Someone rebuilt iOS 4 from scratch as an iPhone app
This Monday we saw the future of Apple’s various operating systems at WWDC 2021, including an overview of iOS 15. The next big iOS software update won’t be ready until this fall, but we’ve been shown some of the most important new features coming in the update, such as spatial audio and Portrait mode for FaceTime, the new SharePlay feature for watching TV shows and movies with friends, revised notifications, Focus, Live Text, and more.
The future is exciting, but sometimes it’s just as fun to step back and explore the past. To that end, 18-year-old developer Zane has rebuilt iOS 4 into an iPhone app called OldOS which he says is “designed to be as close to pixel perfect as possible.” Everything you remember about the old-fashioned operating system was recreated from the ground up using SwiftUI.
iOS 4 was originally announced at WWDC 2010 on June 7 and launched 14 days later. It was the first version of Apple’s mobile operating system with the iOS branding – the first three versions had been dubbed iPhone OS. This was the update that brought folders to the Home screen, increasing the number of possible apps from 180 to 2,160, as well as multitasking, which meant iPhone users could finally switch between applications by double clicking on the Home button.
Zane clearly wants OldOS to be more than just a gadget, and he goes so far as to claim that the app may even be “usable as a second operating system.” Many of the most important tasks you could do on iOS 14 are also possible with OldOS, from browsing the internet to viewing your photos to taking notes. The only real difference is that the apps are all over ten years old.
Of course, OldOS is not iOS 4 and some features are missing. For example, you can’t actually create folders, which was one of the defining features of iOS 4 (not that you needed it). You will also be redirected to the Modern App Store if you try to download an app, and according to The edge, there are “major issues with YouTube” and posts that Zane wants to fix.
If you want to jump into this Apple-themed time machine in 2010, there’s a beta on TestFlight that you can download. Unfortunately, there is also a 10,000 user cap on TestFlight apps that OldOS has already hit, so you’re out of luck right now. Zane said in a tweet Thursday morning that the “first step will be to get an IPA on the Github”. Speaking of which, Zane has downloaded the entire project on Github, so if you are able to compile it in Xcode, you can get the app yourself without having to go through TestFlight.
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To see the original version of this article on BGR.com