What’s in a Name: Understanding the Definition and Basics of iOS Apps

An iOS app refers to a software application specifically designed and developed for Apple’s iOS operating system, which powers devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. With more than 2 million apps available in the App Store as of 2021, iOS apps cater to various needs and purposes, including communication, entertainment, productivity, and information retrieval. As the demand for effective and innovative solutions continues to grow, iOS apps remain a significant aspect of the IT industry and software development.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs

What is an iOS app? Definition of iOS applications

An iOS app can be defined as a digital program or software that runs on Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, using the iOS operating system. These applications are built using technologies like Swift and Objective-C programming languages, and comply with Apple’s guidelines found in the Human Interface Guidelines and App Store Review Guidelines.

How it Works

To understand how an iOS app works, it is essential to know the iOS app architecture. iOS apps follow a Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern, which separates the app’s data, user interface, and control logic into distinct components. The model represents the application’s data and business logic, the view handles the user interface and visual presentation, and the controller manages the communication between the model and the view.

Furthermore, iOS apps are built using Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE), which offers a range of powerful tools for designing, developing, and testing applications. Developers create and manage their code, user interface elements, and other necessary resources through Xcode before submitting the app to the App Store.

ā­  Defining Software Package Management: What You Need to Know

Benefits of using iOS apps

  • Simplified and user-friendly interface: iOS apps ensure a seamless and intuitive user experience, as their development follows Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines.
  • Enhanced security: Apple’s strict app review process and features like app sandboxing and data encryption ensure a secure app ecosystem on iOS devices.
  • Better performance: iOS apps are optimized for the hardware and the software of the Apple devices, offering better performance and lower battery consumption.
  • Increased revenue potential: iOS users tend to spend more on in-app purchases and premium apps, providing developers with a lucrative market.
  • Compatibility across devices: With a limited range of devices and consistent iOS updates, developers can create apps that work seamlessly across all Apple devices with minimal compatibility issues.

iOS app use cases

Communication and social networking

iOS apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram empower users to connect, communicate, and share their lives with friends and family.

Entertainment and media

Streaming applications such as Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube offer a plethora of audio and video content for users to consume on their iOS devices.

Productivity and office software

Apps like Microsoft Office, Google Drive, and Evernote enhance productivity by providing tools to manage work and personal tasks effectively.

Health and fitness

Popular iOS applications like MyFitnessPal, Headspace, and Apple Health assist users in tracking their physical and mental well-being.

Shopping and e-commerce

The convenience of mobile shopping is realized through iOS apps like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, connecting users to various products and services.

Best Practices

To maximize the benefits of using iOS apps, users must keep their devices updated with the latest versions of iOS, ensuring compatibility and enhanced performance. Additionally, managing app permissions (e.g., location, camera, or microphone access) can help protect privacy, while enabling app notifications can ensure users are aware of important updates or messages. Lastly, organizing and decluttering the app library or home screen can enhance usability and navigation, while deleting unused or redundant apps saves storage space and prevents device clutter.

ā­  Exploring Containerization: What's the Definition of runC?

Most recommended books about iOS app

1. Swift Apprentice by Ray Wenderlich Team

A beginner-friendly guide for learning Swift, the primary language for iOS app development.

2. iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide by Christian Keur and Aaron Hillegass

An all-inclusive guide to building iOS apps using Swift, with hands-on exercises and real-world examples.

3. Mastering SwiftUI by Daniela Sfregola

A comprehensive resource for learning SwiftUI, Apple’s user interface toolkit to design apps across all Apple devices.

4. iOS 14 Programming for Beginners by Ahmad Sahar

A step-by-step guide for beginners to learn iOS development using Swift and Xcode, covering fundamentals like app architecture and UI design.

5. Designing Mobile Apps

A detailed reference book on mobile app design, covering all aspects of user interface and user experience for both iOS and Android platforms.


To sum up, an iOS app is a software application developed specifically for Apple’s iOS operating system, offering numerous benefits to its users across various use cases. By understanding the underlying architecture and implementing best practices, users can make the most out of the thriving iOS app ecosystem. Furthermore, resources like the recommended books can assist those interested in learning more about iOS app development, turning a newfound curiosity into a possible profession or hobby.

Lou photo
Back in 2013, I founded Echo with the simple business idea: "Connect great tech companies around the globe with the brightest software engineers in Eastern Europe." We've employed hundreds of talents so far and keep going.
Lou photo
li-url Lou Reverchuk

IT Entrepreneur

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ready to meet and discuss your needs? Let's talk