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Apple to Deprecate 32-bit iOS Apps

We’re approaching another of those inflection points where Apple leaves some apps — and their users — behind. When you launched an older 32-bit app in iOS 10, it first warned that the app might slow down your device. That was, as far as I could tell, not the case, but it was still disconcerting. With iOS 10.3, however, Apple went further, stating in no uncertain terms that the app would stop working with some future version of iOS. As to when that will be, there’s no telling, but iOS 11 would seem to be likely.

The iPhone 5s was the first iPhone with a 64-bit processor, and since it shipped in September 2013, developers have had the option to have their apps run in 64-bit mode. Starting in 2015, Apple has required apps to run in 64-bit mode to receive App Store approval.

The practical upshot of Apple’s iOS warnings is that most apps that haven’t been updated since 2015 will likely be rendered inoperable by whatever future version of iOS pulls the plug on 32-bit apps. I can’t imagine that there will be any way to keep running such apps, short of refusing to update to that version of iOS.

In iOS 10.3, Apple made it possible to see which of your apps will be affected. Navigate to Settings > General > About > Applications. The number next to Applications is the total number of apps installed, but when you tap Applications to see what’s inside, you see a list of 32-bit apps that have no 64-bit updates available. Tap any app to see its listing in the App Store, from which you can tap through to the developer’s Web site and theoretically ask if there will be an update. In most cases, the answer will likely be no.

To bring that question home to roost, what about the free TidBITS News app? When I first published this article, I said we were going to let it fade away for a variety of reasons, most notably that it wasn’t used by enough people to warrant updating. However, Matt Neuburg and I have now decided to reverse that decision, and he hopes to have a 64-bit version that’s fully updated for iOS 10 available soon. We’ll write more when it’s out.

At its heart, TidBITS News is an RSS reader dedicated to TidBITS, so you could instead use Apple’s built-in News app. To add TidBITS to your Favorites list in News, search for TidBITS in News and either tap the heart icon next to the appropriate search result, or tap the search result itself and then the heart icon in the upper right corner. From then on, just tap Favorites in the News toolbar and then the TidBITS tile to see all our articles.

If you want to add an RSS feed to News but can’t find it with a search from within News, you can use Safari. Navigate to the Web site in question, tap the share icon, and then tap Open in News in the share sheet. Once you’re in News, tap the name at the top of the screen to go to the main article list, and tap the heart button there.

Inscrutably, Apple’s News app isn’t available in countries other than the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, but iMore explains that you can get it by changing your region in iOS to one of those countries. Just navigate to Settings > General > Language & Region > Region. The News app should appear on one of your home screens after that; if it doesn’t, try restarting your device. I can’t predict what the downsides of changing your region might be, but if you switch back to your actual country, the News app will likely disappear again.

You can, of course, use any other RSS reader like Feedly or Reeder — click the RSS link in the upper left of our Web site for the URL. However, only logged-in TidBITS members get access to the full-text RSS feed for use in other apps.


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Comments about Apple to Deprecate 32-bit iOS Apps
(Comments are closed.)

James Atkinson  2017-05-05 11:04
I appear to be one of the 50 daily users and have appreciated having a one-stop shop for TidBits content.

Thank you for stepping through the Apple News/RSS alternative, which I'll do today.

Farewell, TidBits News app!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 11:11
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Apple's News app should work just fine for you.
david cuddy  2017-05-05 13:17
Not if you're in Canada. The iOS News app still isn't available here. Probably because we don't have 'Fake News'.

