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Apple's iOS App Store now offers 'last compatible' versions of apps for older devices

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
In a change to its iOS App Store on Tuesday, Apple is now allowing users of older hardware to download and install the last compatible version of an app supported by their legacy firmware.

Compatible Apps
Source: Reddit


The new app accessibility, first spotted by a user on Reddit, allows owners of older Apple products like the iPhone 3GS or 3G to download a compatible version of an app if the most recent update does not support their device's firmware. Previously, Apple did not offer downloads for older app versions, meaning users of legacy iPhones could not install apps updated past the handset's last supported firmware, which in some cases is years old.

Under the new system, when a user attempts to install an app which no longer supports the legacy iOS running on their device, a pop-up will appear asking if they would like to download the last compatible version of the software instead. The feature extends the viable lifespan for aging iOS hardware that can't run the latest builds of Apple's mobile operating system.

With the next-generation iOS 7 slated to launch on Wednesday, developers are pushing to get their software up to date with Apple's latest mobile operating system. As software updates follow in lockstep with the latest generation of hardware advancements, it is inevitable that the newest app versions will have features incompatible with older devices.

Apple's iOS 7 will be available for download on Sept. 18, and will come be preloaded on future devices like the forthcoming iPhone 5s and 5c, both of which ship on Sept. 20.
post #2 of 31
This is an awesome feature for people who still use a 3-4 year old iphone like my mom! Now she could install another app on her non-jailbroken 3G phone which still perfectly works and could easily last her another 2 years. Also I remember a few years back when iPad 2 came out apples website bid people to donate their iPad 1 for schools in underdeveloped countries. Now those kids can install other apps as well 1smile.gif Kudos to apple for thinking about this and doing the right thing.
post #3 of 31
They really think of everything, don't they?
post #4 of 31
This is awesome! At work we just purchased 35 ipad 2's and I was concerned about future iOS updates on these devices. Now that doesn't seem to be a problem. And now my iPad 1 that I let my son use for school will also continue to be useful!

Although, because apple has now done another pro-consumer thing the stock price will take a dive again. :S)
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdylan View Post

Also I remember a few years back when iPad 2 came out apples website bid people to donate their iPad 1 for schools in underdeveloped countries.

Those schools are now also flooded with the MS Surface.
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Those schools are now also flooded with the MS Surface.

 

Getting used as a floor-tile doesn't count as being used as an educational tool.

post #7 of 31
That's pretty fantastic Apple! I'd say this has the potential to encourage people with older devices to keep/start looking for Apps again. Because mostly they'll be able to use an older version of an App instead of being pot out of luck. In the mean time they will see comments on all the App's new features that they could have if the purchased a newer device.

Hopefully the analysts will see it the way I do. I reckon its a win/win.
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Those schools are now also flooded with the MS Surface.

Getting used as a floor-tile doesn't count as being used as an educational tool.

Sorry, tried one out yesterday in some discount store, guess it has made me stupid.
post #9 of 31

That's a very cool move.. Does any Android Store have something similar to this functionality ?

There is some overhead cost I believe on the data center's to store different versions of the same app, in terms of storage space.

Some of the advantages of there data center expansion I see :)

post #10 of 31
Skype for iPhone 3G 4.x ??
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikilok View Post

That's a very cool move.. Does any Android Store have something similar to this functionality ?
There is some overhead cost I believe on the data center's to store different versions of the same app, in terms of storage space.
Some of the advantages of there data center expansion I see 1smile.gif

Not in the Google Play store itself but many devs include links to older versions in the app description page.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikilok View Post
 

Does any Android Store have something similar to this functionality ?

 

Android has multiple APKs support that allows developers to provide different APKs for different target devices (based on the API levels a.k.a Android versions, screen sizes, etc)

 
post #13 of 31
Way cool.
post #14 of 31

This is a big win.

 

This will also encourage app developers to throw in with iOS7 since it won't abandon users of prior systems.  I have a few apps in the app store and some of my users still use older iPod touches so I keep supporting back to iOS5 (or maybe 4, I don't recall off hand).  Now I'm more likely to start using newer iOS6 and 7 APIs and stop supporting the older versions.

post #15 of 31
Awesome? Not. Finally they did it! But it is great that did it at least several years late. That was a reason I switched from 3G to 3GS in one week of usage. Being so frustrated and angry that I gave 3G to my mom as soon as possible as I have found reasonable priced used 3GS.
Edited by frantisek - 9/17/13 at 1:45pm
post #16 of 31
Awesome! Thank you so much for this story!

I'm still using my iPhone 3GS, which is still a great phone. When I upgrade to a 5S this weekend I'll give my 3GS to my son. I was worried about resetting the phone first, as he may not be able to download some of the previously purchased app.

I feel much better now knowing the apps can still be downloaded even after the new version isn't supported.
post #17 of 31

This is good news, but what about apps that are updated for iOS7, yet remain compatible with earlier devices? I'm thinking of e.g. an iPhone 4 user who chooses to remain on iOS6 (for obvious reasons)… but updates their apps when updates become available.

 

It's likely that all those updated apps will be designed to look good, run best and feel right on iOS7, even though they are still compatible with iOS6.

