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32-Bit Apps Represented Less Than 1% of Apple's App Store Revenue Last Quarter

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Apple began permitting developers to submit 64-bit applications to the iOS App Store back in 2013, allowing for improved app performance and reliability on 64-bit iOS devices. Then in June of 2015, Apple began enforcing that all apps and app updates released on the App Store must use the 64-bit architecture, meaning apps that are still 32-bit have not been updated in well over two years. With the upcoming launch of iOS 11, 32-bit apps won't be supported at all moving forward.

Trying to open a 32-bit app on iOS 11 will present users with this message


Recently, SensorTower decided to take a look at the remaining 32-bit apps on the App Store, which amounts to more than 180,000 worldwide. Looking at the last quarter, revenue from 32-bit apps amounted to "less than 1 percent" of Apple's total portion of App Store revenue. The older apps made approximately $37.5 million worldwide in the last quarter, and Apple's cut from that was about $11.3 million -- or "a mere 0.41 percent of its total revenue" from in-app purchases and paid apps on the App Store.

While unsurprising, it's interesting to see the last few apps from the old era of the App Store clinging to life ahead of iOS 11. SensorTower pointed out that the two remaining highest-grossing 32-bit-only apps are "The Amazing Spider-Man" by Gameloft and "Trigger Fist" by Lake Effect, which in August made $45,000 and $36,000 worldwide, respectively. Without updates, these games and any like them will be defunct on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 11, but Apple won't be losing much profit from the apps' incompatibility with the new software.

As the chart above illustrates, the share of revenue generated by the more than 180,000 remaining 32-bit apps on the App Store worldwide has been steadily decreasing since Apple required all new app updates to be 64-bit in June of 2015. In the third quarter of that year, we estimate that they represented about 1.13 percent of worldwide gross App Store revenue, or approximately $53.5 million. By 3Q16, that amount declined to about $43.6 million, or approximately 0.61 percent of all revenue.
Anyone on iOS 10 can check to see if they have 32-bit apps on their device by navigating to the Settings app > General > About > Applications > "App Compatibility." Here users will be able to see a list of any outdated apps that won't be supported on iOS 11. All iOS devices with a 64-bit chip will support iOS 11, including the iPhone 5s and newer, the fifth-generation iPad, the iPad Air, the iPad Air 2, all iPad Pro models, the iPad mini 2 and later, and the 6th generation iPod touch.

Article Link: 32-Bit Apps Represented Less Than 1% of Apple's App Store Revenue Last Quarter
 

BeyondtheTech

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2007
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I think the research is missing the point. No one is developing 32-bit apps anymore, and very few are buying 32-bit apps anymore either. The real issue is that people want to continue using some of their old, favorite apps they have, that just have not been updated anymore, or at least for 64-bit compatibility. Not every one of these apps needs to be fixed, as many of them run just fine, but the fact that they won't run at all on iOS 11 anymore is what is going to irk some users.
 
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decimortis

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2007
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Toronto
I have one 32-bit app that the developer hasn't updated, and I don't forsee them updating since they've moved onto a version 2 of the app. Problem is, I like the version 1 immensely better and until I find a suitable replacement for it, I'm staying on iOS 10. This also doesn't bother me as 10.3.3 is running like a rock on my 7+ and I'm not planning to upgrade for a while.

TLDR: Cool story, bro.
 
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jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
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I don't think this is really surprising. Old, non-supported apps aren't going to make much money.
 
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Sandstorm

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2011
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Riga, Latvia
I think the research is missing the point. No one is developing 32-bit apps anymore, and very few are buying 32-bit apps anymore either. The real issue is that people want to continue using some of their old, favorite apps they have, that just have not been updated anymore, or at least for 64-bit compatibility. Not every one of these apps needs to be fixed, as many of them run just fine, but the fact that they won't run at all on iOS 11 anymore is what is going to irk some users.

Agreed. There are still a few apps that I personally love and are not updated to 64-bit. But in any case I agree with Apple on this - that's the way to push progress forward.

On the other hand - when will things slow down? I want technology to advance, but I wish devices didn't become obsolete so fast...
 
