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This iOS 16 vs iOS 2 icon comparison video is the nostalgia trip you need in your eye holes

iPhone and iPad home screens
iPhone and iPad home screens (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A new YouTube video compares iPhone OS 2 icons with those from iOS 16.
  • Some icons have increased in resolution while others have changed completely.
  • iPhone OS 2 was released in 2008.

Apple announced iOS 16 during its WWDC22 opening keynote earlier this week and it is the most modern-looking operating system it has ever shipped. But how does it stack up to one of the oldest iOS releases? A release so old that it wasn't called iOS, but rather iPhone OS?

As you might imagine, it stacks up very well indeed. In fact, this new comparison video comparing iOS 16 and iPhone OS 2 icons just highlights how low-resolution the old operating system was. Right out the gate, the example of the old and new App Store icons is striking — and it continues from there.

It isn't just the resolution, either. The video shows us the oft-forgotten OG Calculator icon, while the old Camera app is arguably still better than the one we have to tap on modern iPhones and iPads. Watch the video and prepare to feel all nostalgic for a few pixels on a screen. Some of those old icons are that good — definitely some of the best iPhone icons we've had to date.

Apple's iPhone OS 2 originally powered the OG iPhone and iPhone 3G as well as the first couple of iPod touches, long before Apple built the massive iPhone, iPad, and services businesses that we know today. It was also an update that iPod touch owners had to pay for — a $9.99 fee that was mandatory under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. iPhone owners got the upgrade for free, however. Fun times!

It was a big update, too! iPhone OS 2 brought us the App Store, allowing iPhone owners to install third-party apps for the first time. It also, believe it or not, added support for taking screenshots and geotagging of photos. Those used to more recent iPhones don't know how we had to live back in 2008!

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

1 Comment
  • When I look at the video I ask myself: why the heck do we have these crappy icons of today? Let alone how good these old icons could look with an updated resolution! Hey Apple, vintage is just hot - why not bringing back vintage icons?! P.S.: I even have a dream ... in a far distant future iOS devices might have enough memory to hold even a few sets of different icons and Apple programmers might have learned how to swap them. And ... I hardly dare to say it ... users would have A CHOICE ... right to their liking! Well, as I said, it is a dream ...