Apple is no stranger to short product lifespans.
With the upcoming release of iOS 11, many apps and three older devices will be getting the axe, which includes 2012's iPhone 5 and fourth-gen iPad, and 2013's very popular iPhone 5C. It’s a result of Apple's departure from devices and apps with 32-bit processors.
This isn't advancement for the sake of it, the 64-bit processors which Apple has introduced since 2013 handles far more data than its 32-bit counterparts, so devices are faster and smoother. By ditching 32-bit altogether, Apple is able to move on without the burden of 32-bit backward compatibility, and it also frees up valuable RAM and storage for more effective use in its current devices – greater space for manoeuvre.
This isn't shocking news; Apple has been prompting developers of a possible departure from 32-bit applications for the past year or so. However, the decision is bound to blindside many parties who don't keep up with such tech-y news, and users still comfortable with the now-obsolete devices.
How will you be affected?
Current 64-bit devices like your iPhone 7 will lose its ability to run 32-bit software.
Although most apps have been updated to 64-bit, you should take note of apps that have not been updated since 2015 – way before Apple started prompting users and developers with 2016's iOS 10.1. This could be apps with content that doesn’t need much updating, like educational apps for schools, and old or less popular apps you're still holding on to that may not have seen much change over the years.
How can I check if my apps are 32-bit?
There is no function to check for software on iTunes at the moment, although it would be of huge help. The only way is to install the app first, then check in
Settings > General > About > Applications > App compatibility
If it is outdated, it should show a message informing you that this app may slow down your phone, prompting you to update.
What can I do if my favourite apps haven't been updated?
Sadly, not a lot. It lies entirely in the hands of the developers, and if they haven't touched their app since... well 2015, it does seem like they've given up.
Don’t be caught out by these updates, our Macs will soon see the same fate as announced in WWDC, as Mac OS High Sierra is the last to support 32-bit capability "without compromises". June 2018 will be the deadline for all Mac apps to make the conversion, instating Apple's firm departure from the software.
iOS 11 will run on:
- The iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, and 7 Plus.
- The iPad Air and Air 2; the iPad Mini 2, 3, and 4; the fifth-generation iPad; and all iPad Pros.
- The sixth-generation iPod Touch