Apple surprised everyone by finally offering ‘last compatible’ versions for those running an older iOS. But is there a flaw in this?
So you pick up an iPhone 3G and it is running iOS4.2.1 – the last version of iOS it supports – and go to the App Store and download the Facebook app. You are prompted by the new ‘this app requires iOS 6 would you like to download the last compatible version’ – a handy new option, and it gives you the last version to run on iOS4.2.1.
This is a brilliant new strategy from Apple. It enables older iDevices running iOS 4 upwards (as this doesn’t work for OS 3) to continue to be used, creating an even bigger iPhone user base and saving many old iPones from being thrown in a drawer.
But after my last few articles on the subject (‘Last Compatible’ App Versions Now Offered for Older iDevices and Apples ‘Last Compatible’ Policy Updated), a reader sent in a very good question.
If you have an iDevice on iOS 6 or earlier you have to manually update apps when an update arrives – unlike iOS 7, which can auto-update in the background. However, what happens if you are a bit slow updating and an even newer iOS 7 version comes out, despite you not having the latest iOS 6 version installed.
Will you be stuck on an older version, or will you be prompted with an update to the latest version to run under iOS 6.
Let me show you an example of what I mean:
You have an iPhone 3GS running iOS 6.1.3. My favourite app is SuperCoolGiraffeGenius, and I am using version 4.2. However, I haven’t updated to version 4.4, which is the last version to run under iOS 6, as version 5.0 requires iOS 7.
Will my iPhone tell me there is version 4.4 available to upgrade to, or will I have to theoretically delete SuperCoolGiraffeGenius from my iPhone and then use Apples ‘last compatible’ trick to download version 4.4.
It is an interesting question, and as the above was just an example, I cannot answer that personally. I own an iPhone 4 running iOS 7.
If it turns out you have to delete and reinstall, that would be fine for the odd app, but it could be seriously time consuming if you have lots of apps on your device.
If any readers out there find themselves in this position, I would love to know the answer.
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