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What is iOS
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What is iOS?

Published On: October 27, 2023

In this blog, let’s delve into What iOS is, understanding Apple’s cutting-edge mobile operating system. Through this exploration, we’ll uncover the innovations, user-friendly features, and most importantly, the iOS layers that have made iOS an integral part of our daily lives.

Introduction to iOS

Apple’s Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices are renowned as the industry standard for versatile smartphones and tablets. The Apple Watch, a masterpiece in its own right, ranks among the world’s top-selling smartwatches. These Apple devices are powered by the iOS operating system, a straightforward platform that enables seamless interaction between hardware and various software applications. 

The iOS operating system consists of four essential layers: the OS layer, which manages hardware communication and security; the services layer, ensuring functionality; the media layer, facilitating multimedia functions; and the cocoa touch layer, handling user interfaces and interactions.

The services layer focuses on creating services that cater to user demands, while the media layer handles various media types such as video, audio, and graphics. The touch layer is where frameworks are generated during application development. Top app stores for iOS apps include the App Store, Cydia, GetJar, and Appland. 

The International Olympiad of Science conducts iOS exams for students from grade 1 to 12, and numerous reputable institutes offer iOS development courses. iOS development is a popular and trending subject, spanning from basic classes to advanced research. Commonly used languages in iOS development are Objective-C and Swift.

History of iOS

Apple Inc. revolutionized the world by introducing a compact handheld computer with a smart screen and dynamic capabilities. They developed the iOS operating system to empower devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Steve Jobs created the iPhone OS in 2005, and it made its official debut at the Mac World Conference & Expo on January 9, 2007. Apple’s App Store boasts a collection of over 2.1 million diverse iOS applications, catering to the needs of iOS device users.

Among the global mobile device market, iOS holds the second position, with Android taking the lead in the first position. In 2007, iOS was introduced and integrated into Apple devices, starting with the iPod Touch. Subsequently, in 2010, the iOS operating system was extended to support the iPad.

To interact with the iOS operating system, users employ gestures like tapping, swiping, reverse pinching, and pinching. The latest iteration of the iOS operating system is iOS 13, released in September 2019. iOS 13 is tailored for devices with more than 2 GB of RAM. As a result, it isn’t compatible with the iPhone 5, iPod Touch (6th generation), iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6. It is exclusively designed for specific devices that meet the RAM requirements, including iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad OS.

What are the functions and features of iOS?

Following are several features of iOS,

  • User Interface: iOS provides an intuitive and visually appealing user interface that includes icons, gestures, and menus for easy navigation and app access.
  • App Ecosystem: iOS offers a vast selection of applications available through the App Store, allowing users to install, update, and organize apps for various purposes.
  • Security: iOS is known for its robust security features, including device encryption, app sandboxing, and secure boot processes, ensuring user data and privacy protection.
  • Integration: iOS seamlessly integrates with other Apple services such as Apple Pay, Apple Music, and iCloud, enhancing the user experience and connectivity across devices.
  • Development Platform: iOS serves as a platform for developers to create and distribute applications through the App Store, supporting various programming languages, including Swift and Objective-C.

iOS Hardware Architecture: What Architecture do iOS Framework Use

In mobile development, there are three app categories: native, hybrid, and mobile apps. The iOS SDK package provides programming support for crafting applications on the iOS operating system. This kit includes tools for app development, testing, installation, and execution. It encompasses Xcode tools, an integrated development environment (IDE), graphical interfaces for UI creation, and runtime performance analysis tools. Languages like C++, C, Objective-C, and Swift are employed for iOS app development.

Objective-C is the foundational knowledge needed to grasp iOS concepts, although it differs from C and Java. It builds on Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) principles. Swift, on the other hand, is a higher-level language used for application development. The Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is where coding and interface design take place.

Once you’ve acquired coding knowledge, it’s essential to learn how to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). For iOS development, various frameworks come into play, including Cocoa Touch, Ionic, AVFoundation, PhoneGap, and CloudKit. Let’s delve deeper into the programming languages and iOS Layers employed in app development.

