Wireless speaker maker Pure appears to be more the first casualties in Apple’s war on 32-bit iOS apps.
Pure’s 32-bit Connect software for iThings won’t work on Apple’s new 64-bit-only iOS 11, meaning folks using Cupertino’s latest firmware and handsets can’t control their space-age hi-fis. The audio remote-control app joins various games, utilities and other 32-bit-only programs that are not allowed to run on iOS 11 and later.
Punters are urged to install the latest version of Apple’s operating system because it contains security bug patches. By upgrading or buying a new iPhone, folks have to ditch any old apps that haven’t been rebuilt as 64-bit ARMv8 executables, which includes Pure’s.
Rejecting Sonos’ private data slurp basically bricks bloke’s boombox
Now Pure hardware owners who have moved to iOS 11 are complaining that their gizmos are “useless” without the Connect app to control them. Pure did not respond to El Reg‘s request for comment, and has not said when it expects a 64-bit app will be released. Android versions of Pure Connect are not affected, of course.
According to Pure’s website, a fix is in the works and an FAQ of workarounds via Wi-Fi can be found here. It may take some time for a rebuilt application to emerge as the people who wrote the code for the manufacturer are no longer in business, apparently.
“Due to circumstances beyond our control, including the closure of our third-party app developer, and the subsequent release of Apple’s iOS11, a few of you may be experiencing issues accessing the Pure Connect app,” Pure told customers.
“Unfortunately, Apple’s decision to remove support for apps created prior to 2015, which don’t natively run in 64-bit mode, will undoubtedly affect many apps, including our own.”
Part of the problem, it seems, is Pure’s inability to maintain and update its own apps, and it is most likely not alone in this respect: companies that have outsourced their mobile app programming are finding themselves locked out of iOS 11 because they can’t get the code or the tools or the people to rebuild their contract-developed software. The iOS App Store shows that the last update to Pure Connect was on June 25, 2015, more than two years ago, so Pure has been without a mobile developer for a while, it seems.
So on the one hand, it’s a shame to see organizations that were relying on outside developers now being caught out by the iOS crackdown. On the other hand, it’s not an overnight change.
You can’t fault Apple for springing this one on companies and programmers. The Cupertino giant has been warning of the 64-bit changeover for years, and since early 2015 all new apps and updates have been required to be submitted to the online store in 64-bit mode. In March, the iOS 10.3 update also alerted world-plus-dog that all future versions of the firmware would not support apps compiled in 32-bit mode.
Apple’s last 32-bit-processor iPhone was the iPhone 5C, released in 2013 and discontinued in 2015.
“‘Due to circumstances beyond our control’ – yeah, and you’ve only had two years to update your app,” one Reg reader scoffed at Pure in an email to us earlier today. “That’s my Jongo speakers rendered useless after only a year.” ®
The Joy and Pain of Buying IT – Have Your Say
The latest version of your iPhone’s operating system comes with plenty of upgrades, and also a poop emoji that can frown when you do. But iOS 11 also thins the App Store herd, obsoleting older 32-bit apps with a single update. In other words, certain classics—like Flappy Bird—won’t work anymore.
That culling has left plenty of iPhone owners anxious. Apple intentionally breaking apps, some of which you paid genuine money for, creates both uneasy feelings and potential inconvenience. But it’s also an earnest attempt to improve the App Store experience, and the fallout isn’t as dramatic as you might think.
64-Bit or Bust
While iOS 11 leaves 32-bit apps behind, the move hasn’t taken developers by surprise. The company urged 64-bit compatibility starting in October 2014, giving them nearly three years to get up to speed. And while the upgrade takes a little more effort than just flipping a switch, it’s still a pretty straightforward process. (If any truant developers are reading this, here’s Apple’s documentation for making the jump.)
That developers have had nearly three years to get in line, and that doing so wasn’t particularly taxing, matters more than you might think in gauging why Apple’s banishing 32-bit boffins in the first place. Especially when you add in that the change doesn’t actually make a whit of difference in terms of how users experience the apps, and that there’s no significant technical reason for Apple to require it.
Instead, the mandatory overhaul acts as a mechanism to purge abandoned apps from the App Store en masse. If developers can’t be bothered to go 64-bit, they likely haven’t put much TLC into their software in general.
