iOS Types: The 5 Key Versions of Apple’s Mobile OS (2023)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: June 2023

iOS Types: The 5 Key Versions of Apple’s Mobile OS (2023)<br />

iOS Types

Think of your favorite childhood toy. As you grew, new versions of that toy were released, each one cooler and more advanced than the last. Remember the excitement and anticipation for each new version? This is the feeling that every Apple device user gets with each new iOS version.


iOS types are the different versions of Apple’s mobile operating system, each with its own set of features, enhancements, and bug fixes designed to improve the user experience on iPhones and iPads.

Type 1 – iOS 13: Released on September 19, 2019, this version introduced features like Dark Mode, new photo editing tools, and sign in with Apple.

Type 2 – iOS 13.1: Released on September 24, 2019, as a quick follow-up to fix bugs and improve performance.

Type 3 – iOS 14: Released on September 16, 2020, this version introduced features like home screen widgets, App Clips, and the App Library.

Type 4 – iOS 14.1: Released on October 20, 2020, this version provided bug fixes and improvements including HDR video playback and editing in Photos for iPhone 8 and later.

Type 5 – iOS 14.2: Released on November 5, 2020, it added new emoji, introduced the Intercom feature for HomePod, and fixed several bugs.

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iOS Types – In-depth

iOS 13

Think of iOS 13 as the architect of a city, who, armed with a new vision and tools, revamps the whole place to make it more user-friendly, chic, and efficient. Like the architect, iOS 13 arrived on the scene, swinging its magic wand over Apple’s iPhones and iPads, and changed the game.

At the heart of this innovation was a new, eye-friendly feature: Dark Mode. This was akin to swapping out glaring, stark white light bulbs in your home for softer, more ambient lighting. Perfect for nighttime use, Dark Mode was like getting a cool pair of sunglasses for your phone. It turned the traditionally bright interface to a darker color scheme, reducing the strain on users’ eyes and saving battery life in OLED-display iPhones.

Apple also put on its interior designer hat with iOS 13, allowing users to rearrange and personalize their digital living space. The Photos app received a massive overhaul. Think of it as moving from a cluttered attic full of random pictures to a sleek, well-organized gallery. The app could now curate your photos, spotlighting your best shots, while hiding clutter and duplicates. Plus, new editing tools – like the ability to adjust vibrancy, white balance, and sharpening – put the power of a mini photography studio in users’ hands.

But iOS 13 wasn’t just about a facelift. It was like a trusted friend, too, providing users with more privacy controls. The ‘Sign in with Apple’ feature was introduced – a virtual ID card that allowed users to sign into apps and websites without having to create new accounts. The user could choose to share or hide their email, helping to keep their inbox spam-free.

And finally, iOS 13 was about speed and efficiency. Imagine upgrading your old, tired hatchback to a brand new, sporty model. Apps were now designed to launch twice as fast, with smaller download sizes. So, like swapping a slow bicycle for a high-speed train, users could now zip through tasks on their devices with unprecedented speed.

iOS 13 was a milestone, like moving to a new, improved city, with more comfort, convenience, and control than ever before. It turned iPhones and iPads from mere tools into personalized companions, attuned to each user’s unique needs and preferences. With this update, Apple demonstrated that they weren’t just designing software; they were shaping experiences.

iOS 13.1

When you think of iOS 13.1, consider it the metaphorical handyman, arriving just days after the unveiling of the city that was iOS 13. It wasn’t here to build new skyscrapers or lay down roads; instead, it came with a toolbox in hand to tighten some loose screws, fix a few cracks, and add some polish where it was needed.

If we were to look at iOS 13 as hosting a grand party, then iOS 13.1 was like the cleanup crew arriving the next day to clean the mess, fix the broken things, and essentially make the place livable again. However, it wasn’t just a janitorial service; it also brought some cool new party tricks of its own.

The hero feature of iOS 13.1 was the ability to share your ETA in Apple Maps with your contacts. Think of it as giving a friend a digital key to track your journey. It allowed you to share your progress in real time, a boon for coordinating meetings or ensuring loved ones knew when to expect you home.

