Apple seemingly ends support for 32-bit devices with iOS 10.3.2

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2017
With the release of iOS 10.3.2 beta, Apple is not offering iTunes restore images for 32-bit devices like the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad, suggesting the forthcoming point update will mark a watershed for iOS.




As seen in the screenshot above, taken from Apple's developer downloads webpage, the latest iOS 10.3.2 beta version issued on Tuesday only contains restore images for 64-bit devices. While not a definitive signal that 32-bit devices are on their way out, the lack of such assets suggests Apple is dropping support for older hardware architectures.

As noted by The Apple Post, Apple is not providing restore images for iPhone 5, iPhone 5c or the fourth-gen iPad, all of which were supported by yesterday's iOS 10.3 release. The iPhone 5, 5c and iPad 4 each use a variant of the A6 system-on-chip, the last of Apple's mobile processors built on a 32-bit architecture.

The launch of Apple's A7 SoC with iPhone 5s in 2013 marked the beginning of the end for 32-bit hardware, and consequently 32-bit apps. A year after iPhone 5s debuted, Apple alerted developers of a new App Store policy that required app updates to include 64-bit versions as of June 2015.

Apple continues its push toward an all 64-bit future and last year began warning iOS 10 users that 32-bit apps might negatively impact system performance. More recently, users attempting to open 32-bit software in iOS 10.3 are met with the message, "This app will not work with future versions of iOS," a clear indication that legacy apps are on their way out.

Whether Apple intends to cut off support for 32-bit hardware with the forthcoming iOS 10.3.2 update remains unknown. Since the firmware is still in beta testing, Apple could opt to build in support at a later date.

Anecdotally, it would be a peculiar move for Apple to draw the line and end 32-bit device support with what is considered to be a minor point update. Such an announcement is more likely to take place at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, where Apple is expected to detail iOS 11.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 424member
    I am not an Apple developer and have the iPad 4.  Is there any way I can get the restore image for the iPad 4?

    Thank you.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    macseeker said:
    I am not an Apple developer and have the iPad 4.  Is there any way I can get the restore image for the iPad 4?

    Thank you.
    You can get restore images by plugging your iPad into a Mac/Win PC and launching iTunes.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    dempsondempson Posts: 49member
    The iOS 10.3 updates for 32-bit devices (iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPad 4) have also been pulled from distribution via Software Update, but when I checked a few hours ago those devices were still able to install iOS 10.3 via iTunes.

    This looks like a temporary withdrawal of iOS 10.3 for a bug fix specific to 32-bit devices, rather than discontinuing support for those devices. The 10.3.2 developer beta is missing those images because the bug was discovered before the beta was released, the bug also affects that build, and Apple chose to exclude 32-bit devices from the first beta to avoid wasting everyone's time with pointless bug reports.

    I expect the notably skipped iOS 10.3.1 will be released soon as a bug fix, will be available via Software Update for 32-bit devices, and the next 10.3.2 developer beta will include images for 32-bit devices.

    Edit: Apple could also release an updated 10.3 for the affected devices, holding back 10.3.1 for something else, such as an as-yet-unannounced product.
    edited March 2017 blkhawk105palomine[Deleted User]chialongpathapplesnorangescornchip
  • Reply 4 of 18
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 424member
    Soli said:
    macseeker said:
    I am not an Apple developer and have the iPad 4.  Is there any way I can get the restore image for the iPad 4?

    Thank you.
    You can get restore images by plugging your iPad into a Mac/Win PC and launching iTunes.
    Thank you.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,389member
    I doubt this "temporary" withdrawal will survive into the final 10.3.2, unless Apple's support line operators are lonely and desperate for screaming phone calls. I suspect it is a warning shot, though, and that come June we will be told that iOS 11 (whenever that comes out, generally in September) will not support such devices. In the short term, this means very little to end-users: if iOS 11 doesn't support their device, they'll just carry on using iOS 10 for a while longer. It's not like apps will instantly become obsolete. What does disappoint me is the large number of developers who appear to be abandoning their old apps. Maybe they'll update them, but there's quite a few I still enjoy playing or use and would hate to see them disappear outright. Of course, I'd also hate to see them just replace those old apps with new ones that you pay for again, but given the low price of iOS apps generally I'd pony up for the ones that were worth it to me.
    longpathbaconstangapplesnorangeswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    chasm said:
    I doubt this "temporary" withdrawal will survive into the final 10.3.2, unless Apple's support line operators are lonely and desperate for screaming phone calls. I suspect it is a warning shot, though, and that come June we will be told that iOS 11 (whenever that comes out, generally in September) will not support such devices. In the short term, this means very little to end-users: if iOS 11 doesn't support their device, they'll just carry on using iOS 10 for a while longer. It's not like apps will instantly become obsolete. What does disappoint me is the large number of developers who appear to be abandoning their old apps. Maybe they'll update them, but there's quite a few I still enjoy playing or use and would hate to see them disappear outright. Of course, I'd also hate to see them just replace those old apps with new ones that you pay for again, but given the low price of iOS apps generally I'd pony up for the ones that were worth it to me.
    I generally agree with developers taking a new (paid for) version out if it has massive changes. Someone has to pay for that work. However, it often is a bit Sketchy... especially with some apps over 60 bucks...
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    citrusuicitrusui Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    dempson said:
    This looks like a temporary withdrawal of iOS 10.3 for a bug fix specific to 32-bit devices, rather than discontinuing support for those devices. The 10.3.2 developer beta is missing those images because the bug was discovered before the beta was released, the bug also affects that build, and Apple chose to exclude 32-bit devices from the first beta to avoid wasting everyone's time with pointless bug reports.
    Additionally, 32-bit devices (iPad 4, iPhone 5, etc.) aren't receiving any updates with the iOS Beta configuration profile. (http://mesu.apple.com/assets/iOSDeveloperSeed/com_apple_MobileAsset_SoftwareUpdate/com_apple_MobileAsset_SoftwareUpdate.xml)
  • Reply 8 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,161member
    Seems like yesterday when all the 8-bit app makers were moaning about the move to the 'unnecessary' 16-bit OSs on Macs and PCs.  How time flies ...
    Soliwatto_cobrabeowulfschmidtcornchip
  • Reply 9 of 18
    jacodbjacodb Posts: 23member
    Does anyone know if my 32-bit apps will still function with 10.3? I am busy migrating the data from them but it is going to take a month or two.

