Ahead of iOS 7’s Release Tomorrow, Apple Offers Legacy Apps To Support Older Devices

With Apple expecting more mobile fragmentation, the App Store update helps it support older models.

Ahead of iOS 7’s Release Tomorrow, Apple Offers Legacy Apps To Support Older Devices

Still sporting an iPhone 3GS?


Those with older Apple devices will be left out of the fun when iOS 7 gets released tomorrow, but ahead of its rollout, the company has updated the App Store so models running an older operating system can download legacy versions of apps.

As pointed out by Reddit, the App Store now offers owners who can’t or haven’t upgraded to iOS 7 the ability to download the latest compatible app for their operating system, a move that helps the Cupertino, Calif. company cover its bases to support older models. Though mobile fragmentation is a larger issue for Android, Apple recognizes that by leaving out certain devices–including the first-generation iPad, iPhone 3GS or older, and the fourth-generation iPod Touch or older–a large subset of its base will face usability issues as developers refresh or create apps for the latest operating system.

Though the update helps expand the life-span of older Apple products, not all developers are excited about the change.

Kyle Richter, cofounder of iOS and Mac consulting firm Empirical Development, wrote in a blog post that “the likelihood of any complex app, especially anything API driven, working after several years of neglect are slim.”

Users, not understanding the software development process, will likely blame developers for a buggy experience.

“The truth is a lot happens under the covers during updates, API endpoints are updated, data models changed, multiplayer protocols changed, even legal issues are addressed,” Richter said.

[Image: Flickr user MIKI Yoshihito, Reddit user Justinbeiberispoop]

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.