During Monday’s keynote talk at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple introduced iOS 11, the next major software update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. As previously suspected, the mobile operating system has dropped support for legacy 32-bit apps.
Attempting to launch a 32-bit app on iOS 11 now yields a message, saying “The developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11”. You can tap OK to dismiss the prompt or tap Learn More to open the full list of 32-bit-only apps that are currently installed on the device.
Apple’s Clips app, for example, requires a 64-bit iOS device and the new Files app is optimized for 64-bit computing. Starting with iOS 10.3, Apple began naming and shaming legacy apps via a new App Compatibility section in Settings → General → About → Applications.
Any previously installed 32-bit apps are no longer available for re-download through the App Store’s Purchased tab. Moreover, 32-bit app no longer appear in App Store search.
The time is right to drop support for non-64-bit apps because running legacy 32-bit apps alongside 64-bit ones slows down the system as iOS has to load both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the kernel and system frameworks in the RAM.
Devices with the Apple-designed A7 or newer chips are 64-bit, including the sixth-gen iPod touch and every iPhone and iPad from their respective iPhone 5s and iPad Air models onward.
In fact, iOS 11 itself won’t run on a non-64-bit iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, meaning iPhone 5s, iPad Air and the sixth-generation iPod touch are now the entry-level devices for iOS 11.