Apple Begins Offering 'Last Compatible' Version of Apps for Users Running Legacy Versions of iOS

Apple has begun allowing users on legacy versions of iOS to download the latest version of apps that are backwards compatible with their devices, as highlighted by a user on Reddit (via The Next Web). Specifically, when a user tries to download an app that is not compatible with his or her version of iOS from the App Store , Apple offers the user the option to download an older version of the app that is compatible with the device.

older_version
The move comes as Apple is set to release iOS 7 tomorrow, with the new operating system featuring a complete redesign along with a number of new features including an overhaul of multitasking, a new universal settings window known as Control Center, and changes to the Notification Center. With all of the changes coming in iOS 7, some developers are redesigning their apps to be compatible with only iOS 7, and Apple's new system offers one way for users who have yet to upgrade to iOS 7 to continue using apps while also providing reminders that they are not running the most current version of iOS.

iOS 7 will be avaliable for free and will be compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, iPad 2, iPad with Retina Display (third- and fourth-generation), and the iPad mini, along with Apple’s new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.

Top Rated Comments

Tyler23 Avatar
99 months ago
Nice move on Apple's part.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xenomorph Avatar
99 months ago
With MILLIONS of devices "forever" stuck on iOS 3, iOS 4, iOS 5, and now iOS 6, being able to still download apps is a VERY good thing.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xenomorph Avatar
99 months ago
This is one of the biggest things to happen to iOS. Ever.

Original iOS model:

New versions pushed, no way to download old versions. Each download is DRM-tied to your account.

End result?
Scenario 1: User buys old iOS device, cannot download popular apps.
Scenario 2: User already had old iOS device, but needed to be wiped or sent into Apple for repair/replacement. User cannot re-download apps. Even apps they purchased. Paid $60 for iWork? Too bad. Paid $100+ for GPS app? Too bad.

This was a BAD thing. It required users to maintain their own app archive. Saving old versions would take up an insane amount of disk space, and referring to changelogs and release notes to try and figure out which version worked on your device & iOS combination was time-consuming.
Even if you did manage to back up and save EVERY download, it wouldn't help the user in Scenario 1, as they never had a chance to download and backup the app.

This basically forces older, but still perfectly capable devices to become useless. Whereas you once had a hundred apps that worked fine, you would be reduced to using only the built-in apps. No more Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds, Around Me, Instagram, etc.

Compare this to Android:

Any user can install any app, at any time. Was the 2.0 version of the app the last one that ran on your device? Just get a copy from someone else. Done. No DRM. Piracy is a huge problem, but it makes it easy to install any version of apps, which means even your old/unsupported device will ALWAYS be able to download your favorite app again.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kalsta Avatar
99 months ago
Unbelievable!! I was only just complaining to an Apple Store genius about this very issue last week (not why I was there). IMO this was the most genuine case of planned obsolescence in all of Apple's behaviours. So glad to see them finally fix this!!

Going off to see if this actually works on my old 3G now…
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghostface147 Avatar
99 months ago
Now just to allow trials and paid upgrade paths.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
99 months ago
So does this mean the iOS 7 haters can stay on iOS 6 now? :)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Top Stories 57 Feature

Top Stories: Apple Event Next Tuesday, Mini-LED iPad Pro, iPhone Rumors

Saturday April 17, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
It feels like we've been waiting forever for new Apple products, but the wait is almost over as Apple has announced a media event for next Tuesday, so make sure to tune into MacRumors for full coverage of everything Apple announces. While that was the big news this week, we also got some new details on Apple's iPhone plans for 2022 and 2023 courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and we also saw...
flat imac 3d 3 teal

Reliable Leaker Hints Redesigned Colorful iMac to Debut at 'Spring Loaded' Event

Saturday April 17, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
Reliable leaker known as l0vetodream has hinted that Apple may debut its rumored redesigned and colorful iMac at its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. In a tweet, the leaker posted an image of Apple's logo used for marketing the upcoming event and an image of the retro rainbow Apple logo alongside the colorful lineup of G3 iMacs. Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously reported that...
duan rui iphone 12 13 notch

New Images Show Smaller iPhone 13 Notch Compared to iPhone 12

Saturday April 17, 2021 11:38 pm PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has shared more images that could give us our best look yet at Apple's redesigned notch for the iPhone 13. The new pictures follow similar images shared by the leaker last week, but the latest shots include a comparison with the existing iPhone 12 notch. DuanRui posted three images on Twitter that apparently originate from Weibo, although source details remain...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
important battery message iphone 11

Some iPhone 11 Users Seeing Increased Battery Health Percentages After iOS 14.5 Recalibration Process

Friday April 16, 2021 6:32 am PDT by
In the sixth beta of iOS 14.5, Apple introduced a recalibration process for the battery health reporting system on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate battery health estimates for some users. Apple said this process might take a few weeks to be completed, and now that two weeks have passed since the sixth beta of iOS 14.5 was released, some users are...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
parler app

Apple Approves Parler to Return to App Store

Monday April 19, 2021 7:51 am PDT by
Following the removal of the app in January, Apple will now allow the social media app Parler to return to the App Store following changes to how the social media network moderates content, CNN reports. On April 14, in a letter to Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ken Buck obtained by CNN, Apple said that the app has improved the way it moderates content, and says those changes are "sufficient" for it...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

LTPO Displays Supporting 120Hz Refresh Rates Again Rumored for iPhone 13 Pro Models

Friday April 16, 2021 10:01 am PDT by
The two higher-end "iPhone 13 Pro" models that are coming in 2021 are expected to use LTPO display technology to enable 120Hz refresh rates, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young reaffirmed the detail in a tweet that said he'd heard rumors about only one model featuring LTPO, which he says is inaccurate. Heard some rumors in the industry and media that there would only be one ...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Anker's MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack

Thursday April 15, 2021 9:39 am PDT by
Anker, a company known for its range of accessories designed for Apple products, recently came out with one of the first MagSafe-compatible battery packs, so we thought we'd check it out to see how it compares to a standard battery pack. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, Anker's power bank looks like a typical battery pack, but it has magnets built in...