What is IOS Application?

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By Vijay Singh Khatri

Apple’s iOS is one of the most popular operating systems in the world, with an 18% market share and a combined share of 99.6% with Android. All iOS applications are distributed through Apple’s App Store ecosystem.

In June 2007 the first edition of Apple iOS was released in conjunction with the iPhone launch. However, the name iOS was not formally given to the operating system until 2008. After Apple released the Software Development Kit (SDK), the term ‘iOS’ was coined. The Apple SDK allows developers to build applications specifically for the iOS platform.

In 2019, with over 2.22 million iOS applications available, Apple’s App Store became the 2nd largest application library in the world. Although the precise number of apps may change as Apple removes low-quality applications from its App Store on a daily basis, the net app numbers have been continuously expanding over time.

In this fast-changing era, iOS applications offer the long-term potential for entrepreneurs, healthcare, fitness, education and job creation assisting individuals in effectively adapting to constant changes around. Giving iOS its due credit, this post is dedicated to understanding some of the key concepts about iOS apps.

What are iOS Applications? [Definition]

Are you aware that iOS stands for “iPhone Operating System”? It is Unix-based software that powers Apple’s smart devices such as iPhones and iPads. iOS was developed to run on limited memory, yet perform better and faster than other operating systems with the same specifications.

Software or program that’s designed and developed specifically for the iOS platform is known as an iOS application. iOS applications can run on devices that range from a 6.1-inch iPhone to a 10-inch iPad. Apple welcomes programmers to build their own iOS-based applications that can be downloaded from the App Store. They also provide sample snippets to help and encourage developers to build amazing projects.

Categories of iOS Applications

In the App Store, there are 24 categories of iOS apps. Out of these, only 3% have managed to reach the users. Let’s check out the 6 categories that have made the cut.

1. Gaming Apps

Smartphone gaming has always thrived, forcing application developers to devote more time and money to developing new gaming apps as well as mobile versions of well-known console games. Gaming apps provide a sense of accomplishment and high involvement in the process for users. A typical gaming session lasts roughly 8 minutes, yet, it’s the most lucrative category for app developers in today’s market.

Examples of the best running iOS gaming apps: Clash of clans, PUBG.

2. Business Apps

They’re also known as productivity applications, and they’re in the 2nd spot with a sizable 10% market share. Mobile devices today are capable of executing a wide range of complicated functions while on the go, like invoicing, purchasing, scheduling, emailing, and work monitoring. Business apps range from B2B to workplace and individual apps, all designed to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Examples of best running iOS business apps: Adobe Acrobat Reader, UpWork.

3. Travel Apps

The purpose of travel applications is to make traveling easier, more enjoyable, enjoyable, and informative. Such apps can turn your smartphone into a worldwide travel journal, while others can guide you through foreign landmarks using maps. Today’s tourists seem to be so tech-savvy thanks to these apps.

Examples of popular iOS travel apps: Uber, Google Earth.

4. Educational Apps

There is a lot of content in this category since it might cover a variety of mobile applications. While some apps can be educational to a certain extent but still fall outside of this category, others may be activity-based or game-based but still be instructional. It is nevertheless encouraging to know that as a culture, self-education has a high priority. Learners can learn outside of the classroom and at their own pace, thanks to such apps which offer many benefits in addition to uplifting society as a whole.

Examples of such apps: TED, Luminosity.

5. Entertainment Apps

By entertainment here we’re referring to things like streaming, chatting, looking up events, viewing videos online, and sharing pictures. This type of app offers amusement and is often related to games. They create a sense of dependency in us and keep us interested, hooked, and looking out for updates. With app creators’ creativity and talent, the market is flooded with exciting new flavors, triggering intense competition for the top spots.

Examples of highest-running iOS entertainment apps: Netflix, Spotify.

6. Lifestyles Apps

This is perhaps the broadest section in the “categories of applications” as it includes a wide range of basic human hobbies and experiences. From eCommerce to health and fitness to clothing and even more, there’s at least one lifestyle app for everyone. The development of apps like these is essential for technological advancement.

Examples of the most popular lifestyle iOS apps: Amazon, Fitbit tracker.

Distribution and Installation

Depending on which developer community you’re a member of, Apple offers three options for distributing your app:

  1. Distribute your software through iTunes Store or the App Store.
  2. Make the application available only to your firm’s personnel. This option is likely to interest enterprises and businesses. It’s a part of the Apple Developer Enterprise program.
  3. Create a package of your app that can be distributed to a small number of devices for testing.

Installation of iOS applications is quite easy. Applications are distributed by the developers through the above ways, and then they can be installed from the app store, iTunes or Apple Developer Enterprise program by simply clicking install. iOS applications can be available through free or paid versions. The OS doesn’t allow users to download applications from third-party sources, unlike Android or other operating systems.

Understanding iOS App Updates

iOS applications are updated on a regular basis by their developers and uploaded to the App Store. You can either update all apps automatically by choosing the default option or manually by choosing the individual app update option.

Keeping your application updated is very important since there can be some bugs present in the live version that users can encounter. These bugs can be fixed with the new version of the apps.

A Quick Look at the Revenue Figures for iOS Apps

iOS apps generated more than 78.2 billion dollars in the calendar year of 2020. If you’re wondering how things like iOS apps can make so much money, here are a few points that can help you understand:

  • For each paid app that users install after purchasing from the App Store, the per-sale revenue is divided among the developer (70%) and Apple (30%).
  • The advertisements shown within iOS apps are usually provided by ad management systems. Take, for example, Apple’s iAd or Google’s AdMob. Advertising platforms take a part of the revenue generated by viewing ads, with the rest going to developers and Apple.
  • IAP (in-App purchases) and subscription-based models are common ways for apps to generate revenue. An example of apps that uses this model is Netflix.

What do “jailbreaking” iOS Apps Mean?

For those who enjoy iOS but are also interested in customizing their devices, you’ll need to learn how to get root access. Getting root access allows you to download third-party applications which might otherwise not be accessible on your iOS device. It is known as “jailbreaking” an Apple OS, and it is often regarded as unethical.

Some users get tempted to take advantage of both worlds through jailbreaking their devices. Though it may sound like a lot of fun, it has its own consequences like lack of security on the iOS device, increased vulnerability to hackers, and cancellation of the warranty. As a result, your Apple device can become unstable.

It is common for iOS users to jailbreak their devices because the number of paid apps on the App Store keeps rising, while free options can often be found on other marketplaces. However, jailbreaking should only be used for development purposes since it aids during development and testing.


iOS applications and Apple’s operating system provide a unique experience to users. While iOS might not be for everyone because it is expensive (for the same price one can buy a high-performance PC and at half the price of a flagship smartphone), people prefer it because of the sense of ownership satisfaction it offers.

Most iOS applications tend to be paid ones, but free alternatives for them are available at third-party marketplaces. But, of course, iOS doesn’t allow third-party downloads, which is why some users are often tempted to jailbreak their devices.

If one has a budget and is looking for a polished, secure, and complete smart device experience, one should go for an Apple device.

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