App Store now lets you grab the last compatible app version on legacy devices

By , Sep 17, 2013

SIGHyKE

Apple has updated the App Store backend to allow for legacy app downloads, per tips we received this morning and this Reddit thread.

Starting today, trying to grab an app on the App Store from one of the unsupported iOS devices now presents users with a prompt offering to download the last compatible version available for their legacy hardware.

Previously, a developer posting a new app build would render older versions unavailable on the App Store. This improvement should be especially useful after iOS 7 arrives on Wednesday as owners of unsupported devices are now permitted to access the last compatible build on their outdated device…

Apple’s iOS devices tend to have a really good lifespan as the company goes to great lengths to support older hardware so this change is going to increase the stickiness of the platform.

The top-right image depicts downloading Instagram on a second-generation iPod touch. You can easily realize who this is going to appeal to. For starters, to just about anyone whose pre-iPhone 4 is collecting dust in the drawer.

Owners of the original iPhone, which can’t run anything beyond the iPhone OS version 3.1.3, should also be happy. Don’t forget that the iPhone 3G only supports iOS 4.2.1 so the ability to download the last compatible app version will breathe new life into their handset – as opposed to booting an iPhone 3G only to be greeted with an App Store store full of apps you can’t install.

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No more this.

More than anything, the move benefits owners of an iPhone 3GS.

While that device doesn’t support iOS 7, at least its owners won’t be locked out of iOS 6 apps.

Of course, if the app in question initially debuted on the App Store as an iOS 7-only download, you’ll be left out in the cold. As you know, Apple doesn’t require developers to support older hardware.

Another takeaway: buying a new app on an older iOS device will download the last compatible version while offering the latest build on up-to-date hardware. And because you own the app, you can leave star ratings and reviews on the current version, based on your old version purchase.

It’s entirely conceivable that this handy feature could come in play when developers update their wares for the iPhone 5S and its 64-bit A7 chip. As we told you, Apple yesterday prompted developers to submit apps optimized for the 64-bit architecture.

Apple September 2013 event (iPhone 5s, 64-bit slide teaser 001)

At first, 64-bit versions will be separate downloads until next month when devs will be able to incorporate both 32-bit and 64-bit code inside a single app binary, much like today’s universal binaries include native user interface assets and code for iPhones and iPads.

After those 32/64-bit binaries start arriving, users on pre-iOS 7 builds will still be allowed to access the previous app version supporting their hardware, and that’s a good thing.

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  • Christian Mejía

    Thank god I’m still on iOS 5.0.1 . Going to update tomorrow though :D

    • Jonathan

      You have an iPhone 4, or iPad 2?

      • Christian Mejía

        I have iPhone 4s and iPad 2

      • Dani Hayes

        I wish my 4S was still on iOS 5.1.1. That was the better firmware with jailbreaks and some of my apps.

    • seyss

      Why are you still on that old firmware?
      I have an iPhone 4 on iOS 5.0.1 too, because I use ultrasn0w to unlock it, and ultrasn0w won’t work on iOS 6. I don’t have any hope that ultrasn0w will work on iOS 7.

      • Roger Rodriguez

        Ultrasn0w work in iOS 6 id you preserve the baseband

      • seyss

        I have the preserved 1.59 baseband, however ultrasn0w is known to have a bug for a great amount of users that it won’t fully work on iOS 6.

      • Dani Hayes

        If you search for SAMprefs you can unlock it to use any sim as well. It is what I did with my 4S.

        *On Cydia the repo is repo.Binger.Com

      • Christian Mejía

        I just never got to upgrading. I have so many tweaks that my phone is just right for me but I’m going to have to try out iOS 7 for sure

  • asdfasdf

    Thats amazing!

  • ☞Dylan James Kroger

    That’s great news

  • Jonathan

    I’m surprised they haven’t done this sooner.

    • Hugh Jassol

      I’m not.

      This tatic has only helped Apple brainwash ppl into thinking their older devices are useless so they go out and buy a newer device.

