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PSA | Legacy 32-bit iOS apps will fail to run on iOS 11

Legacy 32-bit apps will fail to launch on iOS 11. (Source: MacRumors)
Legacy 32-bit apps will fail to launch on iOS 11. (Source: MacRumors)
The iOS 11 update is just around the corner for compatible Apple devices. Users of legacy 32-bit apps need to be aware of the fact that iOS 11 will not allow execution of 32-bit apps unless they have been updated by the developer to support the 64-bit architecture. Going forward iOS, and eventually macOS, will support only 64-bit applications.
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iOS 11 is all set to hit compatible Apple devices and now is a good time to ensure that all your installed apps are compatible with the latest OS. Starting from iOS 11, Apple allows running only 64-bit apps. The OS update itself is only available for devices that sport 64-bit chips such as the Apple A7 SoC or higher, starting with the iPhone 5S. Legacy apps that are still 32-bit need to be updated by the developer before you can use them. The update will not, however, uninstall incompatible apps automatically.

Apple started warning users from iOS 10.3 onwards about the imminent transition to 64-bit. In iOS 11, users who try to launch 32-bit apps will be greeted with a message that the app needs to be updated. It's a good idea to check app compatibility before updating to iOS 11 just to ensure that all currently installed apps will work fine. You can check apps that are not compatible with the new update by going to Settings > General > About > Applications. Any apps that show up in the list cannot be launched after updating the device to iOS 11.

Although many popular apps have made the transition to 64-bit, some classic apps still linger on to 32-bit code (Flappy Bird, anyone?). If you rely on any of the 200,000-odd legacy apps that are still on the iTunes Store, you should probably hold off updating your device. However, it is still not clear whether these apps would be eventually removed from the iTunes Store by Apple.

iOS is not the only harbinger of change in the Apple ecosystem, though. Starting January 2018, even the Mac App Store will start accepting only 64-bit apps with macOS High Sierra being the last OS update to fully support 32-bit applications. Although change can sometimes be disruptive, this development does make some sense from Apple's perspective. For one, the company need not maintain two independent libraries for 32-bit and 64-bit apps. It also forces developers to embrace modern standards and better streamline their code. Although the percentage of impacted apps is on the lower side, ultimately, it is up to the app developers to make their apps compliant with Apple's latest and greatest. 

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1355 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 09 > Legacy 32-bit iOS apps will fail to run on iOS 11
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2017-09-19 (Update: 2017-09-19)