Answered: What Does the “i” in iPhone Stand For?

What to Know

  • The “i” in iPhone comes from the iMac, which was the first Apple device to use the “i” name.
  • The “i” actually stands for five different things, which Steve Jobs hoped to accomplish with the iMac.

Apple released its first smartphone in 2007. They called it the iPhone, following a similar naming scheme as the iPod and iMac before it. Now, Apple uses many products and services with “i” in the name, like iPad, iMac, iPhone, iCloud, and iOS. But why does Apple like to add an “i” to the names of its products? Let’s find out!

What Does the “i” in iPhone Mean?

iPhone 15 & iPhone 15 Plus image from

To discern what the “i” in iPhone means, we have to go back a little further in history than the iPhone. The first i-device that Apple released was the iMac. Revealed in 1998, Steve Jobs wanted the iMac to be a computer that could be used in offices, at home, and in schools. He said Apple chose the name first and foremost to mean “internet,” since it was the first Mac to allow for simple and quick connection to the internet.

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In addition, Jobs also said that the iMac was perfect for individual, personal use. Apple also wanted the iMac in schools, so that teachers could use it for instruction and for students to find information. Lastly, Jobs said he hoped the iMac would inspire people.

So, what does the “i” in iPhone stand for? Well, considering the iPhone follows the same naming convention as the iMac, the “i” stands for internet, individual, instruct, inform, and inspire. To learn more about the iPhone, check out our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

Now, you know what the “i” in iPhone stands for. If you’re also wondering what the “i” in iOS means, we can assume it also stands for the same five objectives as the iMac. I think it’s safe to say the iPhone continues to fulfill those five objectives that Steve Jobs laid out back in 1998. Next, read through the history of every iPhone from the very first model to the latest.

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Author Details

Rhett Intriago's picture

Author Details

Rhett Intriago

Rhett Intriago is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, offering his expertise in all things iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. He enjoys writing on topics related to maintaining privacy in a digital world, as well as iPhone security. He’s been a tech enthusiast all his life, with experiences ranging from jailbreaking his iPhone to building his own gaming PC.

Despite his disdain for the beach, Rhett is based in Florida. In his free time, he enjoys playing the latest games, spoiling his cats, or discovering new places with his wife, Kyla.