      • Glorin

        talk trash.

      • felixtaf

        What are you talking about?? Did you read the post???

      • Hugh Jassol

        Are you dense? My post was a RESPONSE to the guy who was “surprised”…..

        What is it you fanboys don’t understand?

        Its obvious why Apple did not do this sooner…..because they make more money!!!!

        Even if an app is fully capable of working, (I’m not talking about apps that won’t work due to hardware/fw limitations etc)….Apple will make it unavailable purely to persaude older device owners into believing their devices are now obsolete.

        Idiots, like most of the ppl who replied to my post are too stupid to be objective and realize this. They’re too worried about defending why Apple has your best intrests in mind.

      • felixtaf

        Am tired of so-many self proclaimed elite people in blogs. You people like to complain for anything and everything. All these years people were complaining for change. Now the change happens, you are accusing as Apple’s tactics. Which App Store allows you to downgrade an app from them? NO One… Last time I checked Play Store and WP store wont allow this.
        So why not appreciate, rather complain for evrything??? Its obvious Apple and every tech company are here to make money and NOT for social service. So dont act elite and think!!! I may be dense, idiot or fanboy, but am not a self-proclaimed elite stupid like you!

      • Hugh Jassol

        WOW, I rest my case. You must be incompetent as you can’t seem to understand what I posted. I hope you realize that your comments make absolutely zero logical sense. I’m sorry you have blinders on. How do you come to the conclusion/correlation that stating the facts makes someone a self proclaimed elitist? LOL

        Who’s complaining? I’m glad Apple is making changes.

        I never said anything about allowing the downgrading of apps nor would I expect Apple to do so. Umm…sorry to tell ya but yes, their previous practice of prohibiting perfectly capable apps from being downloaded on older devices was exactly that, …. a tactic.

        Why would you defend their prior stance?

        …because they know best? …or just because they’re a company trying to make money?

        Please enlighten me.

      • Singed

        Actually, what this guy says is partly true – I saw no other reason why Apple didn’t do this sooner.

  • hkgsulphate

    Im still using 3GS <3

    • http://www.deltecenterprises.org/ Deltec Enterprises

      Me too! <3

      • Mouhammed Ali

        me too

    • אביאור רוקח

      I have a iPhone 5 but I had an iPhone 3Gs and what’s more amazing from iPhone 5

    • ahmad brengosh

      me too and i am proud of it

  • Chris Holden

    smart move by apple

  • Liam Mulcahy

    That’s great

  • Adam Bowman

    Hmmm… I don’t know. I just tried to download the Duck Duck Go browser from the App Store. I’m on 6.0.1, and the pop up said that I have to be on 6.1 and gave me a prompt to click to upgrade.

    Well… I want to keep my Jailbreak.

    I wonder if I’m doing something wrong. Or maybe because the app was originally released at 6.1 (don’t know if it was) that this locks me out of downloading

    • Chris Holden

      “legacy devices only”

      • Adam Bowman

        Oh yeah. Duh. Sorry.

        Thanks.

      • Melinda Cook

        What is a legacy device?

  • Guest

    hi

    • Jonathan

      Goodbye.

    • ahmad brengosh

      hai….

  • Shane Sepeda

    What about the old iPod touch 2G? 4.2 downloads available?

  • Stayo

    I downloaded Instagram on a iPod Touch 2g on 4.1.2 ,But when i went to login it said that “Your version of Instagram is out of data. Please upgrade your app in the App Store to log in to Instagram” So did this happen to anyone else?? or Dose anyone know how to fix it???

    • Chris Holden

      it wont even download on my ipod 2g, it starts downloading and then dissapears

  • Stuck

    Should I update to iOS 6.1.3 and wait for winocm Jb? or stay on 5.1.1 and wait for ios 7 Jb?

    • http://www.deltecenterprises.org/ Deltec Enterprises

      iOS 5 was the best iOS they ever released. So if I where you, I would just stay on that.

