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

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    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 :) Kudos to apple for thinking about this and doing the right thing.
  • Reply 2 of 33
    They really think of everything, don't they?
  • Reply 3 of 33
    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)
  • Reply 4 of 33
    bobdylan wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 33
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    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.

  • Reply 6 of 33
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    gtr wrote: »
    philboogie wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 33

    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 :)

  • Reply 9 of 33
    Skype for iPhone 3G 4.x ??
  • Reply 10 of 33
    nikilok wrote: »
    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 :)

    Not in the Google Play store itself but many devs include links to older versions in the app description page.
  • Reply 11 of 33
    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)

     




  • Reply 12 of 33
    nchianchia Posts: 123member
    Way cool.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    philboogie wrote: »
    Those schools are now also flooded with the MS Surface.

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


    I saw the new Suface/ iPad bashing Siri ad last night on TV.
    It was actually very funny.
  • Reply 14 of 33
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 33
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 33
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 33

    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…

  • Reply 18 of 33
    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.

  • Reply 19 of 33
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    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!

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