Apple gets ready to end support for 32-bit iOS apps

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Apple is expected to introduce another 4-inch iPhone, but it probably won't be cheap.
The clock is ticking for 32-bit devices like the iPhone 5c.
Photo: Apple

Apple is preparing to end support for 32-bit iOS apps, according to an error message discovered in the new iOS 10.3 beta.

The company warns that certain titles won’t work with future versions of its mobile operating system, and encourages developers to update them.

“This app will not work with future versions of iOS,” reads the error, which was discovered in the iOS 10.3 beta by developer Peter Steinberger. “The developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility.”

Apple became the first company to integrate a 64-bit processor into a smartphone when it released the iPhone 5s in 2013, and it has been using them ever since. But over three years on, some iOS apps that are yet to be updated to take advantage of them.

As of February 2015, Apple required all developers to support 64-bit chips when submitting new iOS apps — and that policy was extended to cover updates to existing apps in June of the same year. But not every title in the App Store has been updated since then.

When the transition to 64-bit is complete, older iOS devices — including the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and the fourth-generation iPad — will no longer get app updates, and won’t be compatible with the newest iOS releases.

Apple hasn’t confirmed when it will drop support for 32-bit apps, but it’s likely to happen with its iOS 11 upgrade this fall. iOS 10.3 will adopt the company’s new APFS filesystem, but this error message suggests it will have 32-bit support for now.

In addition to that new filesystem, iOS 10.3 brings a number of new features, including an AirPods locator, iCloud calls for Verizon subscribers, a Podcasts widget, and more. As for iOS 11, that’s likely to get its official unveiling at WWDC in June.

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