    • S Maxs

      Wait for iOS 7 JB winocm is hot air.

    • Wes

      If you’re on iPhone 4 go to ios 6.1.3 now. You don’t have much time left. You can get semi untethered jailbreak and use that while you wait for full untethered. If not on iPhone 4 then wait for ios 7 Jb

  • http://www.deltecenterprises.org/ Deltec Enterprises

    I have always used an old iPod Touch 2G for music outside, like on an iHome, I steady tying up my daily phone, but was always upset that even Pandora wasn’t able to be downloaded. :( Now I can finally do that! Also, The iPod touch 4G Users should be happy, since it doesn’t support iOS 7.

  • Fardeen Beharry

    this is a good step for creating native ios 7 apps withotu worrying about supporting ios 6, i think its cool

  • Rares

    I don’t understand something, do I have to own an old iphone? I can’t do this with my iphone 4 on 5.0.1?

    • Snowie0wl

      Right. If you can get iOS 7 on your device but haven’t, you are denied download by Apple.

  • felixtaf

    Thats great news… Always worried about compatibilty issues when i had 3GS. People with older devices will be pleased with this. I hope most of the apps allow this downgrade…

  • Singed

    Probably the best move Apple did on the Appstore this year. My iPhone 3G will be useable again!

    • Jeremy Spencer

      I’m iPhone OS 3.1.2 and the feature isn’t there for me

  • Lé Andy

    For those using legacy devices, check out Whited00r ;)

    (iPhone 2G, 3G, iPod 1G, 2G)

    This is good news for the millions with first generation devices, but this only works on devices running the latest software possible for that device. (eg. iPhone 3G must run iOS4.2.1 to use this. iPhone 2G using 3.1.3)

  • chumawumba

    It would be better if we could also manually downgrade

  • Burge

    About time too..

  • Jonathan

    Whoa, iDownloadBlog, still using the old iOS App Store icon?

    • ConduciveMammal

      I think it’s rather fitting given the subject of the post.

  • abdjed

    Whatsapp still doesn’t work!!

    • HaRmAn

      hahahhaahha i have 5

  • Fabio Rodrigues

    Finally!!!!why it took that long for apple to allow that??? they should’ve done this a long time ago!!!

  • Jonathan Singpradith

    I only have my iPod touch 5 jailbroken, can an untethered jailbreak come out for 6.1.3?
    Btw, awesome news to hear about the App Store update.

  • Filip Zíka

    Wait, so if i want to stay on iOS 6, i will be stuck with the last update of app before iOS 7? How often do you guys think, that developers will release updates only for iOS 7 without support for iOS 6? They should make an updated app for devices running everything before and everything after iOS 7. Until now it was rare, everything worked and i got all the updates even on old software.. I really don’t want to update, the new OS doesn’t run smoothly on 4s..

  • ConduciveMammal

    This is amazing, my girlfriend’s still rocking the 3GS and was extatic when she found she could once again use WhatsApp. One thing bothers me though: “you can leave star ratings and reviews on the current version, based on your old version purchase.”
    If the version they’re running has some nasty bug in it that’s long since been fixed, they’re gonna write a false review saying about XYZ bugs and potentially putting people off buying the app.

  • DavideLombardo

    Yep, it works at least from 4.2.1 and beyond – tested on an iPad 1st Gen with iOS 4.3.3, with iOS 3.1.3 on my iPhone 2G unfortunately it doesn’t work (I’ve tried with apps that for sure where available on iOS 3.1.3)

  • nyangejr

    what about whatsapp messenger for those with older firmware like the iPhone 3G(4.2.1)

  • ConduciveMammal

    Any iOS 7 users know how to get rid of the updated apps from the Updates section of the App Store?

  • Harald Tan

    When is this coming to iTunes? I have loads of apps in iTunes to sync and I do not have wifi or cellular. I am eager for it to come to iTunes.

  • anchal

    how this is possible ?