“Apple wants to get rid of dead apps,” says Eliran Sapir, CEO of app analytics company Apptopia. “By forcing developers to update their apps or face removal, they are essentially able to weed out the dead apps which are no longer relevant and are clogging the store and ruining discovery for everyone else.”
With more than three million iOS apps available for download, according to Apptopia’s database, solving that discovery problem has become a clear focus for Apple in iOS 11. The App Store got its biggest redesign in years this fall, including a dedicated, editorially curated “Today” tab that highlights its best offerings, and an enhanced search that now includes developers, in-app purchases, tips and tricks, and more in its results.
Torching 32-bit apps gives Apple an easy way to cut the worst of its chaff; Apptopia estimates that 14.3 percent of the App Store hasn’t embraced 64-bit as of this week, meaning iOS 11 will leave about 527,000 apps behind. There’s a chance that you might use a few of those regularly. But you can at least take some comfort in knowing that their loss makes it more likely that the next app you download has been reasonably maintained—and that whatever 32-bit apps you still have on your phone haven’t been.
What We Lose
In fairness, some genuinely fun and useful apps won’t make the cut. As Gizmodo points out, Flappy Bird is joined by the original Tetris and Midway Arcade (which included classics like Joust and Rampage) in that great big app dumpster in the sky. Longtime iOS users will feel the pinch the most, and they have every right to be aggrieved.
But in terms of what apps people actually download today, 32-bit offerings barely register. In fact, you can see for yourself; Apptopia has crunched the numbers on the most-downloaded and highest-grossing 32-bit apps from August.
August 2017 Worldwide Downloads
Snowboard Racing Games Free
GT Racing 2
Saddle And Stirrups Magazine
Al Jazeera English Magazine
Fishing Kings Free+
Watch out Reflex Game
August 2017 Worldwide Revenue
Oxford Handbook of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery, Second Edition
Appisodio de Dora: La Gran Sorpresa de Perrito
The King of the Fighters
SpongeBob Bikini Bottom Sports
Nick Jr. Draw & Play
Dora’s Great Big World!
Drone Control – Remote Control your AR Drone
Bubble Puppy: Play and Learn
Perfect Penalty 2012
All apologies to the Nickelodeon fans out there, but nothing here seems truly indispensable. And if anything on that list does jump out, your best bet is to email the publisher and yell at them for not yet boarding the 64-bit train.
Obsolescence is never fun. But saying goodbye to 32-bit apps does more good than harm—and makes your next App Store download a safer bet.
And as always, we wrap thing ups by answering several questions straight from you.
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The Apple macOS is set to follow the new policy started by the company with the iOS 11, as the latest version of Mac’s operating system will be the last to fully support 32-bit apps.
The newest version of Apple’s OS for Macs, called High Sierra, will be the last update that will support older 32-bit apps “without compromises,” according to the company, as quoted by the International Business Times. The latest macOS version was unveiled at the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2017, during the Platform State of the Union keynote segment of the event.
While High Sierra will continue to provide complete support for 32-bit apps, later updates will likely discontinue official backing for the older apps. The current version of the macOS gives developers ample time to update their existing apps to a 64-bit version, if they haven’t already, by June of next year.
For new apps, however, the restrictions will be more strictly applied. Beginning January 2018, the Apple Mac App Store will begin a policy of rejecting new apps that are still 32-bit.
Meanwhile, the mobile version of Apple’s OS is already ahead in terms of phasing out legacy 32-bit apps. In the newest version of iOS — the iOS 11 — 32-bit apps cannot be installed on a mobile device, and existing apps based on the older architecture will not be able to launch, according to Mac Rumors.
Users who try to open a 32-bit app with Apples newest iOS version will be greeted with a notification message that says that the developer of the app “needs to update it to work with iOS 11.”
Newer versions of macOS after High Sierra will begin to “aggressively” warn users about 32-bit apps, as Apple prepares users and developers alike to begin abandoning the old 32-bit platform.
Ahead of the launch of iOS 11, there were several signs suggesting 32-bit apps would no longer be supported in the new operating system, which has been confirmed with the release of the first iOS 11 beta.
When attempting to open a 32-bit app when running iOS 11, the app refuses to launch, offering up a message that says the app needs to be updated to work with iOS 11.
32-bit apps are also not available when searching in the new version of the App Store, and previously downloaded 32-bit apps can’t be installed through the Purchased tab.