Languages employed in iOS app development:

Programming languages play a crucial role in iOS app development. They are the building blocks which helps developers to build the software which runs on Apple’s mobile devices. In the domain of iOS development, certain programming languages have been used over the years. In this section, we’ll examine the main programming languages that have had a big influence on the field of iOS app development, including HTML and Python for certain use cases:

  • Objective-C: Objective-C has long been the primary programming language for iOS development. It was originally developed by NeXT Software, which Steve Jobs co-founded, and later became Apple’s language of choice. Objective-C is known for its dynamic nature and use of Smalltalk-style messaging. While it is still in use, it has been largely superseded by Swift.
  • Swift: Swift is Apple’s own programming language, introduced in 2014. It is designed to be more modern, concise, and safe compared to Objective-C. Swift has quickly gained popularity and has become the preferred language for many iOS developers. Its readability and robust performance make it an excellent choice for building iOS apps.
  • C and C++: While not as commonly used as Objective-C or Swift, C and C++ are still relevant in iOS development. They are often used for performance-critical tasks and in situations where existing codebases are written in these languages.
  • JavaScript (for Hybrid Apps): For hybrid app development, JavaScript is a key player. Frameworks like PhoneGap and Ionic allow developers to create mobile apps using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These apps can run on both iOS and other platforms.
  • Python: Python is occasionally used for specific components or functionalities in iOS apps, often in conjunction with frameworks like Kivy. It is preferred for its simplicity and readability.
  • HTML: While not a primary language for iOS app development, HTML is essential for creating the user interface of web-based apps and hybrid apps. It is paired with CSS and JavaScript to design and structure the app’s frontend.

In summary, the choice of programming language in iOS development depends on diverse aspects such as project demands, developer’s choices, and performance limitations. 

Swift is the language of the future for iOS development, but Objective-C, C, C++, JavaScript, Python, and HTML each have their place in the rapid-evolving iOS app landscape, depending on the specific demands of the project.

Frameworks employed in iOS

Cocoa Touch is a software tool which aids to create applications for iOS that run on different Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, tvOS, Apple Watch, and iPad. This framework is built on the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture and is significantly written in Objective-C. 

Cocoa Touch offers a wide range of features, including Document picker, Handoff, App extension, Textkit, Airdrop, UIKit Dynamics, Auto Layout, multitasking, storyboards, Apple push notification service, Gesture recognizers, and local notifications.

On the other hand, the Ionic framework is specifically designed for developing hybrid mobile applications, and it is built using AngularJS, a popular web development framework.

This framework simplifies modern web development using HTML5, CSS, and SAAS. Ionic Studio is the go-to tool for handling operations in the Ionic Integrated Development Environment (IDE). It extends support to iOS 10 and Android 4.4 versions.

AV Foundation is a set of high-level services that cooperate seamlessly with Objective-C and Swift. PhoneGap is a platform for building apps using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, making it compatible with both native and hybrid apps.

CloudKit is the framework that strengthens macOS, iOS API, and web app connections to bolster the capabilities of iCloud.

List of iOS Devices

There is a range of iPhone models in the iOS ecosystem, including iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, and 11 Pro Max.

Various Versions of iOS

iOS comes with a multitude of features, including 

  • multitasking 
  • social media integration 
  • iCloud for data storage 
  • in-app purchases 
  • Game Center 
  • accelerometer for motion detection 
  • a notification center
  •  powerful APIs for app development 
  • a gyroscope for precise orientation 
  • high-performance processors 
  • GPS for location tracking 
  • Bluetooth connectivity 
  • accessibility features 
  • seamless camera integration 
  • various screen orientations 
  • maps and location services 
  • email and contact management 
  • web browsing, and 
  • messaging capabilities.

With each new iOS version, Apple introduces additional features to stay competitive and enhance user satisfaction. Exploring the previous iOS versions allows us to understand the evolution and changes in the operating system, reflecting the preferences and challenges users have encountered during its extensive journey.

