Latest watchOS beta warns users when opening watchOS 1 apps, says support will end soon

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited April 10
A message included in Apple's first watchOS 4.3.1 beta warns users that older apps will no longer be supported in "future versions" of the operating system, suggesting support for software built with the watchOS 1.0 SDK could be deprecated with watchOS 5.




In the latest watchOS beta, attempting to open legacy watchOS 1 apps triggers a message notifying users that legacy titles will soon be incompatible with Apple's wearables platform. It also includes some light prodding aimed at developers who want to continue to market their native Watch wares on the App Store.

"The developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility," the warning reads.

Tapping the "OK" button allows the app to open and run normally, suggesting watchOS 4.3.1 is fully compatible with older Watch software.

The message is similar to a notification in iOS 10 that informed users of a pending shift away from 32-bit apps in favor of 64-bit apps. Then, like now, the upcoming move will come as no surprise to developers, who have been aware of the policy for months.

In November, Apple informed developers that it will stop accepting watchOS 1 app submissions in 2018. Since April 1, app makers have been required to use the watchOS 2 software development kit or later to build updates to existing apps, while new apps must be coded with watchOS 4 SDK or later.

Beyond the developer announcement, Apple has not specified a formal end of life for titles built with watchOS 1. As noted by 9to5Mac, the warning message included with watchOS 4.3.1 beta suggests Apple might drop support with watchOS 5, which is expected for unveiling at WWDC 2018 in June.

Apple did much the same with 32-bit apps on iOS, notifying users of the pending change in iOS 10 before instituting the policy with iOS 11.

The change is a long time coming for Apple's wearable OS, which started life as a fledgling platform that leaned heavily on iPhone to function. Apple granted developer access to Apple Watch hardware with watchOS 2 in 2015, later mandating all third-party software use the SDK to create native apps in 2016.

Despite a steadily increasing user base and efforts to make Apple Watch a true standalone device, major app makers have abandoned development of native apps for the platform. Most recently, Instagram this month killed off its app rather than rebuild it with the watchOS 4 SDK.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    I really hope this gets developers updating their apps.

    Some of the apps are really cool but sluggish because they don't run natively... at least that's what appears to be the case. Does anyone know if Swipes, ToDoist, and many of the other get things done apps are native or only WatchOS 1 because these all have many issues that seem to suggest they are not native. Swipes seems to be the worst with only showing a handful of the tasks I put into it and it takes forever to sync but it's such a cool app.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,253member
    I am hopeful that this will free things up to enable more 3rd parties to develop quality apps that run natively on the Apple Watch.

    Apple Watch has the hardware to run exceptional exercise trackers.  Yet few high end 3rd party exercise apps run natively on the watch.  The reason has been speculated to have been an 'unfriendly' environment for developers.  Hopefully, this will help to correct that situation and open up the platform for further development by 3rd parties.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 688member
    The watch is supposed to be about quick interactions, but third party apps are anything but quick. I remember the old WatchOS 1 apps being a bit sluggish, but they usually loaded more quickly than wOS2+ ones.
    I really hope this gets developers updating their apps.

    Some of the apps are really cool but sluggish because they don't run natively... at least that's what appears to be the case. 
    Native ones seem to be ok when they're running, but they only open half the time, the rest of the time they're just sat with the (newly updated! Priorities, Apple) spinning loading indicator. It has to be an Apple thing, since pretty much all third party apps do it, though occasionally one will open in a few seconds. They're so unreliable I don't bother using them anymore, and unfortunately from what I've seen most people are the same. So it's no wonder third parties are abandoning the platform if no one uses the apps. There are a lot of pointless apps which are a poor copy of the phone app, but there are some really useful ones. Calcbot being a good example, and Pillow too.

    I am hopeful that this will free things up to enable more 3rd parties to develop quality apps that run natively on the Apple Watch.

    Apple Watch has the hardware to run exceptional exercise trackers.  Yet few high end 3rd party exercise apps run natively on the watch.  The reason has been speculated to have been an 'unfriendly' environment for developers.  Hopefully, this will help to correct that situation and open up the platform for further development by 3rd parties.
    Not sure how this will free things up? It's not getting in the way of devs making decent third party apps. Apple's API restrictions and battery-life vs usability is. It seems the third party exercise apps suffer the same problem as the non-exercise ones. Slow.
    edited April 11
  • Reply 4 of 5
    I bought a Series 3 Apple Watch in January. The Watch app store looks exactly the same as it did 3 months ago; same apps, same sections, no changes. I realize that there are relatively few use cases for a watch app vs. an iPhone or iPad app. (I don't plan on running Excel on it, for example). It is a little disconcerting that the major developers seem to be abandoning the platform and there doen't seem to be much activity in the app store.

    If this is the same as the 32 to 64 bit migration like others have indicated, a lot of the apps will probably just go away and never come back.
    edited April 11
  • Reply 5 of 5
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,253member
    elijahg said:
    The watch is supposed to be about quick interactions, but third party apps are anything but quick. I remember the old WatchOS 1 apps being a bit sluggish, but they usually loaded more quickly than wOS2+ ones.
    I really hope this gets developers updating their apps.

    Some of the apps are really cool but sluggish because they don't run natively... at least that's what appears to be the case. 
    Native ones seem to be ok when they're running, but they only open half the time, the rest of the time they're just sat with the (newly updated! Priorities, Apple) spinning loading indicator. It has to be an Apple thing, since pretty much all third party apps do it, though occasionally one will open in a few seconds. They're so unreliable I don't bother using them anymore, and unfortunately from what I've seen most people are the same. So it's no wonder third parties are abandoning the platform if no one uses the apps. There are a lot of pointless apps which are a poor copy of the phone app, but there are some really useful ones. Calcbot being a good example, and Pillow too.

    I am hopeful that this will free things up to enable more 3rd parties to develop quality apps that run natively on the Apple Watch.

    Apple Watch has the hardware to run exceptional exercise trackers.  Yet few high end 3rd party exercise apps run natively on the watch.  The reason has been speculated to have been an 'unfriendly' environment for developers.  Hopefully, this will help to correct that situation and open up the platform for further development by 3rd parties.
    Not sure how this will free things up? It's not getting in the way of devs making decent third party apps. Apple's API restrictions and battery-life vs usability is. It seems the third party exercise apps suffer the same problem as the non-exercise ones. Slow.
    There was a comment on a piece a month so ago from a developer who stated that it was compatibility with the Gen0 watches that was making 3rd party development for the watch restrictive and burdonsome.  Assuming that he was right, this may be Apple clearing the field for 3rd party developers -- which is very much needed.   From the standpoint of serious exercise, the Apple Watch is a great piece of hardware with lots of potential that has not been fully developed to its potential.
Sign In or Register to comment.