iOS 10 tidbit: warning message when launching apps that aren’t 64-bit compliant

By , Jul 7, 2016

iOS 10 64 bit warning space gray iPhone screenshot 001

In April 2015, Apple reminded developers that as of June 2015 all apps and app updates submitted to the App Store must include 64-bit support. After more than a year, some apps are still stuck on 32 bits and lack support for 64-bit devices. iOS 10 takes a naming and shaming approach by including a brand new warning message that appears when you open a 32-bit app on a 64-bit iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Apple’s naming and shaming prompt

“This app has not been updated to 64-bit,” reads the prompt iOS puts up when launching an app that isn’t 64-bit compliant. ”Using it may affect overall system performance.”

The user must tap OK to dismiss the dialog and continue using the app. The prompt appears every time the app is launched, not just on first run. For those wondering, all iOS devices with the A7 or newer processor are 64-bit, including every iPhone and iPad from the respective iPhone 5s and iPad Air models onward.

Why 32-bit apps affect iOS performance negatively

You may be wondering why 32-bit apps affect iOS performance when launched on a 64-bit iOS device. Well, on a 64-bit iPhone, iPad or iPod touch 64-bit versions of the iOS kernel, libraries and drivers are loaded by default. But when you launch a 32-bit app that lacks 64-bit support, iOS is forced to load 32-bit versions of those libraries into memory, leaving less memory for your apps.

In Apple’s own words, “when iOS is executing on a 64-bit device, iOS includes separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the system frameworks”. When all apps running on the device are compiled for the 64-bit runtime, iOS never loads the 32-bit versions of those libraries, which means that the system uses less memory and launches apps more quickly.

“Because all of the built-in apps already support the 64-bit runtime, it is to everyone’s benefit that all apps running on 64-bit devices be compiled for the 64-bit runtime, especially apps that support background processing,” Apple told developers.

Even apps that are not performance sensitive gain from this memory efficiency.

“As a reminder, beginning June 1, 2015 app updates submitted to the App Store must include 64-bit support and be built with the iOS 8 SDK,” advised the firm in its April 2015 email blast to developers.

Apple’s transition guide details porting apps to 64-bit architecture, taking advantage of Xcode which is capable of compiling app binaries that run on both 32-bit and 64-bit devices.

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  • Kimmo

    isn’t remote an apple app?

    • Hmm I guess you’re right Captain obvious.

    • Andrew

      It’s the old one though. They have a new one now.

    • Dalton

      It’s not a pre-installed app. (in Apple’s word’s): “Because all of the built-in apps already support the 64-bit runtime” — so technically they’re right.

  • 5723alex .

    ‘After more than a year, some apps are still stuck on 32 bits and lack support for 64-bit devices”
    Appel’s iOS 10 bootloader is 32 bits after more than a year and no warning/s

    • Michael Hulet

      Apple’s bootloader is 32-bit on devices that are 32-bit only. It’s 64-bit on devices that have 64-bit processors

      • 5723alex .

        There no devices that are 32 bits only, anymore.
        iOS 10 includes 32 bits bootloader :

        Apple’s second iOS 10 beta includes unencrypted 32-bit bootloader, RAM Disk, ….

  • Jason B

    So a year later, Apple is still approving apps that don’t have 64-bit support? Or are those apps just more than a year old since the last update?

    • Andrew

      I think it’s just on old apps that haven’t been updated. I don’t think Apple accepts 32-bit apps anymore.

    • Michael Hulet

      They’re apps that just haven’t been updated in forever (which reminds me, I need to update a couple of mine)

    • CAIO MARIZ®

      after february 2015 none only 32 bit app has been approved
      The apps that show this message are not updated for 2 years

  • It’s a bit unfair on the users though as they’re the ones who have to dismiss the message every time the apps are launched. The users are being punished for the developers’ (lack of) actions.

    • iByron

      Yes. Users are being punished by the performance issues that may occur as a result of using the 32-bit apps.

      I imagine there are some people who have experienced this first hand. But they can’t talk about it publicly.

  • Digitalfeind

    Can’t wait for tweak to bypass this.

    Of course there’s no jailbreak. I’m foreshadowing.

  • This is a pretty blunt way to coerce the developers to upgrade their apps but it’s surprising that Apple would sacrifice the user experience like that

    • racerhomie2

      its whats needed,whether you like it or not

  • Instead of banning the Apps from the App Store, Appe is bothering the users with a stupid message…

    • iByron

      Many of these apps were downloaded before the moratorium against 32-bit apps went into effect. The apps literally haven’t been updated since before June 1, 2015. Some long before.

  • Brett Kessner

    are you sure the warning message isn’t to make you aware that you are running a 32-bit app and hence you may have performance issues with it? You didn’t put “When all apps running on the device are compiled for the 64-bit runtime…… which means that the system uses less memory and launches apps more quickly.” in “” so did apple actually communicate this fact to you?

  • Robin Keanu Keim

    “The prompt appears every time the app is launched, not just on first run.” Interestingly I only see this message on the first run and not every time! I have a lot of 32-bit only apps, some of my own, some old games that aren’t even in the AppStore anymore, the old Remote App etc. and they never show the prompt again unless I reinstall them…

    • DOOManiac

      That’s reassuring. I’ve got a few critical apps I use every day that for whatever reason the developer has ceased to update. Stuff that never even got bigger iPhone 6 size screen support, let alone 64-bit compilation…

  • Fardeen Beharry

    thats why they should have dropped support for all 32 bit devices and go 64 bit all the way, ios 11 will be 64 bit only and will drop the iphone 5

    • racerhomie2

      then i will cry next next year
      Hopefully will be getting 6 plus by then
      what are you using?

      • Fardeen Beharry

        im using a 4s and i badly want to use a new iphone, i would have bought this year’s iphone but since its a minor upgrade and next years model seems like a total redesign, im really torn apart that i have to wait a whole year to get that new iphone. little bit of context, in my country iphones are way overpriced, thats why i been waiting to get a model that makes me happy . i dont want to buy a iphone this year and regret when the new iphone is totally awesome 🙁

      • racerhomie2

        6S plus will be pretty good with iOS 10, you should get that

  • Scott Griffin

    Apple Remote App [ARA] with iOS10 – rather bizarrely, when I first tried to add a library, I got the message in the article. Then I removed the remote from my ATV, but didn’t delete the library from my ARA, and repeated the process. Meaning there are now two ATV icons within the ARA. For some reason it now connects to my ATV and works as normal…….