  • Reply 10 of 18
    zoso4zoso4 Posts: 11member
    The 5 and 5c are included in iOS 10.3. However, many 5 and 5c do not show the update. Apple said they are working on the issue, but no fix as of today 3/29/17. The 32 bit apps should still work in 10.3, but will show a pop up warning they will not be supported in future updates. 
    jacodbapplesnorangescornchip
  • Reply 11 of 18
    zoso4zoso4 Posts: 11member
    jacodb said:
    Does anyone know if my 32-bit apps will still function with 10.3? I am busy migrating the data from them but it is going to take a month or two.

    Yes, but not in future updates. 
    Soli
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Could you please make the screenshot smaller? It's not *quite* completely unreadable. :wink: 
    edited March 2017 baconstang
  • Reply 13 of 18
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 901member
    Just wondering here, let's say I have an iPhone 4 and a 1st gen iPod Touch and they have corrupt firmware. What is or what will be the course of action to restore now and then when this update cuts off 32 bit support? Or just toss them into the recycle bin?
  • Reply 14 of 18
    kevtkevt Posts: 195member
    If 32-bit Apps won't run in iOS 11, I'll not be updating or buying a new iPhone with it preinstalled for a long time. I use too many Apps that either have not been updated to 64-bit, and some that have, I've not updated because I much prefer earlier versions.
    baconstang
  • Reply 15 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,283member
    kevt said:
    If 32-bit Apps won't run in iOS 11, I'll not be updating or buying a new iPhone with it preinstalled for a long time. I use too many Apps that either have not been updated to 64-bit, and some that have, I've not updated because I much prefer earlier versions.
    And? Your decision to remain with legacy software has very little (no) bearing on the engineering roadmap of iOS. The benefits to all far outweigh the inconvenience to you. 
    Soliai46watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    linkman said:
    Just wondering here, let's say I have an iPhone 4 and a 1st gen iPod Touch and they have corrupt firmware. What is or what will be the course of action to restore now and then when this update cuts off 32 bit support? Or just toss them into the recycle bin?
    It'll be the same course of action it has always been. Apple's servers will pull the most recent iOS build for that device.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    chasm said:
    I doubt this "temporary" withdrawal will survive into the final 10.3.2, unless Apple's support line operators are lonely and desperate for screaming phone calls. I suspect it is a warning shot, though, and that come June we will be told that iOS 11 (whenever that comes out, generally in September) will not support such devices. In the short term, this means very little to end-users: if iOS 11 doesn't support their device, they'll just carry on using iOS 10 for a while longer. It's not like apps will instantly become obsolete. What does disappoint me is the large number of developers who appear to be abandoning their old apps. Maybe they'll update them, but there's quite a few I still enjoy playing or use and would hate to see them disappear outright. Of course, I'd also hate to see them just replace those old apps with new ones that you pay for again, but given the low price of iOS apps generally I'd pony up for the ones that were worth it to me.
    I suspect that Swift has a lot to do with respect to abandoned apps.     Developers have to move forward or end up uncompetitive.  
  • Reply 18 of 18
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    kevt said:
    If 32-bit Apps won't run in iOS 11, I'll not be updating or buying a new iPhone with it preinstalled for a long time. I use too many Apps that either have not been updated to 64-bit, and some that have, I've not updated because I much prefer earlier versions.
    And? Your decision to remain with legacy software has very little (no) bearing on the engineering roadmap of iOS. The benefits to all far outweigh the inconvenience to you. 
    This is so important for people to understand!   The move to 64 bit is a very positive thing.  For one it will mean that all legacy apps and libraries will leave iOS freeing up a lot of storage space.   It also means that Apple can now focus on one set of developer tools, there will be no need to generate 32 bit code.  


    I know there are many luddites here but people need to realize that even Raspberry PI is transitioning to 64 bit hardware and eventually a 64 bit software base.    The transition took place a long time ago in Mac land so people need to reaize it only hurts for a few minutes.  In general 64 bit systems are a big win for everry body.  
    Soliunicronapplesnoranges
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