What is the history of all iOS versions? iOS 1.0 to iOS 12 is listed below with details.


iOS is the name of the operating system which runs the iPod touch, iPhone, & iPad. It’s the core software that comes loaded on the devices to allow them to run & support other apps. The iOS is to the iPhone what Mac OS X is to Mac’s or Windows is to PCs.

Below you’ll find a history of each iOS version when it was released, & what it added to the platform.

iOS 12

Support ended: n/a
Current version: 12.0. It was released Sept. 17, 2018
Initial version: was released on September 17, 2018

The new features & improvements added in the iOS 12 aren’t as extensive or revolutionary as in some of previous updates to the OS. Instead, iOS 12 focused more on making the refinements to commonly used features & on adding wrinkles that improve how can people use their devices.

Some of the key features of the iOS 12 included improvements to Siri like Siri Shortcuts, enhanced the Augmented Reality with ARKit 2, & giving users & parents ways to monitor & control their device use with Screen Time.

Key New Features:

  • Siri improvements, including Siri Shortcuts & Multi-step actions
  • Grouped Notifications
  • Screen Time
  • Memoji, a personalized kind of Animoji
  • ARKit 2

Dropped Support For:

  • N/A

iOS 11

Support ended: n/a
Current version: 11.4. It was released on May 29, 2018
Initial version: was released on September 19, 2017

The iOS was originally developed to run on all series of the iPhone. Since then, it’s been expanded to support the iPad & iPod touch (& versions of it even power the Apple Watch & Apple TV). In the iOS 11, the emphasis shifted from the iPhone to the iPad.

Sure, the iOS 11 contains lots of improvements for the iPhone users, but its major focus is turning the iPad Pro series models into legitimate laptop replacements for many users. This is done through the series of changes designed to make the iOS running on iPad a lot more like the desktop OS (operating system). These changes include all new drag & drop support, split screen apps & multiple workspaces, a file browser app, & support for notation & handwriting with the Apple Pencil.

Key New Features:

  • Major enhancements on iPad
  • Augmented Reality
  • Air Play 2

Dropped Support For:

  • ​iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad 4
  • iPad 3

iOS 10

Support ended:  n/a
Current version: 10.3.3. It was released on July 19, 2017
Initial version: was released on Sept. 13, 2016

The ecosystem which Apple built around the iOS has long been referred to as a “walled garden” because it’s a very pleasant place to be on the inside, but it is hard to gain access to. This was reflected in the many ways Apple locked down the interface of the iOS the options it gave to all apps.

The major themes of the iOS 10 were interoperability & customization. Apps could now communicate directly with each other on a device, allowing 1 app to use some features from another without the opening second app. Siri became available to third-party apps in the new ways. There were even apps built into iMessage now.

Beyond that, users now had the new ways to customize their experiences, from (finally!) being able to delete the built-in apps to new animations & effects to punctuate their text messages.

Key New Features:

  • iMessage apps
  • Delete built-in apps

Dropped Support For:

  • ​iPhone 4S
  • 5th gen. iPod touch
  • iPad 2
  • 1st gen. iPad mini

iOS 9

Support ended:  n/a
Final version: 9.3.5. It was released on Aug. 25, 2016
Initial version: was released on Sept. 16, 2015

After a few years of the major changes to both technical foundation & the interface of the iOS, many observers began to charge that the iOS was no longer the dependable, stable, solid performer it had once been. They suggested that Apple should focus on the shoring up the foundation of the OS before adding the new features.

That’s just what the company did with the iOS 9. While it did add some new features, this release was generally aimed at the solidifying foundation of the OS for future.

Major improvements were delivered in speed & responsiveness, stability, & performance on older devices. The iOS 9 proved to be an important refocusing that laid the groundwork for the bigger improvements delivered in the iOS 10 & 11.

Key New Features:

  • Public beta program
  • Low Power Mode
  • Night Shift

Dropped Support For:

  • N/A

iOS 8

Support ended:  n/a
Final version: 8.4.1. It was released on Aug. 13, 2015
Initial version: was released on Sept. 17, 2014

More stable & consistent operation returned to the iOS in version 8.0. With the radical changes of the last 2 versions now in the past, Apple once again focused on the delivering major new features.

Among these features was its secure, contactless payment system Apple pay & with the iOS 8.4 update, the Apple Music subscription service. 

There were continued improvements to the iCloud platform, too, with the addition of the Dropbox-like iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Drive, & iCloud Music Library.

Key New Features:

  • Home Kit
  • Handoff
  • Apple Music
  • Third-party keyboards
  • Apple Pay
  • iCloud Drive
  • Family Sharing

Dropped Support For:

  • iPhone 4

iOS 7

Support ended:  2016
Final version: 7.1.2. It was released on June 30, 2014.
Initial version: It was released on Sept. 18, 2013

Like the iOS 6 & 7 was met with the substantial resistance upon its release. Unlike the iOS 6, though, the cause of unhappiness among the iOS 7 users wasn’t that things didn’t work. Rather, it was because things had changed.

After the firing of the Scott Forestall, the iOS development was overseen by the Jony Ive, Apple’s head of design, who had previously only worked on its hardware. In this version of the iOS, Jony Ive ushered in the major overhaul of the user interface, designed to make it more modern.

While the design was indeed more modern, its small, thin fonts were hard to read for some users & frequent animations caused motion sickness for the others. The design of the current iOS is derived from the changes made in the iOS 7. After Apple made improvements, & users became accustomed to the changes, complaints subsided.