Over the course of the last several months, warnings about 32-bit apps have gotten increasingly dire. With the launch of iOS 10.1 in October of 2016, Apple started warning customers that older apps “may slow down your iPhone.”
In January of 2017, the first iOS 10.3 beta featured an even more serious message when launching a 32-bit app, which specifically read “This app will not work with future versions of iOS.”
Given the warnings, it should come as no surprise that Apple has eliminated support for 32-bit apps, but it does render many older apps that have worked for years without updates unusable. There are likely many users who continue to use 32-bit apps regularly who will be surprised to find that those apps no longer work when iOS 11 rolls out to the public.
Apple started supporting 64-bit apps when the iPhone 5s launched in September of 2013. As of June 2015, all apps and app updates must use the 64-bit architecture, so apps that are still 32-bit have not been updated in at least two years.
Current iOS 10 users can check to see if there are any 32-bit apps on their iOS devices in the Settings app. Go to General –> About –> Applications to get to the “App Compatibility” section that lists any outdated apps.
iOS 11 is only compatible with devices that feature a 64-bit chip, meaning it works with everything that has an A7 or newer chip. Specifically, iOS 11 is compatible with iPhone 5s, SE, 6 Plus, 6, 6s Plus, 6s, 7 Plus, and 7, along with the new fifth-generation iPad, the iPad Air, the iPad Air 2, all iPad Pro models, the iPad mini 2 and later, and the 6th generation iPod touch.
Ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference today, and the expected announcement of iOS 11, the company briefly removed older, 32-bit iOS applications from appearing in the App Store’s search results. The change, which appears to have been a short test on Sunday, could have impacted a sizable portion of the App Store’s long tail.
According to data collected by Sensor Tower in March, there are approximately 187,000 iOS applications – or 8 percent of the App Store’s roughly 2.4 million apps – that haven’t been updated to take advantage of the 64-bit processors found in all new iPhones since the iPhone 5S.
64-bit applications became available on the App Store with the launch of Apple’s A7 processor on the iPhone 5S in September 2013. The company then introduced guidelines requiring all new apps submitted support 64-bit processors by February 2015, and said it would reject 32-bit apps’ updates by June, 2015.
These guidelines were also later translated into solid promises where Apple said it would remove outdated and abandoned apps from the App Store as part of a larger purge. The company followed through with these deletions, even pulling as many as 47,300 apps from its store during one month last fall.
TouchArcade was among the first to spot the disappearance of 32-bit apps from App Store search on Sunday, noting that users could no longer directly search for games like Ridiculous FIshing, Dungeon Raid, Super Crate Box, and others. (TouchArcade noticed the change because its own app was affected. Its “store-within-a-store” app can no longer be updated due to Apple’s policies that ban these types of apps from the App Store, so the move to hide it from searches would have essentially killed it.)
For a large part of Sunday, 32-bit apps were absent from App Store search, but they were still available on the store itself – that is, you could still locate them by their direct URL. If you didn’t have the URL, a Google search would easily surface it.
The missing apps then mysteriously returned – a pretty clear indication that Apple was testing the change ahead of iOS 11’s release. (Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.)
Apple has offered plenty of warnings to developers to update their apps, or else be left behind.
A beta build of iOS 10.3 released earlier this year, added a very specific warning that appeared when users launched a 32-bit app. The notification states that the developer must update the app to improve its compatibility because it “will not work with future versions of iOS.”
If the change goes through permanently, games will be the largest category affected. Of the 187,000 incompatible apps, 20.6 percent (38,600) were games. Educational apps (10.6 percent) Entertainment apps (7.6 percent), and Lifestyle apps (6.9 percent) would also be affected.
Apple plans to drop 32-bit app support completely in iOS 11, or at least that’s what seasoned developer Steven Troughton-Smith is hearing. That means apps that haven’t been updated with 64-bit support won’t run at all even though current iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch processors still support both 32-bit and 64-bit code.
iOS 10 warns that 32-bit apps won’t run on future system versions
Troughton-Smith isn’t saying who is giving him this information, but he says the message is clear. In a post on Twitter he said, “I’m hearing very clearly iOS 11 won’t have 32bit app support at all.”
Devs: I’m hearing very clearly iOS 11 won’t have 32bit app support at all. Update legacy apps now if you want them to survive past September
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) April 8, 2017
He goes on to say the message he’s getting is that future A-series processors—Apple’s custom processors for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch—won’t include 32-bit support. If that’s true, Apple may be simplifying its chip design, or at least freeing up space so the they can be smaller or include other features.
