Question for Devs: How hard is it to optimize for a new iOS version?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 28, 2011
Honest question, because I really am curious. I've no coding experience and I'm left wondering.

I'm sure that it depends on the app and there's no universal answer. But on average, could it be a couple days' work? A week or so?

I ask because I'm tired of seeing apps deleted from the store because they're no longer compatible with the latest OS. Or downloading an old favorite and finding that it crashes every time (Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart, I see you living up to your title, denying me my nostalgia trip).

For me personally, with iOS 7, it was the game "Mensa Academy" that sticks in my mind as being pulled due to incompatibility.

Now with iOS 8 apparently, it's Lara Croft: Guardian of the Light.

Both of these titles are from Square Enix. So now I know to not buy any other apps from them in the future. Thankfully I'm not into RPGs/Final Fantasy things.

Of course there's a world of other examples of apps that have been pulled due to age and developers not wishing to keep them up to date any longer. Sometimes they give fair warning, and that's nice enough.

But I'm left to ask -- Is it really worth burning your customers when and if you or your company really could have the time and resources to make some tweaks?
Or in some cases, is it really, truly, waaaay too much to deal with?

Big thanks to anyone who wants to help me understand. ;)


macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
Generally it would take a few hours to maybe a few days.

Most likely the reason that the apps you mentioned weren't updated was because the developers were moved to other projects. Games are supported for as long as they're profitable - once the sales dry up and there's no further IAP taking place (or at least not enough to justify keeping a team dedicated to supporting it) then those resources are reassigned to more profitable positions.

Really, they haven't done anything to you to break it. You're the one who chose to upgrade. You're the one who pulled the trigger that made it so the software stopped working. This is in contrast to when, IE, EA decides to shut off their critical game servers and the game no longer runs. That's entirely on them, and they deserve every ounce of hate you have for it (I've been boycotting them for 7 years. They probably won't ever notice my protest, but it means that I end up suffering buyer's remorse after buying a crappy, unsupported, glitchy game a lot less often.)
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macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 28, 2011
Thanks very much for taking the time to reply. That [kind of] clears things up.

Except that it does sound like it takes about as much time as I suspected. So, I would still totally think that the bit of extra work (and paycheck to the employee, even) would be worth keeping a $5 game with a popular IP in the app store for another year. It also supports good faith from paying customers. But now I'm getting caught up in specifics.

Thank you for the helpful answer!


macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
Silicon Valley
From less than a day (for a simple app that does nothing exotic, such as one app I app developed), to a nearly complete rewrite taking many months (for apps that depend on APIs, performance tuning, features or custom UI that gets deprecated and removed.) Optimized games often do the latter. Given that Apple doesn't allow a developer to charge for updates, a complete rewrite can be massively unprofitable. Users won't even give a team of developers enough cash to feed their families for a month of rewrites. So that's one big reason why you won't see an update.