Key New Features:

  • Touch ID
  • CarPlay
  • Control Center
  • AirDrop
  • Activation Lock

Dropped Support For:

  • iPhone 3GS
  • ​iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, 3rd gen. iPad2, & iPad couldn’t use all features of the iOS 7

iOS 6

Support ended:  2015
Final version: 6.1.6. It was released on Feb. 21, 2014
Initial version: was released on Sept. 19, 2012

Controversy was one of the dominant themes of the iOS 6. While this version introduced the world to Siri, which, despite being later surpassed by the competitors, was a truly revolutionary technology, problems with it also led to the major changes.

The driver of these problems was Apple’s increasing the competition with Google, whose Android smartphone platform was posing a threat to the iPhone. Google had supplied the Maps & YouTube apps pre-installed with the iPhone since 1.0. In the iOS 6, that changed.

Apple introduced its own Maps app, which was badly received due to bugs, bad directions, & problems with certain features. As part of the company’s efforts to solve the problems, Apple CEO Tim Cook asked the head of the iOS development, Scott Forestall, to make a public apology. When he refused, Cook fired him. Forestall had been involved with the iPhone since before its first model, so this was a profound change.

Key New Features:

  • Apple Maps
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Passbook (now Wallet)

Dropped Support For:

  • ​None, but iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, & iPhone 4 couldn’t use all features of the iOS 6

iOS 5

Support ended:  2014
Final version: 5.1.1. It was released on May 7, 2012
Initial version: was released on Oct. 12, 2011

Apple responded to the growing trend of wire lessness, & cloud computing, in the iOS 5, by introducing essential new features & platforms. Among those was iCloud, the ability to the activate an iPhone wirelessly (previously it had required the connection to a computer), & syncing with iTunes via Wi-Fi.

More features that are now central to the iOS experience debuted here, including Notification Center & iMessage.

With the iOS 5, Apple dropped support for the iPhone 3G, 1st gen. iPad, 2nd & 3rd gen. iPod touch.

Key New Features:

  • iMessage
  • Notification Center
  • iCloud
  • Wireless syncing and activation

Dropped Support For:

  • iPhone 3G
  • 1st gen. iPad
  • 2nd gen. iPod touch
  • 3rd gen. iPod touch

iOS 4

Support ended: 2013
Final version: 4.3.5. It was released on July 25, 2011
Initial version: was released on June 22, 2010

Many aspects of the modern iOS began to take shape in the iOS 4. Features that are now widely used debuted in the various updates to this version, including FaceTime, iBooks, multitasking, organizing apps into folders, Personal Hotspot, Air Play, & AirPrint.

Another important change introduced with the iOS 4 was the name “iOS” itself. As noted earlier, for this version the iOS name was unveiled, replacing the previously used “iPhone OS” name.

This was also the 1st version of the iOS to drop support for any the iOS devices. It was not compatible with the 1st generation iPod touch or original iPhone. Some older models that were technically compatible were not able to use all the features of this version. ​

Key New Features:

  • Multitasking
  • FaceTime
  • AirPlay
  • AirPrint
  • iBooks
  • Personal Hotspot

Dropped Support For:

  • Original iPhone
  • 1st Gen. iPod touch

iOS 3

Support ended: 2012
Final version: 3.2.2. It was released on Aug. 11, 2010
Initial version: was released on June 17, 2009

This version’s release of the iOS accompanied the debut of the iPhone 3GS. It added features including copy & paste, Spotlight search, MMS support in the Messages app, & the ability to record videos using the Camera app.

Also notable about this version of the iOS is that it was the 1st to support the iPad. The 1st generation iPad was released in the 2010, & version 3.2 of the software came with it.

Key New Features:

  • Recording Videos
  • Copy & Paste
  • Spotlight Search

Support ended: 2011​​
Final version: 2.2.1. It was released on January 27, 2009
Initial version: was released on July 11, 2008

1 year after the iPhone became a bigger hit than almost anyone projected, Apple released the iOS 2.0 (then called iPhone OS 2.0) to coincide with the release of the iPhone 3G.

The most profound change introduced in this version was the App Store & its support for native, third-party apps. Around the 500 apps were available in the App Store at launch. Hundreds of the other crucial improvements were also added.

Other important changes introduced in the 5 updates of iPhone OS 2.0 included podcast support & public transit & walking directions in Maps (both in version 2.2).

Key New Features:

  • App Store
  • Improved Maps app​

iOS 1

Support ended: 2010
Final version: 1.1.5. It was released on July 15, 2008
Initial version: was released on June 29, 2007

This version of the operating system wasn’t called the iOS at the time when it launched. From the versions 1-3, Apple referred to it as the iPhone OS. The name shifted to the iOS with version 4.

It’s hard to convey to the modern readers who have lived with the iPhone for years how profound a breakthrough this version of the operating system was. Support for features like the multitouch screen, Visual Voicemail, & iTunes integration were significant advances.

While this initial release was a major breakthrough at the time, it lacked many of the other features that would come to be closely associated with the iPhone in the future, including support for native, third-party apps. Pre-installed apps included Calendar, Camera, Photos, Notes, Safari, Mail, Phone, & iPod (which was later split into the Music and Videos apps).

Version 1.1, which was released in Sept. 2007 was the 1st version of the software compatible with the iPod touch.

Key New Features:

  • Visual Voicemail
  • Safari Browser
  • Multitouch interface
  • Music App

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