Apple Begins Offering 'Last Compatible' Version of Apps for Users Running Legacy Versions of iOS

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has begun allowing users on legacy versions of iOS to download the latest version of apps that are backwards compatible with their devices, as highlighted by a user on Reddit (via The Next Web). Specifically, when a user tries to download an app that is not compatible with his or her version of iOS from the App Store , Apple offers the user the option to download an older version of the app that is compatible with the device.

    The move comes as Apple is set to release iOS 7 tomorrow, with the new operating system featuring a complete redesign along with a number of new features including an overhaul of multitasking, a new universal settings window known as Control Center, and changes to the Notification Center. With all of the changes coming in iOS 7, some developers are redesigning their apps to be compatible with only iOS 7, and Apple's new system offers one way for users who have yet to upgrade to iOS 7 to continue using apps while also providing reminders that they are not running the most current version of iOS.

    iOS 7 will be avaliable for free and will be compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, iPad 2, iPad with Retina Display (third- and fourth-generation), and the iPad mini, along with Apple's new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.

    Article Link: Apple Begins Offering 'Last Compatible' Version of Apps for Users Running Legacy Versions of iOS
  2. macrumors 603


    Dec 2, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
  3. macrumors 68000


    May 28, 2008
    Now just to allow trials and paid upgrade paths.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Apr 10, 2012
    Sarajevo, Bosnia
    Double job for developers, but great for end users. :p
  5. macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2010
    New York
    Yes! This is huge!

    Something I've been wanting them to do for so long. :D
  6. macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2011
    So... for any app?

    What if services are not supported anymore... Or code has changed and certain request are not valid anymore? (on the server side of the app)

    Like... if spotify always used code like "search" and it has changed to "find" .... Your app will send a request "search:artist/song" ... but the server cant decode "search" anymore....
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2006
    This will mean I can stop stockpiling all the outdated versions of apps for use on the kids' iPad 1. I like it. Just wish it was a little easier to manage older versions for multi iPod/ipad families.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 21, 2009
    Good choice. A bit overdue but nice to see. Now if they can let us dynamically strip unwanted things from the bundle. For example, get a universal app and only install the iPhone part on an iPhone and the iPad part on the iPad. Great and easy space saving option.
  9. macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2010
    Unbelievable!! I was only just complaining to an Apple Store genius about this very issue last week (not why I was there). IMO this was the most genuine case of planned obsolescence in all of Apple's behaviours. So glad to see them finally fix this!!

    Going off to see if this actually works on my old 3G now…
  10. macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2012
    I wonder if Apple kept copies of all prior app versions on their servers, or if the developers have to resubmit backwards compatible versions of their apps.:confused:
  11. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    Device engineer 30+ yrs, touchscreens 24+.
    It's about time.

    I know a fair number of people with no longer supported iOS devices, who have not been able to find apps for a while, and/or they have done a reset and lost their old versions.
  12. macrumors 68020

    May 20, 2011
    I'm sure a lot of apps won't be able to support this feature. Apps are updated to add/change features or to fix bugs/security issues. I doubt a dev wants their bug/security flawed app accessing their servers.

    I'm guessing this will be more in line with offline games and productivity apps.
  13. macrumors 65816

    Aug 17, 2008
    Double job, not really right? If you have a working version, you can just leave it like that in stead of twisting your arm to make it work for iOS 4, 5, 6 and 7.
  14. macrumors 603


    Mar 11, 2013
    Seems like a nice step in the right direction, but I find It odd that they would allow this. I would assume that since iPhone is all about the apps incompatible apps would push people to buy newer hardware.

    I guess this was a customer oriented move instead of a profit oriented move. :D
  15. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    So does this mean the iOS 7 haters can stay on iOS 6 now? :)
  16. macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2009
    Madison, WI
    It's about time.

    At WWDC '11, when I was an iOS noob, I asked an App Store labs person if this was the current behavior and they said it was. Imagine my surprise when I found out it wasn't.
  17. macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2008
  18. macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2010
    That was exactly my situation.
  19. macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2013
  20. macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2008
    St. Louis
    This is one of the biggest things to happen to iOS. Ever.

    Original iOS model:

    New versions pushed, no way to download old versions. Each download is DRM-tied to your account.

    End result?
    Scenario 1: User buys old iOS device, cannot download popular apps.
    Scenario 2: User already had old iOS device, but needed to be wiped or sent into Apple for repair/replacement. User cannot re-download apps. Even apps they purchased. Paid $60 for iWork? Too bad. Paid $100+ for GPS app? Too bad.

    This was a BAD thing. It required users to maintain their own app archive. Saving old versions would take up an insane amount of disk space, and referring to changelogs and release notes to try and figure out which version worked on your device & iOS combination was time-consuming.
    Even if you did manage to back up and save EVERY download, it wouldn't help the user in Scenario 1, as they never had a chance to download and backup the app.

    This basically forces older, but still perfectly capable devices to become useless. Whereas you once had a hundred apps that worked fine, you would be reduced to using only the built-in apps. No more Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds, Around Me, Instagram, etc.

    Compare this to Android:

    Any user can install any app, at any time. Was the 2.0 version of the app the last one that ran on your device? Just get a copy from someone else. Done. No DRM. Piracy is a huge problem, but it makes it easy to install any version of apps, which means even your old/unsupported device will ALWAYS be able to download your favorite app again.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2011
    I guess it's still the developers who need to approve this.
  22. macrumors regular


    Oct 14, 2011
    Scranton, PA
    What's a legacy version? Just...older versions of iOS? I'm not harshly judging, but I don't understand why someone wouldn't just update. I can see if someone hates iOS 7 or something......idk.
  23. macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2009
    The Mothership
  24. macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2008
    St. Louis
    With MILLIONS of devices "forever" stuck on iOS 3, iOS 4, iOS 5, and now iOS 6, being able to still download apps is a VERY good thing.
  25. macrumors 65816

    Feb 4, 2011
    This is a really unique way to admit to a fragmentation issue.

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