Even though Apple hasn’t officially confirmed what Troughton-Smith is saying, there’s a good chance his sources are right. Apple has been giving users on-screen warnings when they launch 32-bit apps ever since iOS 9 and those started sounding more ominous in iOS 10.
Those warnings state, “This app will not work with future versions of iOS,” although they don’t specify which future iOS version.
Apple Puts 32-bit Apps On Notice
Apple also started cleaning house, so to speak, on the App Store last year. Outdated and abandoned apps are being removed, which is probably part of the comany’s prep work for dropping 32-bit app support.
For iOS device users, that means any legacy apps that haven’t been updated to include 64-bit support will stop working after they update to iOS 11. If if doesn’t look like the developer has any plans to make their app 64-bit, it’s time to start looking for a replacement.
You can see which apps on your iOS device don’t have a 64-bit update available in Settings. Check out our Quick Tip to learn how.
Apple usually shows off features in the upcoming versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. This year the even is in June, so odds are that’s when we’ll find out for sure if 32-bit support is gone in iOS 11.
Apple has slowly been cracking down on 32-bit iOS apps, but it appears that it will make a drastic change come this fall. According to prominent developer Steven Troughton-Smith, Apple will drop support for 32-bit apps altogether with iOS 11. This means that many legacy apps will no longer function at all.
While the specific source of this tidbit of information is unclear at this point, Smith says that he’s hearing “very clearly” that it is a move Apple will make. In the grand scheme of things, however, it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise for developers or users.
Starting with iOS 10.3, Apple has started alerting users when they open a 32-bit app on iOS. The pop up notification reads that the app must be updated by the developer or else it may not work with future versions of iOS.
Apple first started supporting 64-bit applications with the launch of the iPhone 5s in September of 2013. Apple has also required developers to submit new apps with 64-bit support since February 2015 and app updates since June 2015.
Apple’s conquest against 32-bit apps really began with iOS 9, however. Here, Apple alerted users that because the app was 32-bit, it may slow down device performance. It only increased the severity of the warning with iOS 10.3.
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.
Furthermore, Smith notes that it “sounds like” future processors from Apple won’t even include 32-bit support, a move that could free up performance/die space for users and developers.
Apple’s goal with this gradual phase out of 32-bit apps is likely that the end-user isn’t affected by it, but rather developers work to ensure that their apps are updated before support has been completely dropped.
The move comes as Apple has detailed plans to remove “problematic and abandoned apps” from the App Store in one of its first moves to focus on app quality over catalog quantity. Apple detailed these goals in September of last year and the following month, Apple was said to have removed nearly 50,000 apps from the App Store.
Devs: I’m hearing very clearly iOS 11 won’t have 32bit app support at all. Update legacy apps now if you want them to survive past September
At its WinHEC hardware conference in Shenzhen today, Microsoft announced a range of hardware-driven initiatives to modernize the PC and address two big goals. The first is expanded support for mixed reality; the second is to produce a range of even more power-efficient, mobile, always-connected PCs powered by ARM processors.
Mixed reality is set to be a major part of next spring’s Creators Update, with Microsoft promising a range of head-mounted displays (HMDs) with prices starting at $299. The Creators Update will include a 3D user interface derived from the one already used in the HoloLens, along with 3D modelling tools to allow people to explore 3D development.
To support this move, Microsoft and Intel have announced a collaborative effort named “Project Evo” that outlines the capabilities of modern PCs. Project Evo systems will include certain capabilities that are otherwise optional. Specifically, they’ll include far field array microphones to support voice commands from across the room; they’ll include biometric authentication using the Windows Hello framework; they’ll have sufficient graphical capabilities to drive HMDs; and they’ll support a range of audio-visual capabilities such as 4K pictures, high dynamic range and wide color gamut displays, spatial audio, and Xbox controllers.
Together, these features will make Project Evo systems able to handle the demands of new media, such as UHD Blu-ray, and new styles of interaction that use voice and 3D. This may also fill one small area in which the PC platform has fallen behind the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4; both systems support HDR-10 displays, images, and games, but play those same games on Windows, even if they’re Xbox Play Anywhere-branded, and they lose their HDR capability. Project Evo should fix that.
Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group, says that the company wants to make mixed reality mainstream in 2017, with multiple avenues of attack. The HoloLens headset has been submitted for government approval in China and should go on sale within the first half of 2017.
