iOS (formerly iPhone OS prior to June 2010) is Apple Inc.‘s mobile operating system. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support other Apple Inc. devices such as the iPod TouchiPad, and Apple TV. Apple does not license iOS for installation on non-Apple hardware. As of October 4, 2011, Apple’s App Store contained more than 500,000 iOS applications,which have collectively been downloaded more than 24 billion times. It had a 26% share of the smartphone operating system units sold in the last quarter of 2010, behind both Google‘s Android and Nokia‘s Symbian.In May 2010 in the USA, it accounted for 59% of mobile web data consumption (including use on both the iPod Touch and the iPad).

The user interface of iOS is based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interface control elements consist of sliders, switches, and buttons. The response to user input is immediate and provides a fluid interface. Interaction with the OS includes gestures such as swipetappinch, 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 from portrait to landscape mode).

iOS is derived from Mac OS X, with which it shares the Darwin foundation, and is therefore a Unix-like operating system.

In iOS, there are four abstraction layers: the Core OS layer, the Core Services layer, the Media layer, and the Cocoa Touch layer. The current version of the operating system (iOS 5.0.1) uses roughly 770 megabytes of the device’s storage, varying for each model.