In a news release, Jobs said he would like to serve as the chairman of the board, "if the Board sees fit," as well as a director and Apple employee.
Jobs recommended Tim Cook to take over the CEO position.
Jobs did not list a reason for his resignation.
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come," Jobs said in a letter to the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple community.
Apple Inc.'s board of directors subsequently announced Jobs had been elected chairman of the board.
The board also announced Tim Cook, the company's previous chief operating officer, will take over as the new CEO. Cook will also join the board, effective immediately, according to Apple.
Jobs had previously taken medical leave in January, but did not specify why. In 2009, Jobs took a six-month medical leave to have a liver transplant. Jobs took two months off in 2004 while recovering from surgery for pancreatic cancer.
Cook had served as acting CEO in each of Jobs's absences.