iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that presently powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone, and iPod Touch; it also powered the iPad prior to the introduction of iPadOS in 2019. It is the second most popular mobile operating system globally after Android. It is the basis for other operating systems made by Apple Inc, like iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
Originally unveiled in 2007 for the first-generation iPhone, iOS has since been extended to support other Apple devices such as the iPod Touch (September 2007) and the iPad (January 2010). As of March 2018, Apple's App Store contains more than 2.1 million iOS applications, 1 million of which are native for iPads. These mobile apps have collectively been downloaded more than 130 billion times.
The iOS user interface is based upon direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interface control elements consist of sliders, switches, and buttons. Interaction with the OS includes gestures such as swipe, tap, pinch, and reverse pinch, all of which have specific definitions within the context of the iOS operating system and its multi-touch interface. Internal accelerometers are used by some applications to respond to shaking the device (one common result is the undo command) or rotating it in three dimensions (one common result is switching between portrait and landscape mode). Apple has been significantly praised for incorporating thorough accessibility functions into iOS, enabling users with vision and hearing disabilities to properly use its products.
Major versions of iOS are released annually. On all recent iOS devices, iOS regularly checks on the availability of an update, and if one is available, will prompt the user to permit its automatic installation. The current version, iOS 13 was released to the public on September 19, 2019, introducing user interface tweaks and a dark mode, along with features such as a redesigned Reminders app, a swipe keyboard, and an enhanced Photos app. iOS 13 does not support devices with less than 2 GB of RAM, including the iPhone 5s, iPod Touch (6th generation), and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which still make up over 10% of all iOS devices. iOS 13 is exclusively for the iPhone and iPod touch as the iPad variant is now called iPadOS.
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