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article imageYour older apps might not work on iOS 11

By James Walker     Jun 7, 2017 in Technology
Apple's upcoming iOS 11 update adds several new features to improve your iPhone and enable new experiences. However, the release has another major change that could stop some of your apps from working. It's because Apple is abandoning 32-bit apps.
The change has been rumoured repetitively over the past few months. Apple confirmed the move with the announcement of its new-look App Store at WWDC this week. Set to be introduced with iOS 11 in the fall, the completely revised Store will drop support for 32-bit apps.
Apple first began to switch iOS to 64-bit operation when it launched the iPhone 5s in 2013. It debuted a 64-bit processor on iOS. 64-bit devices can access much more memory than 32-bit ones. Because they can handle more data at once, they are more efficient and can operate more quickly.
Apple has been using 64-bit chips in its products for years. It has previously retained backwards compatibility with 32-bit apps created for the iPhone 5 and earlier. These apps won't be supported on iOS 11. The App Store will stop displaying them in search results and they will be blocked from downloading if you have them in your library or Purchased section.
It's expected that only a very small portion of the apps in the Store will be affected. Typically, only older and abandoned products will be impacted. In these instances, very low numbers of users should notice an issue. Every app that has been updated since 2015 will continue to work without a problem since these all include 64-bit support. Apple made 64-bit compatibility mandatory in June 2015.
The BBC reports that there are several popular apps that are still 32-bit only though. These include some popular educational tools from brands including Fisher Price and WeeWorld. Unless the developers update their legacy products, they will stop working when teachers, parents and students install the iOS update.
Apple has given app makers and users years of warning to prepare for the change. However, it looks as though there'll still be some last minute efforts to update apps. Products that have been abandoned entirely or left unsupported by their developer could never be updated.
Since last year's iOS 10 update, Apple has informed users about the deprecation of 32-bit apps when an affected product is launched. A pop-up message informs you that using the app could reduce the performance of iOS because it cannot run in 64-bit mode. Going forward, any attempt to open a 32-bit app will be blocked. The message will state that the developer needs to update their app first.
You can check to see if you have any 32-bit apps installed by going to the Settings app, tapping "About" and going to the "Applications" section. Under "App Compatibility," you'll see a list of apps that won't be supported in iOS 11. If it's a product you rely on regularly, you could try contacting the developer to make sure they're planning a 64-bit version.
Apple has also announced it's commencing the first stage of full 64-bit migration for macOS desktop systems. It said that all new apps submitted to the Mac app store from June next year will be required to support 64-bit operation. Assuming the company uses the same timeline that it has with iOS, this could see it block 32-bit apps from the Store entirely in 2020. Apple hasn't said whether this will be the case.
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