A full spec has been published for the systems needed to drive the new range of affordable HMDs, providing more details beyond those that had been inferred previously. As expected, the graphical requirements are quite a bit lower than those demanded by HTC for the Vive or Oculus for the rift:
Processor equivalent to a mobile Core i5 (dual core/four thread)
DirectX 12-capable GPU equivalent to the Intel HD Graphics 620 (the mid-range Kaby Lake integrated GPU)
8GB RAM in dual channel mode
HDMI 1.4 for 2880×1440 at 60Hz, or HDMI 2.0/DisplayPort 1.3 for 2880×1440 at 90Hz
100GB of disk space (SSD preferred)
USB 3.1 generation 1 Type-A or Type-C
This spec should be well within reach of even low-end systems, offering much greater market reach than the first-generation HMDs can boast. It remains to be seen what the difference in visual quality will be.
When the Creators Update was first announced, Microsoft said that there would be HMDs from Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. These systems should be launched next year, and they’ll be joined by support for the 3Glasses S1 headset. More than 5 million of these headsets have been sold in China already.
Microsoft is also building up 3D support within Windows; in addition to offering the 3D shell, Edge is going to add support for WebVR, and 360 degree videos will be available in the Movies & TV app. Universal Windows Apps will be usable within the 3D world in a manner similar to that used already in HoloLens.
HMD developer kits are due to become available at the Game Developers Conference in February.
Windows 10 on ARM
The second aspect of the push to modernize the PC is the desire for ever longer battery life, greater portability, and connectivity. To that end, Microsoft is bringing back something that it had before: Windows for ARM processors. Qualcomm-powered Windows 10 PCs will hit the market in 2017.
The truth is that Windows for ARM has never really gone away. The first Windows on ARM iteration was dubbed Windows RT, and it launched on the first Surface tablet. Although this system provided almost every part of Windows, just recompiled for 32-bit ARM processors, Microsoft locked it down using a certificate-based security scheme. Built-in desktop apps, such as Explorer and Calculator ran fine, as did the pre-installed version of Office, but third-party desktop apps built using the Win32 API were prohibited. The only third-party apps that were permitted were those built using the new WinRT API and distributed through the Windows Store.
With few such apps available, Windows RT and Surface didn’t see much market success. Nonetheless, Microsoft continued to develop Windows on ARM, as it’s an essential part of both the Windows 10 Internet of Things Core variant of the operating system and the Windows 10 Mobile version.
With today’s news, the full desktop Windows 10 variant is coming to ARM. It will be a 64-bit version, running on Qualcomm’s latest and greatest processors (probably the Snapdragon 835), and the way Microsoft describes it, this time around, it will offer a full Windows experience, with the ability to run not only Universal Windows Platform apps from the Store but also regular Win32 desktop applications.
Even this Win32 capability would leave a substantial app gap, as there are vanishingly few Win32 desktop applications compiled for ARM, so the new Windows on ARM has a solution for that, too: as previously rumored, it will include built-in emulation for 32-bit (though oddly, not 64-bit) x86 applications. As we previously detailed, this emulation will be used only for application code, with the operating system itself and all system libraries being native 64-bit ARM binaries.
While this will still leave small gaps due to the occasional 64-bit x86 application, it means that these ARM Windows 10 PCs, which Microsoft is calling “cellular PCs,” will be substantially compatible with existing Windows software and suffer none of the chicken/egg issues that afflicted Surface and Windows RT.
With these cellular PCs, Microsoft also plans to bring the kind of always-on connectivity that’s more familiar to smartphones and desktop PCs. The devices will offer cellular connectivity using a virtual/embedded SIM, with data plans sold directly within the Windows Store. Offering this kind of near-permanent connectivity even in a highly portable device will further blur the lines between a PC and a smartphone, simultaneously offering the portability and power efficiency of a phone, with the application compatibility, peripheral support, and enterprise manageability of a PC.
Longer term, it leaves us wondering how long it will be before the Windows 10 Mobile phone-style interface ends up getting rolled into the full Windows 10 system, in much the same way that the Creators Update rolls the Windows 10 Holographic HoloLens interface into the full operating system. We have asked if there are plans to produce 64-bit ARM builds of Windows Server as companies continue to try to push ARM processors into the server space; we were told only that there is no announcement this week of a server product.