Aside from other improvements, iOS 10.3 introduced a name-and-shame list of sorts for legacy apps that have not been updated to take full advantage of 64-bit processors driving iOS devices manufactured in 2013 onward.

On iOS 10.3, launching such an app yields a reworded warning message we first saw on iOS 9.

It informs you that not only do 32-bit apps slow down your device, but will stop working completely with future versions of iOS. In this tutorial, we’re going to lay out how you can quickly identify all legacy apps that are installed on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Naming and shaming legacy apps

As mentioned, launching a 32-bit app on a 64-bit iOS device pulls up a prompt saying the app hasn’t been updated to 64 bits. ”Using it may affect overall system performance,” cautions the message.

You must tap OK to dismiss the message and continue using the outdated app.

Here’s a list of iOS devices that have a 64-bit chip:

  • iPhone 5s/SE/6/6s/7
  • iPad Air and iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4
  • Sixth-generation iPod touch
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad (2017)

All apps/updates submitted to App Store since July 2016 must include 64-bit support.

Why 32-bit apps slow down your iPhone and iPad

iOS includes separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions of system frameworks and stock apps.

When the operating system is running on a 64-bit iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, it uses 64-bit versions of the kernel, libraries and drivers. That’s why launching a 32-bit app on a 64-bit device forces iOS to to also load 32-bit system frameworks as well.

As a result, system resources can easily get strained because iOS has less RAM to run your apps. The performance of your 64-bit device is punished the most when using 32-bit apps that support background processing.

TUTORIAL: How to identify battery hogs on your iPhone and iPad

Conversely, if each and every app installed on your device is compiled for 64-bit runtime, 32-bit system frameworks are never loaded to RAM chips. The system uses less memory overall, multitasks more smoothly and launches apps more quickly.

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

How to check which apps on your iPhone and iPad are still 32-bit

iOS 10.3 introduces a new App Compatibility section within the Settings app that lists each and every outdated 32-bit app that’s installed on your device.

1) Venture to Settings → General → About.

2) Tap Applications.

If you tap Applications and nothing happens, all apps on the device are encoded in 64 bits and you have nothing to worry about. If there’s just one 32-bit app found on the device, tapping this entry takes you to the App Compatibility screen.

“These apps may slow down your iPhone and will not work with future versions of iOS if they are not updated,” reads the feature’s description.

iOS 10 lets you launch and use 32-bit apps at the expense of system performance and stability. However, iOS 11 will drop support for apps which are not encoded in 64 bits.

What to do if your favorite apps are still 32-bit only?

Apple requires that both new and updated apps submitted to App Store in June 2015 onward support 64-bit processors. To put it another way, all apps listed in the App Compatibility section haven’t been updated since at least June 2015.

Most developers realize that leaving their apps without compatibility updates isn’t user-friendly. Not every developer who leaves their apps languishing on App Store without an update is lazy. For instance, some game developers stop releasing compatibility updates if sales don’t match or exceed their internal expectations.

There isn’t a whole lot you can do about this aside from contacting the developer to tell them how this situation frustrates you. In order to do so, simply go to Settings → General → About → Applications, then tap an app in the list.

You’ll be taken to its App Store page, where you can check out things like when the most recent update was released, the list of devices it’s compatible with, the description and version history and more.

Simply tap Developer Website on the page to land on the developer’s official website where you should be able to find their social media accounts, reach out to them by filling out a contact form and more.

Asking a developer publicly, on Twitter or through other social media channels, when they might be planning on pushing a compatibility update for their outdated software may not do the trick but it’s worth trying, so good luck with that.

Do you have any legacy apps on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch?

If so, which ones?

  • Paul John Schoenmaeckers

    I know don’t mean much but you forgot the iPhone SE is a 64 bit phone just saying

    • I always forget iPhone SE exists :p

      Thanks for the heads-up, I fixed the post!

  • My only real annoyance about the compatibility screen is that it doesn’t have the option to delete the apps from there.

    When I first used this feature, I had maybe a dozen apps that I never used so wanted delete them, only to have to go to the springboard every time to delete each one.

  • aXe

    are we saying that having 32 bit apps slows down the iphone or running them will slow it down? if I have an old game… but its closed “and forced close” if need be… is the simple fact of having it slowing down the iphone?

  • Andre Gironda

    For some reason Google Earth is 32-bit

  • Lutrija means lottery. How did you find that one out of all the apps lol?

  • Is there a way to see what apps are 32-bit in iTunes on your computer? Thanks for any info.