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Scottsoapbox

macrumors 65816
Oct 10, 2014
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Revenue for 2 year old games isn't that high either... But all of my steam sale games will still run next week.
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

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Jul 10, 2008
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I think the research is missing the point. No one is developing 32-bit apps anymore, and very few are buying 32-bit apps anymore either. The real issue is that people want to continue using some of their old, favorite apps they have, that just have not been updated anymore, or at least for 64-bit compatibility. Not every one of these apps needs to be fixed, as many of them run just fine, but the fact that they won't run at all on iOS 11 anymore is what is going to irk some users.

Blame the developer, not Apple. They're the ones that abandoned the app years ago.

If you truly have a need to still run that app, don't upgrade. The same was the case with macOS years ago and the move away from old Carbon apps.
 
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thisisnotmyname

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Oct 22, 2014
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I think the research is missing the point. No one is developing 32-bit apps anymore, and very few are buying 32-bit apps anymore either. The real issue is that people want to continue using some of their old, favorite apps they have, that just have not been updated anymore, or at least for 64-bit compatibility. Not every one of these apps needs to be fixed, as many of them run just fine, but the fact that they won't run at all on iOS 11 anymore is what is going to irk some users.

I found I have two apps that are 32 bit. They were last updated in 2012. I'm not at all upset with Apple for dropping support for a very outdated architecture, the blame is with the developers. They could be looking at this as an opportunity to recompile as 64 bit and make some money. If their app is so dead that they don't see any advantage to doing so then so be it, those apps will be deleted tomorrow.
 
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EdT

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Mar 11, 2007
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One of the reasons that Windows is so much of a security problem is that they actually tried to maintain backwards capacity with 32 and even 16 bit systems. There are exploits-I won't call them bugs because when the code was written the situation causing the problem wasn't possible- that MS spent years trying to patch.

I don't imagine that phone OS's are that different in vulnerability. It is obviously possible to VM a 32 bit program to work in a 64 bit OS but with what currently unforeseen consequences?
 
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toanavinai

macrumors member
Jul 10, 2008
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I'm unable to see the last step in the article's navigation instructions - From the About page where "Applications" is, I don't see an option for "App Compatibility". Does this mean I do not have any 32-bit apps on my device?
 
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AllergyDoc

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Mar 17, 2013
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I have 3 32-bit apps. The developer for one, Across Lite, says they’ll release a 64-bit version when iOS 11 is released. Another is a game I’ve played on my phone since 2012. It’s dead in the water due to pressure from a big game maker. The last will have to be replaced by a far worse version of the app, full of full-page apps every time you make a move.
 
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JosephAW

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May 14, 2012
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If Apple does not want the $11 Million, I'd be happy to handle it so they are not burdened with this measly money.
 
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PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68040
Jul 6, 2007
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Bet iOS adoption rate is a bit lower than average. I won't be updating two devices due to apps that haven't been updated and have no alternative.
My iPad Air is staying on iOS 10 in order to run 32 bit apps that haven't/won't be updated.
 
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firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
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Blame the developer, not Apple. They're the ones that abandoned the app years ago.

Don't blame the developer. If the app is at all worthwhile, blame cheap-skate customers.

Those apps bring in too little revenue, if any, to pay for the work required to update them. This work is often nearly complete rewrites due to deprecated tools and changed APIs in iOS. And the cost of hiring iOS programmers to write or fix the old code hasn't gone to zero.

So why don't those customers who complain about abandoned iOS apps learn to code and rewrite those valuable 32-bit apps themselves?
 
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LotusLord

macrumors 6502a
I just had to spend a few hundred bucks for a few (70) licenses of a new app to keep our mobile printers working under iOS 11. The developer of the app we use now is the manufacturer of the printer (Brother) and the printers were over $400 each when we bought them. Since we have several customers that refuse to accept email or other electronic methods of document delivery these 70 users continue to have to print from their iPads. Is it crappy that we had to pay to support the hardware investment? Yes, but life goes on. I'd like to know what 32 bit apps people are using that don't have replacements.
 
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PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68040
Jul 6, 2007
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I just had to spend a few hundred bucks for a few (70) licenses of a new app to keep our mobile printers working under iOS 11. The developer of the app we use now is the manufacturer of the printer (Brother) and the printers were over $400 each when we bought them. Since we have several customers that refuse to accept email or other electronic methods of document delivery these 70 users continue to have to print from their iPads. Is it crappy that we had to pay to support the hardware investment? Yes, but life goes on. I'd like to know what 32 bit apps people are using that don't have replacements.
Why wouldn't you just buy Airprint compatible printers so you don't need third party software just to print?

