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Apple to make 32-bit apps obsolete with iOS 11; nearly 200,000 apps expected to be impacted

Will developers update the old apps before the iOS 11 update?

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We are roughly two months away from Apple’s WWDC 2017 where the company will be unveiling the next iteration of iOS. iOS 11 is expected to bring a slew of new features and improvements. The next version, however, is also going to have a big impact on Apple’s App Stores that could see the evaporation of approximately 187,000 apps.

But it may not be a bad thing as it may sound right now. The apps that are reportedly going to be impacted are the older 32-bit versions that run on the older iPhones (prior to iPhone 5S). It may be recalled that Apple had embraced 64-bit processors with the Apple iPhone 5S. While Apple has been encouraging developers to make apps compatible with newer processors, it continues to support the older 32-bit software. That said, Apple did warn users that 32-bit apps ‘may slow down your iPhone’.

Starting February 1, 2015, Apple introduced guidelines for app submission that said it would reject 32-bit-only app updates as of June 1, 2015. With beta versions of iOS this year, Apple has now been more direct in its alerts that say, “this app will not work with future versions of iOS.” The alert clearly indicates what holds for developers with the next major update to iOS.  ALSO READ: Apple iOS 10.3.1 update released with bug fixes, improved iPhone, iPad security

According to Sensor Tower, which first published a detailed analysis on the matter, banning 32-bit apps will see the culmination of approximately 187,000 or about eight percent of the roughly 2.4 million apps on the App Store worldwide. This is the number of apps that haven’t been upgraded to 64-bit format.

The move will mostly impact gaming apps on iOS. According to the blog, 32-bits gaming apps accounted for approximately 38,600 of the approximately 187,000 apps.  Other categories primarily impacted are Education (10.6 percent), Entertainment (7.6 percent) and Lifestyle (6.9 percent). ALSO READ: Apple to reveal iOS 11, Mac OS X 10.13, Watch OS 4 on June 5 at WWDC 2017

While users may no longer be able to use these 32-bit apps, the onus is now on the developers to move these apps to 64-bit. Just last month, Smule updated Ocarina, a music app, to make the app compatible with the 64-bit format. That being said, it’s not the first time Apple has purged obsolete apps on its App Store. The Sensor Tower report further highlights that about 16 percent of apps on the store had not been updated in more than three years. Back in October last year, Apple removed about 47,000 apps from the store.

  • Published Date: April 11, 2017 10:49 AM IST
  • Updated Date: April 11, 2017 12:02 PM IST