Another notable improvement was to the Shortcuts app, which in the world of iOS 13.1, could be likened to a versatile Swiss Army Knife. Now, the app came with a set of automated actions called “Automations” that could be triggered based on the time of day, your location, or even your device settings. It was like a personal assistant, ready and waiting to perform tasks according to your schedule, a key player in iOS’s move towards a more automated and personalized future.

iOS 13.1 also served to give iOS 13 a new coat of polish. It resolved a number of bugs and improved general performance, like a good caretaker tending to the city’s needs. It made sure that the city’s foundations were more secure, the traffic flowed smoother, and the skyline shined brighter.

All in all, iOS 13.1 was a testament to Apple’s commitment to creating a seamless, efficient, and user-friendly environment for its users. It showed us that when it comes to Apple’s iOS, it isn’t just about grand gestures and flashy features, but also about the subtle, behind-the-scenes work that makes the overall user experience more enjoyable and reliable.

iOS 14

Picture iOS 14 as a world-class decorator, stepping into a familiar but somewhat tired room. With creativity, flair, and a touch of genius, they rearrange, introduce new pieces, and make the space not only more visually appealing, but also more functional. That’s exactly what iOS 14 did, reshaping the iOS experience with unprecedented levels of customization and control.

The biggest game changer was Home Screen Widgets. Imagine if you could, at a glance, see snippets of your favorite book, snapshots of family photos, or the latest weather update on your living room wall. Widgets brought this level of customization to the iPhone Home Screen. They gave users a snapshot of information without having to dive into the app. Like having a personal butler who tells you all the important news at a glance, these widgets added a layer of convenience and efficiency.

Then came the App Library, which was like an efficient bookshelf categorizing and placing your apps in tidy sections. This new feature automatically organized all of your apps into categories such as Social, Productivity, and Entertainment. It cleaned up app clutter and made it easier to find the app you needed, just as you’d find a book in a well-organized library.

But iOS 14 was not only about looks; it introduced a feature called App Clips. This could be compared to a movie trailer, giving you a preview or ‘clip’ of an app without having to download the full version. It was perfect for those one-time uses, such as renting a bike or paying for parking. This nifty feature helped save space and made using services faster and more seamless.

In terms of privacy, iOS 14 was like a vigilant security guard. With new privacy features, such as letting you know when apps accessed your camera, microphone, or data, iOS 14 increased transparency between apps and users.

And of course, there were plenty of subtle improvements and additions, like pinning important conversations in Messages, compact calls, and picture-in-picture video playback. Each new feature and improvement added to the sense that iOS 14 wasn’t just a decorator, but also a craftsman, carefully honing each element to improve the overall experience.

iOS 14 signified a leap forward in the iOS journey, making Apple devices more personal, intuitive, and user-friendly. It painted a picture of a future where technology adapts to us, not the other way around, with a touch of elegance and ease that is distinctly Apple.

iOS 14.1

If iOS 14 was like a blockbuster movie, iOS 14.1 was the director’s cut. Released in October 2020, it offered refinements and enhancements to the already stellar features of iOS 14, perfecting the picture just as a film director might adjust scenes for a better viewer experience.

One significant improvement was the introduction of HDR (High Dynamic Range) video playback and editing in the Photos app for iPhone 8 and later models. Think of HDR like the perfect sunglasses that can bring out vibrant colors even in bright light or expose details in shadowy areas. With this update, users could capture and tweak their videos to exhibit richer colors, better contrast, and more details. It was like having a tiny, professional editing suite in the palm of your hand.

iOS 14.1 also served as the handyman, returning once again with a toolbox in hand. Apple packed this update with fixes for numerous bugs that had been found in iOS 14. It resolved issues with files, mail, music, and more. If iOS 14 was a newly constructed building, iOS 14.1 was the inspection that ensures everything was up to code and working properly.

This update might not have come with any major new features, but it was instrumental in improving the stability of the iOS experience. It was akin to a quality control expert, meticulously checking each aspect of the product and ensuring it met the high standards we’ve come to expect from Apple.