 

This change in the app store addresses older hardware nicely. But what about older software? Given the relatively large differences between iOS6 and 7, I just wonder what sort of experience those who choose not to update to iOS7 can expect…

post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by frantisek View Post

Awesome? Not. Finally they did it! But it is great that did it at least several years late. That was a reason I switched for 3G to 3GS in one week of usage. Being so frustrated and angry that I gave 3G to my mom as soon as possible as I have found reasonable priced used 3GS.

 

Surely by now you can find a 3gs for 3,000kc (or an 8gb iPhone 4 for 5,000kc) no matter what part of the Czech Republic you're in.

post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post
 

 

Getting used as a floor-tile doesn't count as being used as an educational tool.

 

Don't forget the use it has as an addition to any percussion set.

You can click it and break it. Gives you two interesting sound modi.
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by frantisek View Post

...That was a reason I switched for 3G to 3GS in one week of usage. Being so frustrated and angry that I gave 3G to my mom as soon as possible....

 

"I love you so much, Mom, that I'm giving you a device that I find obsolete and frustrating".

 

I'm sure Mom shares your sentiment:  Awesome--not!

post #21 of 31
This doesn't work with iMovie on my 3GS. I had an earlier version on that worked. The new version still tells me I need a front facing camera.
post #22 of 31
Finally! Of course Fandroids will cry fragmentation!
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Finally! Of course Fandroids will cry fragmentation!

Actually this resolves what very little fragmentation iOS has.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Apple's iOS 7 will be available for download on Sept. 18, and will come be preloaded ...

Will come be... Uh huh. Proof reading your edits helps.
post #25 of 31
About time they did this, otherwise it would just have been a matter of time until someone filed a class action law suit on this matter.
I was always annoyed Greenpeace didn't pick up on this, because the old policy sent lots of working devices to the landfill.
The beauty is; there is the really cheap iPhone: the trickle down of used phones, and because Apple devices are a quality product, there's no punishment typing this on a several year old iPhone 4 that still works perfectly well.
Now if only they updated some of the older iOS versions enough to work with iCloud instead of the now defunct mobileMe, you'd have millions of additional Apple users, and many an iPhone laying dormant in a drawer would find a use for kids, secondary travel phone or could be donated to low income people all over.

Very good news, indeed; guess better late than never.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by drfrot View Post
 

This is good news, but what about apps that are updated for iOS7, yet remain compatible with earlier devices? I'm thinking of e.g. an iPhone 4 user who chooses to remain on iOS6 (for obvious reasons)… but updates their apps when updates become available.

 

It's likely that all those updated apps will be designed to look good, run best and feel right on iOS7, even though they are still compatible with iOS6.

 

This change in the app store addresses older hardware nicely. But what about older software? Given the relatively large differences between iOS6 and 7, I just wonder what sort of experience those who choose not to update to iOS7 can expect…

 

It depends on the developer.

 

It is possible to support the app so it looks like a iOS6 app on iOS6 and an iOS7 app on iOS7.  It's also possible to add whiz bang new features to your app using the latest and greated iOS7 APIs, but make sure that the app still works great on older versions that don't have those APIs.  Some of this stuff is easy, some is difficult/complex.

 

When the developer posts an app to the App Store he makes a choice about which iOS versions to support.  If you support olderversions, it is more work to do the compatibility test (and implement version-specific fixes where necessary).  On the other hand, you can just mark your app as requiring iOS7 and no one with an older version will see it.  This new, welcome change is a compromise.  You can be more aggressive in supporting only iOS7 without completely leaving your prior customers with older devices in the dust.  Now they will still be able to download the older iOS6 compatible version.

post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post
 

 

Surely by now you can find a 3gs for 3,000kc (or an 8gb iPhone 4 for 5,000kc) no matter what part of the Czech Republic you're in.

Sure, that was exactly what I did even for that price. It was in December 2012.

 

But main point was that I could not understand how such big company could produce so lame App Store several years after its launch. Not talking about search capabilities.

PS: Zdravim :-)

post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikilok View Post

That's a very cool move.. Does any Android Store have something similar to this functionality ?
There is some overhead cost I believe on the data center's to store different versions of the same app, in terms of storage space.
Some of the advantages of there data center expansion I see 1smile.gif
Most devices still use 2 year old OS so app compatibility will either be most people's problems or reverse (so basically if you run android 1.0 you can run any software since its all outdated

This seems like potential for iPod touch 4 and the still saleing iPad 2 that obviously don't need to be ripped but the iPhone 4 not.
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Sorry, tried one out yesterday in some discount store, guess it has made me stupid.

 

Not necessarily.

 

A friend and I got caught in a zombie apocalypse the other day and, when we ran into a building for protection, we used Surfaces to board up the windows.

 

Zombies, it appears, are attracted to windows...

post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Sorry, tried one out yesterday in some discount store, guess it has made me stupid.

Not necessarily.

A friend and I got caught in a zombie apocalypse the other day and, when we ran into a building for protection, we used Surfaces to board up the windows.

Which map app were you using¿

[quoteZombies, it appears, are attracted to windows...
[/quote]

Brilliant!
post #31 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post
 

 

"I love you so much, Mom, that I'm giving you a device that I find obsolete and frustrating".

 

I'm sure Mom shares your sentiment:  Awesome--not!

:-) Interesting point of view. But for her it is still something like toy from 22th century. ;-)

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