iPod touch What iPod is best to run old 32-bit app?

ActionableMango

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Original poster
Sep 21, 2010
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I have some nostalgia for an old 32-bit game that came out in the iPhone 3G days. This app was a total market failure and it was never, ever updated. Over the years as the app became more and more outdated, newer versions of iOS kept breaking certain aspects of it. But all of the glitches were related to things like the menu system and tutorials. The core game play itself was still 100% playable all the way up until iOS became 64-bit only.

I enjoyed the game enough that I'd be willing to buy an iPod Touch for the main purpose of running this app.

I've done my homework as much as I can and determined that the last 32-bit only iPod Touch is the 5th generation. But I'm checking here anyway because I can't search for problems I don't know about.

Also I have two specific questions:
  1. I am aware that 32-bit applications are no longer available for download in the app store. I have this app purchased legitimately on the Apple account I would use, and the app was backed up on my computer via iTunes from my older phones. I assume I can copy back it from my computer via iTunes to the iPod Touch using the same Apple account. Is this true, or am I just done for?
  2. Is iPod Touch 5th gen the right way to go, or are there gotchas or other recommendations for something better? For example should I go older (or newer) for some reasons I haven't thought of? Perhaps better battery replacement costs?
 

retta283

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Jun 8, 2018
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You might find that the 5th gen Touch will give you black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, if the app was never optimized for the 4-inch screen size.

Based on this, and that you really are only buying it for the game, I would go with either a 2nd gen or 4th gen Touch. Both are fairly cheap, and will do the job just fine. 4th gen has a Retina display, and a slightly better speaker. 2nd gen is very very cheap though, and is easier to work on.

Edited to address question 1.

You will need to have a version of iTunes that predates the removal of the App Store, which means you will need to downgrade or use an old Mac/PC. If you can get to an old iTunes version, and the .ipa file is tied to your Apple ID, it will work fine.
 

rui no onna

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Oct 25, 2013
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Instead of iPod, you might also consider the iPhone 5 and 5c with 32-bit Apple A6 and 1GB RAM. They should be quite cheap as well.

App's bound to have black bars but at least A6/1GB on iOS 10 isn't awful as long as you disable background app refresh, etc. and don't multitask.

You can download iTunes with App Store support here in case your version's too new:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208079
 
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retta283

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2018
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Instead of iPod, you might also consider the iPhone 5 and 5c with 32-bit Apple A6 and 1GB RAM. They should be quite cheap as well.

App's bound to have black bars but at least A6/1GB on iOS 10 isn't awful as long as you disable background app refresh, etc. and don't multitask.

You can download iTunes with App Store support here in case your version's too new:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208079
I'm not sure how much difference in usability there would be in using an iPhone for this purpose. Since he's just using this one game app, the overall speed of the OS and other things does not matter very much. iOS 6 on the 4th gen Touch is quite decent, as long as you don't try to browse the web with it. The savings are not huge, but $10-$20 extra might not be worth it in this case.
 
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rui no onna

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Oct 25, 2013
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I had forgotten the iPod touch 4th gen only received iOS 6 max. That one shouldn't be too bad and the display size should fit the app perfectly.

I just remember how awful the iPhone 4 on iOS 7 and iPhone 4S on iOS 8/9 were. Even navigating the user interface was a major pain.
 
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ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Original poster
Sep 21, 2010
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Thanks everyone for the advice and the link. The older iTunes thing is exactly the sort of gotcha I was worried about, but didn't know about.

I think I'm leaning toward the latter generation 32-bit models because the black bars won't bother me as much as the dock connector. The lightning connector is just so much better.
 

Slix

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Mar 24, 2010
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A thing to note, if you ever plan to record your screen for this game, you would need an iPod/iPhone that has a Lightning connector to use with QuickTime on the Mac. A 5th gen iPod touch or iPhone 5/5c might be best in this case. But if you want to play the game in its full glory, going back to iOS 4 or 5 would probably be best, especially if the game was never updated to support Retina Displays. 2nd gen iPod touches are dirt cheap these days.

What game is it?