Yesterday, we told you about an unexpected improvement of the App Store backend which results in customers being able to grab older versions of apps. This is especially useful to those who may be browsing the App Store using an older device with one of the older iOS versions.

For those people, attempting to download, say, the latest version of an app would produce a prompt offering the last compatible version available for their legacy hardware, provided the app at some point supported their hardware.

Thursday, we received a word that Apple now allows developers to use the iTunes Connect portal to specify which apps and what versions should be made available to owners of legacy software through the App Store…

A notice on Apple’s Dev Center confirms that previous versions of apps are now available for re‑download by users who have already purchased them, “allowing customers to use your apps with older devices which may no longer be supported by the current version of your app.”

Developers who for some reason want to limit availability of older app versions can now manage availability of apps’ previous versions in the Rights and Pricing section of the Manage Your Apps module in iTunes Connect.

There are a number of reasons why some developers would want to limit  availability of apps’ previous versions. For starters, older versions may no longer be supported from the customer service perspective.

Many developers have limited resources and supporting a 2010 version of an app in 2013 may not be in their best interest. More importantly, a lot of iOS apps rely on a server-side software to function properly.

Over time, as developers upgrade their apps, they also update server-side APIs and protocols, meaning older versions of apps may no longer function properly. In other words, these apps may be unable to communicate with the server because the two are now speaking different languages, so to speak.

  • chumawumba

    Some devs are such cheaters. They make you pay for an app AGAIN just for a “iOS 7 version”

    • Johannes Mertens

      It Takes Weeks, often months of work to get an App Right for ios 7. so often it’s just fair.

    • Qasim Bashir

      I redownloaded around 110 apps on ios 7 which i had already purchased before, not a single one did that

      • David Villamizar

        I guess you don’t know about Clear and it’s featureless iOS 7 version 🙁

  • StarViruZ

    …availabity of of apps’ previous…
    Correct it please:
    …availabity of app’s previous…

    • Guest

      isn’t it actually correct?

    • Alexander Reimann

      It’s correct, “app’s previous versions” would be “app is previous versions”

    • Kye Lewis

      Because it was multiple “apps’ previous versionS” (emphasis mine), although it may still look awkward, it is correct.

      “app’s” would work if it were an individual “app’s previous version”.

  • Barry

    Wow, the old Youtube app. Takes me back, lol.

    • TesticularFortitude

      I’m glad Apple has done this. If I update and it breaks my app, I can always go back to a previous working version… Sounds perfect.

      • You can’t do this. This new change just allows customers who’ve previously purchased an app to download the latest compatible version for their device. You don’t have a choice which version to download. If your device has iOS 7 already then you will never, see this feature (until iOS 8 only apps appear in 12 months maybe).

  • becoolyolanda

    WTF? – so the devs are going to send you an older app that “may no longer function properly” instead of recompiling/updating their app to function with the millions of devices that people already have – on CONTRACTS, no less? What happened to all the dual binaries that were supposedly being worked on for months? And how about hiding the incompatible updates in itunes instead of updating and THEN locking the app out the device?- When they getting to that? – talk about leaving space dock without a tractor beam. This entire IOS7/plastic phone fiasco is nothing more than an obscene money grab (during a product cycle in which lumbering Apple had nothing of substance ready anyway) and will blow up in Apple’s face very soon. This is not how you get a leg up on the competitors – and this is not the “innovation” for which Jobs’ Apple was renowned. This entire new “feature” set is decidedly underwhelming (as evidenced by the markets’ response) This is lipstick on a pig in a dress. At least the A7 can do nothing new much faster.

    • Kye Lewis

      The whole point of the article, which you seem to have glossed over, is this feature allows devs the ability to NOT send you a version that “may no longer function properly”.

  • saajan

    does whatsapp support on iphone 3G having ios 3.1.3????

  • Hugh Berney

    Hey, I can’t find the link to delete old version on itunes connect. I go in the “Rights and pricing” section but impossible to find anything?