Apple appears to be planning to drop support for 32-bit apps in an upcoming version of iOS. The alert dialog presented when launching a 32-bit app on iOS 10.3 beta 1 now warns users that the app needs to be updated to continue working on future versions of iOS. This suggests that iOS 11 expected later this year could be the first version to only support 64-bit apps.
Apple has supported 64-bit apps on iOS since the launch of the iPhone 5s in September 2013. Apple has also required developers submit new apps with 64-bit support since February 2015 and app updates since June 2015.
While legacy 32-bit apps still in the App Store have continued to be supported, iOS 9 included an alert when first launching 32-bit apps that told users the legacy app may slow down device performance.
Apple has tweaked the alert dialog on iOS 10.3 beta 1 to warn that support will be removed in future iOS versions.
From iOS 10.2.1:
“Waterslide” May Slow Down Your iPad
The developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility.
And iOS 10.3 beta 1:
“Waterslide” Needs to Be Updated
This app will not work with future versions of iOS. The developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility.
In the case of Waterslide, the app has long been pulled from the App Store but remains in my Purchased list where it can be re-downloaded. As Apple’s new alert dialog warns, the app will likely no longer launch at all with future iOS updates.
For apps that are still in the App Store, the alert dialog should put pressure on app owners to get with the times or face apps being removed from the App Store.
Back in September, Apple detailed plans to begin purging “problematic and abandoned apps” from the App Store in one of the first moves to focus on app quality over catalog quantity. The following month, Apple was said to have removed nearly 50,000 apps from the App Store.
iOS 10.3 is currently in developer and public beta and includes Find My AirPods and other new features.