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Don’t Want the Latest Version of iOS? You Can Still Download ‘Last Compatible Version’ Apps

Posted on September 17, 2013 1:00 PM by Rob Williams
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Generally speaking, you wouldn’t imagine that using a phone three of four years old would be that much of a problem, but when the time comes to install some apps, you might run into a couple of roadblocks. This can be true with apps that used to work on your phone, but have been updated to support a newer OS that you don’t have. It can be frustrating, to say the least.

Some developers get around this issue by forking their software, making one version “final” and then moving on with the updated version. Unfortunately though, this isn’t that common, especially by companies that are rather ignorant of how mobile development should be done.

iOS Last Compatible App

With a newly discovered feature in iOS, it seems that Apple is keen on having its users not have to deal with these hassles again. It’s called ‘Last Compatible Version’, and it’s truly simply in design: When downloading a now-unsupported app, you’ll be told that the most up-to-date version isn’t supported by your iOS, but you’ll given an option to download the last version of the app released that does support it.

If there’s any limitation to speak of here, it’s going to be when a protocol an outdated app uses changes, in effect making the app useless. In this particular case, developers would have the option to push out a new version specifically designed for older iOS releases, but chances are that they might just pull a page from Apple’s book and look to the future. Given the amount of time it could take to backtrack and update older apps, it’s easy to understand why many may prefer to take that route.

In the end, though, this is a fantastic feature, and one that could save people a lot of headaches. Google, are you ready to follow suit here?


  • e550mercedes

    Sounds like a great idea. I’ve also always liked how Apple allows older Mac OS’s that it no longer supports, like OS 8, 9, etc., to be downloaded by owners of older Macs for FREE any old time they please! If you have an older Mac you can download any Mac OS from the fat Mac to OS 9. I’m not sure Apple does this with older iOS software, but with the Mac they do. I may not be too crazy about me sharing my ISP with three others like I’m now doing (thankfully, they are moving at the end of the month and I’ll be stopping that practice), but sharing older software that is no longer supported is fantastic idea, just like being able to download the last compatible version. Go Apple!

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