In the grand scheme of things, iOS 14.1 reminded us that while innovation and big features are important, so too is the commitment to smooth out any wrinkles in the user experience. Apple’s dedication to these refinements and enhancements underscored the attention to detail and the user-focused design approach that has become a cornerstone of their brand identity. iOS 14.1 wasn’t just an update; it was a commitment to perfection.

iOS 14.2

Imagine iOS 14.2 as a fun, colorful artist stepping into a freshly painted room to add final touches of creativity and fun. This artist doesn’t just beautify the space; they bring joy and functionality that enhance our everyday lives.

One of the artist’s first strokes was adding over 100 new emoji to the iOS library. Just as an artist uses a palette full of different colors, these new emoji gave users even more ways to express themselves in messages, emails, notes, and more. From ninja to bubble tea, from boomerang to pinched fingers, iOS 14.2 was like adding new words to the iPhone’s vocabulary, making conversations more vibrant and expressive.

In terms of music, iOS 14.2 brought significant enhancements to the HomePod with the Intercom feature. Think of it as a fancy old house with an intercom system where you can call the kids down for dinner or announce a guest’s arrival. Intercom allowed users to use their HomePod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, or CarPlay to send and receive messages through the HomePod in their house. It was like having a personal broadcast system right at your fingertips.

iOS 14.2 also introduced Music Recognition to the Control Center. You know those moments when you hear a catchy tune on the radio or at a cafe, and you wish you knew the song title? Music Recognition was like a knowledgeable friend who could identify the song for you. By simply tapping a button, your iPhone could listen to and identify the song playing around you or even in your apps.

Additionally, the artist known as iOS 14.2 didn’t forget to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the room. It added a new aesthetic touch to the Now Playing widget in the Control Center, displaying recently played albums that you might want to tap back into. It also included several bug fixes, improving on issues related to the camera, photos, and more.

All in all, iOS 14.2 not only added fun and functional features to iOS 14 but also played a pivotal role in the user’s digital expression and day-to-day convenience. It showcased how Apple not only focuses on the technical facets but also values the joy of its users, making each iOS journey engaging and enjoyable.


Our journey through iOS’s recent history, from iOS 13 to iOS 14.2, has been akin to navigating a dynamic, ever-evolving city. Each update, like a new architect, builder, decorator, or artist, reshapes the landscape, refining our surroundings, and enhancing our everyday experience. The beauty of iOS lies not only in its innovative features but also in its commitment to user-friendliness, privacy, and a seamless interface that ties all these aspects together.

This journey through the city of iOS underscores how Apple doesn’t merely create software updates; it builds digital experiences, ensuring that each iOS device isn’t just a tool, but a companion that adapts and grows with us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

What makes iOS 14 a significant update?

iOS 14 introduced a new level of personalization to iPhones and iPads, making it a significant update. It introduced features like Home Screen Widgets and the App Library, giving users more control over how their devices look and function. Plus, features like App Clips and enhanced privacy settings added depth to the user experience, making iOS 14 a noteworthy update in the evolution of iOS.

I hear a lot about bug fixes in these updates, why are they important?

Just like maintaining a city requires constant attention to infrastructure, traffic, and safety, maintaining an operating system requires regular bug fixes. Bugs can lead to performance issues, crashes, and security vulnerabilities. When Apple resolves these bugs in updates like iOS 13.1, 14.1, and 14.2, it ensures that users have a smoother, safer, and more efficient experience.

What role do these incremental updates (like iOS 13.1, 14.1, etc.) play in the overall iOS ecosystem?

Incremental updates are like the routine check-ups and enhancements a city undergoes to remain vibrant and livable. They may introduce new features, but their primary purpose is to fix any bugs and improve existing features. This attention to detail contributes significantly to the stability and reliability of the iOS ecosystem, ensuring that the user experience continually improves.

And with that, we wrap up our journey through the evolution of iOS, a testament to Apple’s commitment to innovation, refinement, and user satisfaction.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

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