The new version of iOS, landing later this month, is bringing a host of improvements – but there’s one major change which could cause a number of older apps to stop working. In this article, we’ll explain the problem – and how to check if any of your favourite apps are under threat.
The tech press are calling it the “app-pocalypse”: changes in the next version of iOS are expected to kill off almost 200,000 older apps for good. So what’s going on?
It’s all to do with the type of processor – the main computer ‘brain’ – used in your iPhone.
Ever since the iPhone 5S, iPhones have used ‘64-bit’ processors. These are much faster than the ‘32-bit’ processors previously used, but the change did create a few headaches.
Any apps designed for 32-bit processors had to be rewritten from scratch to take advantage of the new 64-bit chips. But this is no easy task – so to make things easier on developers, Apple allowed 64-bit devices to ‘emulate’ the 32-bit functionality.
But with iOS 11, they’ve decided enough is enough. Apple will no longer support 32-bit apps at all – so if an app hasn’t been rewritten in the 64-bit format, it’ll simply stop working when the update lands.
According to research from app analytics company Sensor Tower, nearly 200,000 apps could stop working with iOS 11. So how do you know if one of your favourite apps is facing the chop?
The good news is, the vast majority of currently active apps have already been updated with 64-bit versions. According to Sensor Tower, about 92% of the roughly 2.4 million apps on the App Store have been optimised for 64-bit.
But helpfully, there’s a simple way to find out whether any of the apps you use are in the firing line:
Open the Settings app from the Home screen
Tap General, then About
Look for Applications in the list that appears. If you’ve got any 32-bit apps on your device, you’ll see an arrow on the right-hand side. Tap this, and you’ll see the apps listed. If you don’t see the arrow, then you can relax: all your apps are already 64-bit.
Sadly, not much. While some 32-bit apps might see updates before iOS 11 rolls out, the majority of them have simply been abandoned by their developers – meaning future updates are extremely unlikely.
If that includes any of your favourite apps or games, you may be tempted to hold off on the update – but we wouldn’t recommend it. Alongside the new features, iOS updates bring crucial security fixes, so it’s always a good idea to update as soon as possible.
With that in mind, the best thing you can do is simply try to find a similar replacement for your favourite 32-bit apps.
One thing you can try is tapping on the app’s name in the 32-bit app list. This will take you to that app’s page in the App Store – where you might discover a sequel or similar app listed by the same developer.
But if that doesn’t work, then unfortunately it’s the end of the line. The good news is, iOS 11 also brings some major changes to the App Store, making it easier to discover new apps – which may provide some consolation if you need to replace a much-loved 32-bit app.