If you’re a seasoned Apple product user, you’ve certainly come across the term ‘iOS’ before. iOS is the mobile Apple Operating system. It’s to your phone what MacOS or OSX is to your Macbook, and what Windows 10 is to your Windows desktop. Whether it be in the form of pesky prompts on your phone urging you to update, or listed under the device requirements for the newest Angry Birds game, the term ‘iOS’ is everywhere, and it’s surprising how many people have no idea about what’s under the hood of their device. iOS is basically the engine of your phone; it makes the whole thing run. All your apps, preferences, and any utility you get out of your phone all rests atop the structure of your iPhone’s iOS.
What does iOS even mean? What is an operating system?
iOS, or iPhone Operating System, is the version of software that your phone is programmed with. iOS determines how everything from the biometric thumbprint scanner to a Facebook message from your great Aunt Susie will work on your phone. Don’t let that scare you, though. Checking which iOS version you’re currently running is very simple to do, and knowing how to check your current software version is just one of the first steps in Apple-savviness that we must achieve before the Apple Car is bestowed upon us at last.
But what does it matter to the average iPhone or iPad user? You should be familiar with what iOS you’re currently running, as this knowledge is especially useful when it comes to troubleshooting possible software issues in the phone, and solutions may be limited specifically to an older (or newer) iteration of iOS. Therefore, your solution guide may be a total waste of time if you’re just guesstimating.
Knowing what iOS version you’re using is also useful when it comes to downloading apps, as some apps need to be compatible with current software updates. If not for the glorious multitude of useful apps and never-ending bank of knowledge and information right at our fingertips, our iPhones are just really expensive paperweights anyway.
How to check your iOS version
- First, you’ll need to locate your settings app from your home screen.
- Once in settings, in the third grouping of options you’ll see ‘General’.
- Tap that, and your iPhone screen will bring you to another set of options. The first one, ‘About’, is where you want to go next.
- Here, you’ll find a whole slew of useful and good-to-know information about your phone.
- Eight lines under ‘Name’, you’ll see ‘Version’ and then a set of numbers to the right of it. There you have it, your iOS version. I told you it was easy.
You can also check your iOS version by plugging your phone into your computer with it’s charging wire, and selecting your device on iTunes. From there, click the ‘Summary’ tab and the same information as previously mentioned will be displayed on your computer screen. Both ways are very quick, and very easy.
Both methods tell me that my software version is currently 9.3.2, the latest update. Your number may be different than mine, as Apple may have released smaller updates since this article was written or posted. Don’t panic! If you’re concerned that you may not be on the latest version, it’s easy to check and to update if needed.
Go back to the settings app, tap ‘General’ again, and instead of going to ‘About’, tap the tab below that that says ‘Software Update’. Your phone will check itself and let you know if there is anything newer it can update to. Does this mean the phone is self-aware? Let’s leave those questions for Elon Musk and his artificial intelligence ideas. Definitely don’t try asking the current Siri.
iOS breakdown and what’s next for Apple
As you’ve now noticed, your iOS version comes in a series of three numbers. As I’ve said, my software version is currently 9.3.2. The 9 is representative of the generation of the operating system, while the 3 is indicative of the version of general improvements and stability, and the final number, 2, is the update that includes bug fixes for the previous two numbers. A generational update is rare, so most of the updates are going to be for general improvement or bug fixes and relatively minor changes. You may not even notice a difference on your phone, but new updates are important for the health and overall security of your phone, almost as much as proper external care.
Major updates, or generational updates, usually come every year and in sync with new iPhone releases. With the iPhone 6S’ release date in September, 2015, we were introduced to iOS 9. Right on its regular schedule, Apple is touting the mysterious iPhone 7 in front of our faces that will bring iOS 10 into fruition in September. With iOS 10 being presented last week at WWDC , Apple has finally be released its new major update into beta for app developers to get it ready for our fingertips this autumn.