In the initial iOS 1, we were introduced to key features like visual voicemail, a music app, and a multi-touch interface. As we moved on to iOS 2, new attributes included Map Apps, Microsoft Exchange support, and access to the App Store. In iOS 3, spotlight search, video recording, and the long-awaited copy-paste option stood out. iOS version 4 brought even more enhancements, introducing FaceTime, retina display, multitasking, Airplay, personal hotspot, and AirPrint.

iOS 5 took things a step further, enhancing functionality and supporting wireless operations. With iOS 5, we gained features like iCloud for seamless data synchronization, a Notification Center for alerts, iMessage for instant communication, iTunes for media access, and Wi-Fi Sync for convenient connectivity.

In the world of iOS, each version brings its own memorable features. With iOS 6, we were introduced to Apple Maps, Wallet, Photo Streams, and integration with Facebook. iOS 7 followed with standout elements like the Control Center, Multitasking, iTunes Radio, Airdrop, and Activation Lock.

iOS 8 arrived with a focus on aesthetics, offering Apple Music, Quick Type, upgraded Messages, family sharing, and Apple Pay. iOS 9 continued the trend, empowering devices with Low Power Mode, the Wallet app, News, and introducing 3D Touch for iPhone 6S and 3D design changes for the 6S Plus.

iOS 10 brought fresh elements to the table, such as the I Message App, a redesigned lock screen, and a new look for the Music App.

In iOS 11, we witnessed interface changes like the introduction of Drag and Drop, Apple Pay Cash, a revamped App Store, and modifications to the Control Center.

As we moved on to iOS 12.3.1, the focus was on bug fixes, the addition of Apple TV, and the introduction of new Animojis. This update also included a significant expansion with 300 magazines and newspapers added to Apple News Plus, along with minor design tweaks.

One of the standout features in this update was group FaceTime, which brought enhanced functionality to devices running iOS, making them faster and more efficient.

iOS 13 was officially unveiled to developers during the 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference on June 3, 2019. This version brought a series of significant improvements, including faster app update times, cutting app launch times in half, reducing app download sizes by 50%, and enhancing Face ID, making it 30% faster.

iOS 13 also introduced updates for video and photo editing, along with fresh features like an improved viewing experience for maps, a revamped reminders app, data limits for location services, and the introduction of Apple Sign-In.

How to install a new version on your iOS device:

To keep your iOS device up to date, navigate through the settings. Start by tapping “Settings,” then select “General.” After that, click on “Software Update,” and to enable automatic updates, simply tap the “Automatic Updates” option. This will help ensure your operating system is always on the latest version. 

Security Features in the iOS Operating System:

 iOS includes various security features to safeguard both your device and its data. These include

  • USB Restriction Mode,
  • automatic updates for version upgrades,
  • the Find My iPhone feature,
  • customizable lock screen options, 
  • the use of VPN for public Wi-Fi, 
  • data encryption via iTunes when connected to a computer, 
  • pre-installation privacy settings review for apps,
  • the creation of a robust numeric passcode,
  •  dual security measures such as voiceprint, 
  • fingerprint, and two types of passwords,
  • the availability of both Face ID and Touch ID for authentication, 
  • frequent password changes, and ensuring that your phone’s screen lock operates at an optimal speed. 

These features collectively enhance the security of your iOS device and its data.

What makes iOS apps a top choice for competitive businesses?

When it comes to business, iOS is the ideal platform for interacting with customers and getting a competitive advantage. Mobile app development companies offer the newest trends customized to meet the specific needs of every business. Let’s explore the array of advantages that iOS has to offer companies.

User experience:

Android users typically spend $3.79 on apps, compared to $2.01 for iOS users. This is because the better user experience on iOS makes people more willing to spend money. 

Due of its open-source nature, Android is widely used. Customer happiness is a top priority in the creation of iOS applications. The Apple brand is well-known for its exceptionally good customer service, impeccable software, and excellent hardware.