XCOM:EW is 32 bit and unless 2K Games comes to the rescue, this game will fade into history on iOS.
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

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Jul 10, 2008
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Because if it isn't highly profitable, Apple doesn't care. Mac mini knows how that feels...

This has nothing to do with that. It's about getting rid of old, unsupported apps which are slow, cause crashes, and provide a bad user experience. These apps haven't been updated in years and have been abandoned by their developers. By removing 32-bit apps it gives everyone a better experience and better performance from the other apps they run.

This isn't about profits.
 
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LotusLord

macrumors 6502a
Why wouldn't you just buy Airprint compatible printers so you don't need third party software just to print?

XCOM:EW is 32 bit and unless 2K Games comes to the rescue, this game will fade into history on iOS.

Good question! There weren't any battery powered Airprint compatible printers 2.5 years ago when we moved to iOS. We needed battery operated printers that printed to letter size paper. We were familiar with the Brother Pocketjet line when we were on Windows and Brother had produced a wifi model which was compatible with iOS. The printers themselves are perfectly fine, cheap to run, relatively cheap to have serviced when necessary (when they're dropped usually), use thermal paper so print cleanly without sales people needing to carry replacement ink carts, and fit in their bags when they go into stores or bars etc. As far as I can tell Brother is the only company that makes this type of printer and while they do apparently have an Airprint capable model now we'd be spending 70x what we just paid to replace the units we already have rather than implementing a software solution. I'm hoping in 18-24 months when we move to whatever the next model iPad we implement to we can retire mobile printing completely

I get the frustration I guess but keeping support which could impact security down the line seems like a non-starter in my opinion. If you have something you need to keep running for now, I guess keep the device on an older OS. I just saw that one of our semi-custom apps is still 32 bit, which means we'll need to keep about twelve OG Airs on 10 until the developer comes to their senses.
 
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EdT

macrumors 68000
Mar 11, 2007
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This has nothing to do with that. It's about getting rid of old, unsupported apps which are slow, cause crashes, and provide a bad user experience. These apps haven't been updated in years and have been abandoned by their developers. By removing 32-bit apps it gives everyone a better experience and better performance from the other apps they run.

This isn't about profits.

I agree with most of your points, but for every company it IS about profits. Especially if you end up supporting software that isn't yours and the original company either doesn't exist, has decided not to update the older software, or perhaps people don't like the upgrade and want to stay with the old version.
 
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carlvsam

macrumors newbie
Nov 1, 2014
19
12
Don't blame the developer. If the app is at all worthwhile, blame cheap-skate customers.

Those apps bring in too little revenue, if any, to pay for the work required to update them. This work is often nearly complete rewrites due to deprecated tools and changed APIs in iOS. And the cost of hiring iOS programmers to write or fix the old code hasn't gone to zero.

True (and I previously mentioned a situation like this that had come up with one of my favorite strategy / classic computer war gaming companies,) but I wonder just how many developers actually have these problems?
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,663
7,518
This has nothing to do with that. It's about getting rid of old, unsupported apps which are slow, cause crashes, and provide a bad user experience. These apps haven't been updated in years and have been abandoned by their developers. By removing 32-bit apps it gives everyone a better experience and better performance from the other apps they run.

This isn't about profits.
It's fine that the App Store stopped accepting 32-bit submissions, or is placing 32-bit apps near the bottom of search results to prioritize newer 64-bit apps. But it's not fine to break or remove them all.

Some 32-bit apps are outdated, but simply don't have a suitable or cheap replacement. Some people even have older devices that would benefit from older apps, and they would lose access as well. (I was able to download/install Koi Pond and a couple other apps on my iPhone 2G still, because they had been abandoned, but were still hosted on the App Store.) Considering your name is OldSchoolMacGuy, I'm surprised you didn't even consider that.

But lastly, it is about profits. If these abandoned apps were making Apple a decent amount of money still, they wouldn't be taken down. If it were profitable to support older devices, instead of just the opposite, they wouldn't be taken down.
 
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