iOS 11 will bring numerous interesting features, but it will also drop support for 32-bit apps. If you’re enrolled in the beta program and you already have iOS 11 running on your iPhone or iPad you might have already seen the message saying the app needs to be update when you try to run a 32-bit app. Even if you’re still using an older iOS version, you can check your iPhone for 32-bit apps that won’t run in iOS 11. The same process can be used for iPads.
A similar message saying “This app will not work for future versions of iOS” started being displayed in iOS 10.3 beta, so Apple has been preparing to drop support for 32-bit apps for a while now.
How to check your iPhone for 32-bit apps that won’t run in iOS 11
Similar warnings go all the way back to iOS 9 but what should we expect in the future? Active developers will update their apps to keep working in iOS 11 and future versions. However, there are plenty of apps that no longer receive updates but have worked for years. Assuming they’re completely abandoned, once you update to iOS 11, you will need to find replacements.
Luckily, Apple provides an easy way to check your iPhone for 32-bit apps that won’t run in iOS 11. Open the Settings app and go to General -> About -> Applications.
The Applications screen displays your installed apps that are 32-bit only and won’t work on iOS 11. If the list is empty then you have nothing to worry about. This means all of your installed apps have a 64-bit version and they’ll run fine after you upgrade to iOS 11.
If you’re wondering why Apple is dropping support for 32-bit apps, it’s because iOS 11 devices will run just 64-bit code. This will allow Apple to remove 32-bit compatibility libraries so they won’t need to spend resources and time to maintain them, and the operating system will also take less space.
Nevertheless, all developers have the option to update their app so they’ll be compatible with iOS 11. If you have an app that’s still 32-bit only and it doesn’t have an update available Apple suggests you contact the developer and request an update. This can be useful, assuming the developer still cares about the app.
Apple is trying to eliminate 32-bit apps as smoothly as possible, which is why they are not included in search results in the new version of the App Store. Furthermore, the Purchased tab no longer displays 32-bit apps you’ve downloaded in the past.
The good news is that major apps have already been updated to 64-bit versions and even the few ones which are not actively developed anymore have decent replacements available. The situation is trickier with games though – the 32-bit ones will be unplayable when iOS 11 arrives and finding a replacement is difficult to say the least, since each game has some unique traits.