Tech-enthusiastic users:

 iOS device users are typically tech-savvy, and attracting new international customers presents a highly effective method for brand building. When expanding into international markets, iOS development becomes a pivotal factor in propelling the business forward.

Reduced development and testing time:

Compared to the Android operating system, iOS offers a more streamlined landscape with fewer device models and versions. This simplicity is advantageous for app development and testing. 

However, iOS also sets higher expectations for return on investment. Businesses seeking investment-worthy apps prioritize iOS development due to the potential for substantial revenue from iOS apps.


The foremost factor driving the choice of iOS devices is security. The iOS operating system offers robust protection against malware and viruses, making it a top choice for businesses which handle sensitive customer information. 

Specifically in the domain of financial transactions and online sales, where data security is crucial, iOS apps ensure a secure and encrypted ecosystem for users. In this digital era marked by the rise in e-commerce sales and net banking, iOS emerges as the perfect fit for businesses seeking to safeguard their operations.

iOS Competition on a global scale

Recently, Apple Inc. declared that it plans to develop research and development units in China. In the United States, China, Europe, Japan, and numerous other international regions, iOS holds a large market advantage. Of them, compared to other countries, the USA is the primary center of demand for iOS devices.

According to iOS sales data for the 2018–2019 year, Argentina is the largest market, closely followed by Australia. The difference in usage between iOS and Android in the UK is only 0.32%. Cost-conscious consumers in India choose affordability, which has led to a drop in iOS’s market share.

On top of that, the Indian government supports local assembly by permitting smartphone manufacturers to import componentry duty-free. The goal of high import taxes on cell phones is to increase domestic production of these devices.

Older iPhone models are on sale for a lot less in India, and Apple’s strategy puts profit above volume. It is argued by critics that Apple’s approach in India is more focused on volume of sales.

Comparison of iOS Vs Android

Let’s learn What are Android and iOS by comparing the fundamental aspects of iOS and Android.

Aspect Android iOS
Competition in Production Competes with iOS in the smartphone market, with Samsung as a key competitor. Competes in the smartphone market, with a focus on its own devices.
Tablets and Televisions Offers affordable tablets and TVs, providing competition for iPads and Apple TVs. iOS devices like iPads and Apple TVs tend to be pricier.
Design Philosophy Offers a PC-like design with extensive customization options. Provides a user-friendly design with a closed-source model.
Latest OS Versions Latest version is Android 10. Latest version is iOS 13.2.3.
Biometrics Supports Face recognition and fingerprint recognition. Offers Face recognition and fingerprint recognition.
File Transfer Allows file transfer via USB. Relies on iTunes for file transfer, but USB is used for some functions.
Lock Screen Lock screen varies; not mechanical. Lock screen has mechanical and non-mechanical options.
Notification Center Provides notification details. Offers details in the notification center.
Browser Support Supports a variety of browser apps. Defaults to Safari, with some options for change.
Messaging Apps Supports various messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. Supports messaging apps like Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, Discord, Skype, WhatsApp, I Message, and FaceTime.
Cloud Storage Offers Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon Photos, and Dropbox. Provides options like Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon Photos, and Dropbox.
Cloud Storage Pricing Offers 15GB free, 1TB for $10, 100GB for $2 per month. Provides 5GB free, 200GB for $3 per month, and $1 for one month.
Learning Opportunities Learning Android development offers creative opportunities. Learning iOS development opens doors to various opportunities in the industry.
Impact on Business Android contributes to the evolution of smartphones into versatile business tools. iOS development can drive innovations for powerful business and communication tools.


To sum up, iOS is a dominant force in the field of mobile operating systems, valued for its strong security, seamless user interface, and compatibility with the Apple ecosystem. Users are kept interested and satisfied by its continuous evolution; iOS 13.2.3 is the most recent version. 

iOS has a vast feature set, ranging from cloud storage to biometrics. Its influence goes beyond individual use; through creative applications, it empowers enterprises and communication. iOS is still a major and influential force in the mobile technology market.

To gain extensive knowledge on iOS and build a career path in this field, join our Android iOS Training in Chennai at Softlogic.

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