Apple will start blocking your older iOS apps

Alex Kidman 3 February 2017

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32-bit apps are set for the chop in future iOS releases.

If you're a long-time iPhone owner, the chances are good that you have a reasonably large app library, even if current figures suggest that we're no longer in love with buying apps any more.

Some of those apps you may use every day and update frequently, but there are probably others than you still use occasionally but which have not been updated by their developers in a long-time. Many titles end up effectively abandoned by their developers.

As new iOS versions emerge, a lack of updates can mean individual apps behaving erratically or not working at all. Now it appears that Apple’s planned shift to an entirely 64-bit environment for app development may lead to a large group of older apps being entirely incompatible with future iOS releases.

iOS 10.3 is still in beta, but as MacRumors reports, the latest version of the beta beyond the current warning that older 32-bit apps may run slowly on your iOS device.

Instead, it rather bluntly states that "this app will not work with future versions of iOS. The developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility". Apps appear to still load under iOS 10.3 Beta, but this does signal that under a future release, most likely iOS 11, the operating system will simply refuse to load 32-bit apps at all.

I’ve got an app that already has the slow loading message. What can I do?

If you're using a newer device such as an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, you may already be getting the slowdown message for some older apps in your collection. If that's the case, as an individual user you can’t modify the app yourself for compatibility purposes.

However you’ve got little to lose contacting the app developer to see if they’re likely to update the app for 64-bit iOS compatibility. You may not have any joy in this regard, but it’s certainly worth trying. If the app is still available in the App store, there should be a support link you can click to contact each developer. If not, it's worth doing some research around the app name to determine contact details and status.

I’ve got an older iOS device that can’t even run iOS 10. Will this affect me?

Already-installed apps on older iOS devices that can’t update to the latest versions of iOS shouldn’t be affected by the change. However it’s possible that Apple may also drop iTunes downloads of those older apps, because they’re no longer compatible, so it may be wise to perform a local backup of older devices to ensure you still have access to their install files.

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