What is iOS?

You probably keep hearing about iOS when people talk about the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and you’re not quite sure what it is.

iOS is simply what makes these devices work, which is why you might here them referred to collectively as iOS devices. An OS is an operating system and the i refers to the fact that the operating system is for these devices iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

So just what does an operating system do and particularly on one of these iOS devices. Well it is the software that controls the device and gives you all the software that comes with the device including the ability to make calls, get email, use maps, music, videos, iCloud, notifications, the App store etc etc.

So when Apple says it is giving us a new iOS like iOS 5 or iOS 6 we are getting new features and new software. It is sometimes like getting a whole new device. Quite often the software might be too sophisticated for old devices and they cannot be upgraded, partly because it might taking advantages of new hardware like a built in camera or faster processors.

New iOSs usually come out once a year and coincide with a new device like an iPhone, this year it is the iPhone 5. However, the new iOS 6 which is due out on September 19th 2012 works on older devices such as the iPhone 3gS, 4 and 4S, the iPad 2 and 3, and the iPod touch 4th generation. It’s quite simple to do, all you need to do is go to Settings, then tap on General and then tap on Software Update and choose to install it. You might find that if you are not in the USA the software will come out in the evening to coincide with when it is available in the USA.

Sometimes you get small updates to the OS and are labelled as iOS 6.0.1 or iOS6.1 depending on how much is updated. The updates are usually fixes or security updates. Some updates in the past have been to improve battery life or to plug a security hole. They can also be to add a new feature.

So what will iOS 6 give us? Well there are new maps made by Apple and not Google, these should be faster and will have turn by turn navigation, you know like how a Tom Tom talks to you. Do not disturb, that will stop you getting woken up in the middle of the night because you forgot to switch it to silent. Call rejection that allows you to reject a call and get it to send back a choice of text messages like I’ll call you back. Safari has more web pages that you can have open at one time. Panoramic camera feature.

Siri now can do more include controlling apps and for those of us outside the USA it will now find restaurants and businesses.

I like the VIP email which flags emails which are from people you have set up as VIPs, you can then also view the emails in their VIP inbox as well as usual inbox. Here is a video to show you how this works.

There’s so much to mention here and I’ve started writing the blog that will come out when iOS 6 is released, also created some videos to go with it. Yes, I have a test version.

I hope this clears up what iOS is all about. By the way, so many people try to download the new iOS on the day of release it is often recommended to wait a couple of days.


About garysch

A bit of a techno nut who likes sharing what I know about technology, especially with those who struggle with it. Also through my podcast www.jargonfreehelp.com
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