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Someone just turned iOS 4 into an iPhone app – and we need it now

iOS 4
Skeuomorphism is back, baby (Image credit: Apple)

Thought this week was all about iOS 15? Us too – but it seems another 'new' iOS release has just been announced. And it's called, erm, iOS 4. Yep, the decade old iPhone software has been resurrected – and it's a beautifully nostalgic throwback to simpler times.

OldOS is a faithful recreation of iOS 4, made by eighteen year-old developer Zane. The fully functional mod was built in SwiftUI, and is designed to be as close to "pixel perfect" as possible. It even adds a virtual home button, since the real thing is missing from most camera phones these days.

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Before today's world of flat design, Apple was all about Skeuomorphism – and there's something delightfully retro about the detailed, 3D designs and animations in iOS 4. From the yellow Post-It vibe of Notes to that TV-themed YouTube logo, it's amazing how different Apple's software used to look.

OldOS

The app even adds a virtual home button to your modern, all-screen iPhone (Image credit: Zane)

Also amazing is how well OldOS functions. Being built on Apple's own developer platform, it's an impressively smooth interface – although a couple of apps don't function. Zane is working to fix "some major issues with YouTube and Messages".

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OldOS is available through Apple's app testing site TestFlight (opens in new tab) – but right now, it's exceeded its maximum beta downloads. The full source code for OldOS is also on GitHub (opens in new tab), if you're feeling, er, developery.

While we weren't blown away by Apple's iOS 15 reveal this week, there were some exciting gems to be found in the WWDC announcement – not least the software's compatibility with older phones. That said, perhaps more impressive than iOS 15 on an iPhone 6S is iOS 4 on an iPhone 12. Want to experience 11 year-old software on a 0 year-old phone? Check out today's best iPhone 12 deals below.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).