The launch of Apple’s next mobile operating system later this year will see almost 200,000 apps become obsolete if developers don’t save them from a digital death sentence.
App developers have been warned that their older 32-bit apps will no longer be compatible with the future version of iOS, as Apple moves in preference of 64-bit processors.
Experts claim the company’s upcoming iOS 11 update, due in autumn in Australia, will cull approximately 187,000 apps from the App Store.
It comes as a warning to developers of outdated apps with a message in the newest iOS 10.3 update: “The developer of this app needs to update it to improve compatibility. This app will not work with future versions of iOS.”
RIP 32-bit emulation mode in iOS 11? pic.twitter.com/byMFuJPuVN
— Peter Steinberger (@steipete) January 31, 2017
Apple has pushed for a shift to newer code for years, since it began supporting 64-bit code with the iPhone 5S in 2013.
However, in 2015, Apple outdated 32-bit only app updates, stating all new iOS apps submitted for approval must support 64-bit processors.
And now, it appears the tech giant has gone a step further, removing all support for older architecture altogether.
“Apple has been working to purge its platform of broken or unsupported apps in recent months, separately from its initiative to encourage 64-bit compatibility,” tech firm Sensor Tower founder Oliver Yeh wrote.
“It’s likely that Apple is aiming to reduce the ‘bloat’ and increase the performance of future iOS versions on new 64-bit devices with this (potential) move.”
According to Sensor Tower research, games comprise the single largest category of potentially obsolete apps, with more than 38,600 games (20.6 per cent of the total) on the chopping block.
The games category was followed by education (10.6 per cent), entertainment (7.6 per cent) and lifestyle (6.9 per cent) rounding out the top five largest categories targeted.
This includes apps such as Peggle Classic, Flappy Bird, Great Lightsaber, Ocarina, True Skate, Spikes and Ridiculous Fishing, which helped put iPhone gaming on the map, along with a number of other indie games.
“For many potentially affected apps, especially those with very few downloads, even the (relatively) small amount of effort required to get them up to snuff may not be a worthwhile investment for their developers,” Mr Yeh said.
It wouldn’t be the first time Apple has undertaken an app culling, after it was found last year that 16 per cent of apps hadn’t been updated in more than three years.
The company removed more than 47,000 apps in October soon after.
Apple has released a new tool to help highlight apps that will be rendered obsolete by the next major update to its iOS operating system.
The latest iOS 10.3 update includes a menu item (in Settings > General > About > Applications), which will show a list of all the installed apps that don’t run in 64-bit mode.