smaller changes

 

Find out if your device is iOS 6 compatible

iOS 6.1.5
Released: Nov. 14, 2013
Added:

  • Bug fix for 4th generation iPod touch

iOS 6.1.4
Released: May 2, 2013
Added:

  • Bug fix for iPhone 5

iOS 6.1.3
Released: March 19, 2013
Added:

  • Bug fixes

iOS 6.1.2
Released: Feb. 19, 2013
Added:

  • Bug fixes for Microsoft Exchange

iOS 6.1.1
Released: Feb. 6, 2013
Added:

iOS 6.1
Released: Jan. 28, 2013
Added:

  • Improvements to Siri
  • More carrier support for LTE networks
  • Modifications to iCloud at device set up
  • Numerous minor enhancements
  • Bug fixes

iOS 6.0.2
Released: Dec. 18, 2012
Added:

  • Bug fixes on iPhone 5 and iPad mini

iOS 6.0.1
Released: Nov. 1, 2012
Added:

  • Bug fixes

iOS 6
Released: Sept. 19, 2012
Added:

Find out if your device is iOS 5 compatible

iOS 5.1.1
Released: May 7, 2012
Added:

  • Improved reliability when using HDR photos from the lock screen short cut
  • Solved a problem with 2G/3G network switching
  • Fixed bug with AirPlay playback
  • Increased Safari bookmark and Reading List syncing
  • Removed an incorrect error that would report a failed iTunes Store purchase even when the purchase succeeded.

iOS 5.1
Released: March 7, 2012
Added:

  • Support for third-generation iPad
  • Updated camera app for third-generation iPad
  • Updated Camera shortcut from lockscreen
  • Genius Mixes and Playlists for iTunes Match
  • Japanese support for Siri
  • Update AT&T network indicator to show 4G in many locations
  • Bug fixes

iOS 5.0.1
Released: Nov. 10, 2011
Added:

iOS 5
Released: Oct. 12, 2011
Added:

  • Support for iCloud and iTunes Match
  • iMessage
  • System-wide integration of Twitter
  • Notification Center and updated lock screen to include notifications
  • Built-in Reader and Reminders apps; a read-later and to-do list app, respectively
  • Tweaks to the Camera app to add a camera shortcut to the lock screen and the ability to use the volume up button to take photos
  • Formatting-related tweaks to Mail app
  • Newsstand, a new app for reading magazines purchased through the App Store
  • Tweaks to Game Center app, including support for turn-based network games

 

Find out if your device is iOS 4 compatible

iOS 4.3.5/4.2.10
Released: July 25, 2011
Fixed:

  • Fixes bugs and security holes

iOS 4.3.4/4.2.9
Released: July 15, 2011
Fixed:

  • Fixes bugs and security holes

iOS 4.3.3/4.2.8
Released: May 4, 2011
Fixed:

  • Reduces the size of the location awareness cache
  • No longer backs up location data during sync
  • Deletes location data when Location Services are turned off

iOS 4.3.1
Released: March 25, 2011
Fixed:

  • Graphics problem on 4th gen. touch
  • Bug when activating/connecting to wireless networks
  • Image flicker on TV out using Apple Digital AV Adapter
  • Problems authenticating to some web services

iOS 4.3
Released: March 11, 2011
Added:

iOS 4.2.5
Released: February 10, 2011
Added:

  • Adds support for the Verizon cellular network
  • Adds 3G Mobile Hotspot functionality for CDMA iPhones

iOS 4.2
Released: November 22, 2010
Added:

  • Brings all iOS 4 features to iPad
  • AirPrint wireless printing
  • AirPlay support
  • Extends GameCenter support to iPad
  • Free Find My iPhone service
  • Search in page in Safari
  • Software-based screen orientation lock for iPad
  • Assign unique tones to individual SMS senders

iOS 4.1
Released: September 2010
Added:

  • High Dynamic Range photos
  • Game Center
  • Many bug fixes (proximity sensor, Bluetooth, iPhone 3G)

iOS / iPhone OS 4
Released: June 22, 2010 for iPhone and iPod touch | Fall 2010 for iPad
With this release, the iPhone OS was renamed iOS
Added:

  • Multitasking
  • Folders to organize apps
  • Unified email inbox and threaded email conversations
  • Improved security and business features
  • iBooks for iPhone, iPod touch
  • iAd
  • 100+ other fixes and features
  • Drops support for the original iPhone

iPhone OS 3.2
Released: April 3, 2010
Added:

