If you’ve had an iPhone or iPad for a few years, you may have apps that are outdated. Since 2013, Apple has been encouraging developers to update their apps to make them more advanced. When iOS 11, the next version of the iPhone operating system, is launched later this month, older apps may not work with that operating system.
Beginning with the iPhone 5s in 2013, iPhones have come with 64-bit processors. Earlier iPhones had 32-bit processors. Apple has been encouraging app developers to update their apps to 64-bit from 32-bit since the iPhone 5s was launched. In January of this year, users of 32-bit apps saw warnings when they opened their apps that the apps needed to be updated.
More recently, 32-bit apps have started showing a warning: “This app will not work with future versions of iOS.” While the warning does not specifically mention iOS 11, there’s a good chance that 32-bit apps will not work with iOS 11.
According to app intelligence firm SensorTower, about 8% of the apps in the iTunes App Store are 32-bit apps and may not work with iOS 11. That’s about 187,000 apps out of the 2.4 million apps in the App Store that will become obsolete when people update their iPhones and iPads to iOS 11.
These older 32-bit apps that haven’t been updated to 64-bit have started disappearing from the iTunes App Store so people won’t download them only to find they don’t work with a future iOS version.
But people who already have these 32-bit apps on their iPhone and iPads can still use them for now. When iOS 11 comes out, the 32-bit apps may not work if those devices are updated to iOS 11.
Apple is having an event on September 12 that will likely introduce the new iPhone and iOS 11. So we should know soon whether 32-bit apps will work with iOS 11.
How to Know If You Have Any 32-bit Apps
You may be wondering whether you have any 32-bit apps on your iPhone or iPad. There is an easy way to tell.
Go to Settings => General => About => Applications
Tap on “Applications”.
If you don’t have any apps that need updating, a new screen will not appear.
If you have any apps that are 32-bit and need updating, they will show on a new screen.
Apps that are 32-bit but can be updated will show at the top of the list.
What You Can Do If You Have 32-bit Apps on Your iPhone or iPad
You may not care if some of your older apps are 32-bit and may become incompatible with iOS 11. Maybe you haven’t used them in a while and didn’t even know that they were still on your phone. Delete them and free up space on your phone.
But you may care. A lot. In fact, some of these apps may be your favorite apps.
You have several options if you have 32-bit apps you don’t want to lose.
Make sure you have the latest version of the app
There may be an updated version of the app available that you haven’t downloaded to your phone yet. There is an easy way to check.
If the app is at the top of the list under “Update Available”, tap on the app to open it in the App Store app.
A box should say “Update”. Tap that box to update the app.
After you have updated, check Settings again to see whether the app still appears as a 32-bit app.
1. Don’t update to iOS 11
If iOS 11 does make 32-bit apps obsolete and you have 32-bit apps you care about,
you shouldn’t update to iOS 11 when it’s released.
But this isn’t a good long-term solution because iOS 11 may have features you want to use. Plus some day you’ll probably have to update to iOS 11, especially if you get a new iPhone or iPad that comes with iOS 11 or a later iOS version.
However, this may be a good short-term solution if you have a 32-bit app you really need or want. In fact, don’t update to iOS 11 until you have your apps sorted out.
2. Find an Alternative to Your Outdated 32-bit Apps
With 2.4 million apps in the App Store, iTunes may have alternative apps that you like even better than the 32-bit apps you’ve been using. With a little detective work you may be able to find a fitting substitute for your 32-bit apps.
Search for “best alternative to ____ app” to see whether someone has already investigated this for you. Check out recommendations for newer, 64-bit apps.
Also search the App Store for categories of apps to find replacement 64-bit apps.
3. Contact the Developer
Contact the developer of the 32-bit app you’ll be missing and ask for an update. If the developer gets enough requests, they may consider updating their app to 64-bit.
Or, they may suggest one of their new and improved apps in the App Store or let you know that they have an app in the works that will be available soon.
How to Contact the Developer
a. Through the App Store Some 32-bit apps are still in the App Store. In Settings, where you saw that the app was 32-bit, tap on the app to see whether it is still in the App Store.
If it isn’t, you will see a notice like this:
If it is still available, the App Store will open with the app listing. Scroll down to the Developer Website section and tap it to open up the website for the developer. Find a Contact page on the website and reach out to the developer.
Do this soon because you don’t know how long the app will still be in the App Store.
b. Search for the app in Google Play
If the app isn’t in the App Store anymore, search for the app in Google Play where it may still be available for Android devices. Find the developer’s contact information in Google Play and reach out to ask for an update to the app.
c. Search for the developer’s website
You can also search for the developer’s website and try to reach out directly.
Wonder of Tech Articles about 32-bit Apps
The Wonder of Tech has articles about many 32-bit apps that haven’t been updated, including these:
I guess I’d better get busy writing to developers!
Did you know that some apps may not work with iOS 11? Have you checked for incompatible 32-bit apps on your iPhone or iPad? Do you have any apps that are 32-bit?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!