What's iOS?

iOS is a mobile operating system developed and distributed by Apple Inc. for its iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. It ranks as the second-most popular one after Android. Since its launch in 2007, the iPhone's popularity has grown rapidly. According to StatCounter, iOS accounts for 27.68% of the world's mobile OS market space, vs. Android's 71.6% as of 2022. Notably, iOS devices have a larger market share in developed countries.

Developed on a Unix foundation, this system is designed to be easy to use and highly secure. It is known for its user-friendly interface, sleek design, and a wide range of features and apps.

Each year, Apple releases upgraded editions of iOS that include enhanced features, improved performance, and security updates. iOS also provides a consistent and seamless user experience across different Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

To maintain high standards of user privacy and security, Apple's App Store has a strict app review process. It aims to ensure all apps meet quality requirements and don't contain malicious code.

Get familiar with Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines and investigate the list of iOS platform-unique design patterns in our iOS App Design lesson within the Mobile Design course.

What are the differences between iOS and Android operating systems?

  • User experience. iOS offers an intuitive and consistent user interface, while Android offers greater customization options.
  • App stores. The Newest applications usually appear on iOS App Store.
  • Hardware: iOS is only available on Apple devices, while Android can be installed on a wider range of devices from different manufacturers, including premium and budget options.
  • Security: iOS is known for its strong security, with regular software updates and a closed system that is less susceptible to malware. Android's operating system is more open and therefore more susceptible to security risks. However, in recent years, Android has improved its security.
  • Price: iOS devices tend to be more expensive than Android devices with a similar functionality. iOS devices, however, have a lower cost of ownership due to their longer lifespan and lower maintenance requirements.

What are iOS design principles?

The iOS design principles form the foundation for Apple's Human Interface Guidelines. The guide provides detailed recommendations for designing iOS apps.

iOS design principles include:

  • Clarity: the interface should be easy to understand and use.
  • Consistency: the interface should use consistent design patterns and interactions to create a recognizable and familiar experience with minimum cognitive load.
  • Adaptivity: The interface should adapt to users’ devices and their context, providing an optimal experience for different scenarios.
  • Feedback: A system should always keep users informed about what’s happening after they have completed or are about to complete a certain action.
  • Metaphors. Interface metaphors help users learn an interface more quickly by using their knowledge of the real world. For example, users understand the purpose of the folder icon on their desktop because they are familiar with the use of folders in real life.
  • User control. iOS design prevents users from making mistakes and helps them recover quickly if an error occurs. However, the system should never force users to do actions against their will.

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