When apple announced the release of iOS 11 beta, all the 32-bit apps on App Store stopped appearing in the search results. What’s even more interesting is that there is a new ‘Files’ app which only supports 64-bit devices.
As the new iOS 11 beta was released, all the speculations were killed and it was confirmed that the latest iOS won’t support apps that are not 64-bit compatible. Anything running only on 32-bit is not going to be useable anymore.
This idea of dropping 32-bit apps support has been around for quite a while and Apple intentionally floated it around. There was an alert featured in the iOS 10 early betas and it was shown whenever an app not supporting 64-bit devices was invoked. It was iOS 10.3 release that took things even further because it included a revamped warning that told users to update the apps if they were not supported on 64-bit devices.
According to these alert messages, it was the responsibility of the developer to come up with an update for making the app compatible with modern devices from Apple that were expected to come in future. And as 64-bit apps were introduced for the first time in 2013 when Apple launched iPhone 5s, developers can’t really argue enough time had not been provided to them for coming up with 64-bit compatibility before revoking support for 32-bit apps.
So, as iOS 11 came to the scenes, 32-bit apps were not available anymore in the App Store results. But it is important to mention here that even though the indexing of such apps in App Store results was dropped, they could still be accessible through the direct links.
As mentioned earlier, the ‘Files’ app was also introduced at the WWDC 2017. The needs 64-bit device along with iOS 11 to run successfully and also comes up with a filesystem access for iOS. This is done officially for the first time. The listing was pulled right after the news went public and it’s probably an indication of a few things coming with final iOS 11 release.
So, the announcement, and the subsequent release of iOS 11 beta, confirms that the 32-bit apps won’t be effective anymore after this fall. Significant number of users might get disappointed by this but hopefully it should be an opportunity for getting rid of apps that haven’t received an update in years.