Arrival of iOS 11 could ‘brick’ close to 200,000 apps

15 Mar 2017

Broken iPhone. Image: Martchan/Shutterstock

Apple’s next mobile OS could brick apps that aren’t optimised for 64-bit computing.

An estimated 187,000 apps could be rendered useless with the advent of Apple’s next mobile operating system, iOS 11.

This because they won’t be compatible with 64-bit processors.

For some time, Apple has been encouraging app developers to update their apps to be compatible with the 64-bit processors that arrived with iPhone 5S. Now they won’t have a choice.

Apple is getting aggressive and its message is blunt: update to 64-bit or be removed.

Preventing app rot

In its latest iOS 10 beta, Apple has changed the language from “this app may slow down your iPhone” to “this app will not work with future versions of iOS” in relation to older 32-bit apps.

According to app analytics company Sensor Tower, 187,000 apps will be incompatible with the next operating system from Apple. This amounts to between 8pc and 10pc of all apps in the App Store.

iOS 11 is likely to debut as a beta around the time of the Worldwide Developers Conference before going on general release in late summer or early autumn.

Apple has always paid close attention to the quality of apps in the App Store and it removed more than 43,000 apps last year, according to Mashable.

Apple introduced 64-bit chipsets in September 2013 but it wasn’t until 2015 that the company began requiring developers to support the new architecture.

How will the upcoming ‘app-pocalypse’ affect users? It’s hard to say, really, because many of the apps, if they are revenue-earners, would be kept up to date by developers.

But if you have beloved apps such as games or productivity tools that you have kept using for years, and they are still in 32-bit format, be afraid.

Broken iPhone. Image: Martchan/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years