Apple’s ‘Last Compatible Version’ Policy Updated

Earlier this week, Apple changed its App Store policy to allow older versions to be downloaded. This policy has since been updated.

Apple’s change of heart means older iDevices not capable of running the latest iOS can carry on being used. Check out my earlier article, ‘Last Compatible’ App Versions Now Offered for Older iDevices.

However, it would appear that not all developers were happy about this, claiming bug fixes fixed in newer versions or old APIs could cause problems and security issues.

Apple seem to have listened and has now given developers the option to offer old versions or not. A good move by Apple, meaning now if a problem occurs it will be down to the developer allowing that app version to be downloaded and not because of a ‘free-for-all’ policy by Apple.

Previous versions of your apps are now available for redownload by users who have already purchased them, allowing customers to use your apps with older devices which may no longer be supported by the current version of your app. If you do not wish to make these versions available, you can manage the availability of your apps’ previous versions in the Rights and Pricing section of the Manage Your Apps module in iTunes Connect.

The only part I am a little unclear about is the ‘redownload by users who have already purchased them’. This sounds like a major U-turn to me – or am I just reading it wrong?

This sounds like your Apple ID has to have already downloaded it previously, or does this only apply to paid for apps?

What about somebody who has never owned an iPhone and, because of the change in attitude towards older app versions, decides to pick up an iPhone 3G or 3GS. These wouldn’t have downloaded any apps previously.

Would they still have access to free apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Shazam, eBay, Sky+, or XE Currency, for example – all of which work in iOS 6, will no doubt update to require iOS 7? If not, then there is no mileage in picking up an older iPhone or iPad, thus undoing the good news of the ‘last compatible’ app availability.

I hope this gets clarified.


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2 thoughts on “Apple’s ‘Last Compatible Version’ Policy Updated

  1. ‘Purchased’ in App Store parlance includes free apps that have been downloaded by the user. They were still ‘purchased’, even though they have no cost.

    Accordingly, you will find free apps under the ‘Purchased’ section in the App Store app, both in iOS and OS X.

  2. I’m surprised there isn’t an “Upgrade to last compatible version” option: I’m sure I hadn’t updated apps in awhile (if it ain’t broke…) and during the recent iOS 7 update hubbub I very well may have missed the last compatible version of some app updates before they became iOS 7 exclusive. Don’t really relish having to backup, delete, and then re-download them all to get the last available version. :/

    Better way?