  • This version of the OS is specific to the iPad and adds features and functionality for that device

iPhone OS 3.1.3
Released: Feb. 2, 2010
Added:

  • Improved battery status reporting
  • Fixes bug related to apps not launching
  • Fixes bug related to Japanese Kana keyboard
  • Various security fixes

iPhone OS 3.1.2
Released: Oct. 8, 2009
Added:

  • Bug fixes for network connection lost and problems waking from sleep.

    iPhone OS 3.1
    Released: Sept. 9, 2009
    Added:

    • App Store Genius. Like the Genius feature for music, this tool recommends App Store programs based on what the user has previously enjoyed.
    • New Ringtones. While previous ringtones were user-creatable through iTunes, users can now buy pre-made ringtones from record labels through the included iTunes Store app.

    iPhone Firmware 3.0
    Released: June 17, 2009
    Sneak Preview: March 17, 2009 
    Added:

    • Copy and paste
    • MMS, aka multimedia messaging service; text messages with photos and videos
    • Bluetooth connections between iPhones and iPod touches (the OS also unlocks the Bluetooth hardware included, but not currently used, in the second-generation iPod touch)
    • Bluetooth stereo streaming
    • Spotlight search functionality on the home page
    • Tethering, to allow use of iPhone as modem for computers (for an additional fee)
    • Background push notifications so apps can deliver content when they’re not being run
    • Support for peripherals through the dock connector
    • New app: Voice memos, which does what you’d expect from the name
    • A revised Stocks app
    • Landscape mode in mail, text, and notes
    • Voice Control of phone and iPod (iPhone 3GS only)
    • Notes that can sync to Macs and PCs, unlike in the current OS
    • Form auto-fill and anti-phishing tools in Safari
    • Shake-to-shuffle in the iPod app, a la the 4th-generation iPod nano
    • The ability to rent and purchase movies, TV, and audiobooks over the air
    • Parental controls and ratings for apps, iTunes content, etc.
    • Find my iPhone feature for lost phones via MobileMe; includes remote deletion of data as an option
    • Support for 30 new languages
    • Purchases within apps now supported, works in paid apps only

    iPhone Firmware 2.2.1
    Released: Jan. 27, 2009
    Added:

    • Bug fixes related to Safari, camera roll and Mail
    • Bug fixes for iPod touch related to handling AAC files
    • Other bug and stability fixes

    iPhone Firmware 2.2
    Released: Nov. 21, 2008
    Added:

    • Google Street View, with driving, walking, and public transit directions
    • Display address of dropped pins and share location via email
    • Over-the-air downloads of podcasts from the iTunes Store
    • Turn off text auto-correction
    • New home screen shortcut brings you to first page of Home screen
    • Bug fixes to reduce dropped called, improve Safari stability, improve mail fetching and display of HTML mail, improve sound quality in Visual Voicemail

    iPhone Firmware 2.1
    Released: Sept. 12, 2008
    Added:

    • Decrease in call set-up failures and dropped calls
    • Significantly better battery life for most users
    • Dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
    • Improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
    • Faster installation of 3rd party applications
    • Fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes for users with lots of third party applications
    • Improved performance in text messaging
    • Faster loading and searching of contacts
    • Improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
    • Repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
    • Option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
    • Genius playlist creation

    iPhone Firmware 2.0.2
    Released: August 18, 2008
    Added:

    • Bug fixes

    iPhone Firmware 2.0.1
    Released: August 4, 2008
    Added:

    • Bug fixes

      iPhone Firmware 2.0
      Released: July 11, 2008
      Added:

      • Support for iPhone 3G
      • Support for App Store and third-party applications and games
      • Support for Microsoft Exchange
      • Support for 3G data and GPS, when the hardware is present

      iPhone Firmware 1.1.4
      Released: Feb. 26, 2008
      Added:

      • Bug fixes

      iPhone Firmware 1.1.3
      Released: Jan. 15, 2008
      Added:

      iPhone Firmware 1.1.2
      Released: Nov. 13, 2007
      Added:

      • International Keyboard Support
      • Bug Fixes
      • Tacit approval for user-created ringtones

      iPhone Firmware 1.1.1
      Released: Sept. 27, 2007
      Added:

      iPhone Firmware 1.0.2
      Released: Aug. 22, 2007
      Added:

      • Increased speaker volume
      • Improved EDGE and WiFi reception
      • Closing user-created ringtone and program holes
      • Bug fixes

      iPhone Firmware 1.0.1
      Released: Aug. 1, 2007
      Added:

      • Closing user-created ringtone and program holes
      • Bug fixes