Oddly, the News widget does appear on my Today page, and the -1 Home page. But there's no way to control the sources of the news feeds it uses.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 13:22
Still? Sheesh... sorry about that. Reeder or Feedly should work in that case.
Frans Moquette  2017-05-05 18:41
I seem to be one of the 50 also, but also no Apple News app on my iPad. I'm in The Netherlands (aka Holland). I do have Newsify, will that work? Otherwise, back to reading with Safari?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-08 11:40
iMore says you can get the Apple News app in Canada by changing your region to the United States, United Kingdom, or Australia. I don't have a feel for what the downsides of doing that would be.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 19:06
I haven't used Newsify, but from what I see on their product page, yes, it should work. Just get the RSS feed URL from the RSS link in the upper left of our Web site (full text for TidBITS members). Safari's Reader view does a pretty good job too for individual articles.
Lewis Butler  2017-05-05 11:20
How it was explained to me is that iOS 10 doesn't load 32 bit libraries until it has to, so running a 32-bit app can easily slow down your entire device depending on how much memory you have and how much you switch apps.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 11:24
Could be, but in practice, I never noticed any change after running such an app on my iPhone 7. Perhaps it had sufficient RAM and CPU power to mask any slowdowns.
Martin Stoermer  2017-05-05 11:37
Quite a few paid apps on my phone are marked as being on this scrap heap. Some have new versions available with a new name for new $, which I'm a bit grumpy about. In the case of the free ones it's a bit bit annoying but meh.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 11:41
I totally understand and empathize with the irritation of needing to buy new apps, but you should lay that blame squarely at Apple's feet, since they created a situation where developers have no choice but to chase new sales instead of supporting loyal customers. If developers were allowed to charge for upgrades, there would be financial incentive to keep up with existing apps.
Frans Moquette  2017-05-05 19:01
I agree. With non-paid updates/upgrades Apple has done developers a big disservice. But not only developers, users also.
When you have to switch to a new app, you cannot acces your data in the old app, unless the data is in a cloud storage or the developer has provided a way to transfer it. If the old app does not work anymore on the new OS, you would loose all your data if you were not able to transfer it before the app stopped working
Not a great user experience I would think, for which only Apple is to blame.
Christopher Smith  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 19:33
While I can certainly understand that developers wish they could charge for upgrades (and why it incentivizes improvements to apps), it seems to me that allowing one's app to languish into obsolescence will definitely inhibit future sales.
Frans Moquette  2017-05-06 05:19
I agree with that too. Thing is, all products follow an S-shaped growth curve. Older product will be in the top of that curve with little to no new sales. The effort needed to update an older product often does not warrant the revenue from new sales, if any.
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2017-05-05 13:43
I knew Glyder would stop working some day. Oh well. But it will be a while yet since I gave up and now only update software and hardware when I have to. Not as secure, but less expensive and so much easier (except that I make even more offline backups to be safe).
Anonymous  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 14:55
What I would like to comment on is have an iPhone 4s iPad 4/128 both still running iOS 9.3.5. I have been reluctant to move the iPad to iOS 10, I keep erasing the software update (hanging in storage) because of the tricks Apple keeps trying to make me update the iPad 4. Since I have a fixed income and cannot see sense in a new iPhone 5s or 4SE that are 64bit and I haven't been won over with possibilities iOS 10, and without possible compatibility between devices. So this is what I am wondering?

1.What if I update one but not the other, anyone with insight or expertise foresee problems between iProducts?

2.This is in reference to the below info (under FYI), if I update the iPad to 10, I know I cannot go back is it worth it. Any help?

3.Since this is a sandbox world closing in, is it time to just freeze my technology now before it made useless by having to afford the latest and greatest Apple product (or Microsoft)every 2-5 years?

Just an FYI: Also my two Mac Pros are is similar place one a 2006/8 2,1 I upgrade the hardware my self to an 8-core so I frozen myself to 10.9.5 world with (64on32) and the used 2010 5,1 model can run 10.11 or 10.12 which seem to iffy, with all the beta crashing of Sierra I had.. At least I can roll back to my macOS of choice 10.9.5 on a different boot drive of the Mac Pro 5,1.

Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 16:45
It's hard to make concrete recommendations without knowing all the details, but it sounds like it might make sense to keep iOS 9.3.5 on both your devices, particularly if that matches with your Mac Pros and the equivalent version of iTunes (honestly, I don't know what versions match up offhand).

If you start upgrading things piecemeal, you will end up in a situation where something won't talk to something else, but it's hard to predict how that will happen.

The main thing to be aware of is that you aren't getting security updates, so you should be extra careful to avoid dodgy parts of the Internet.

At some point, some hardware will probably fail and force you to get something new, and that may be the event that encourages upgrading everything to the latest and greatest.
David Morrison  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 22:14
There is definitely a problem with upgrading iDevices if you connect them to a Mac and the Mac is not running a very recent version of OS X. Basically, older versions of iTunes will not talk to newer versions of IOS. What you get is a dialogue every time you plug in the device telling you this and advising you to upgrade iTunes - very annoying, since newer versions of iTunes will not run on older versions of OS X!

So say you are running OS X 10.8 with iTunes 12. Your iDevices are running IOS 9.3.5. This works fine. You then decide to upgrade to IOS 10 on a device. If you try to do it through iTunes, it will say you need to upgrade iTunes - this warning is pretty vague, and does not raise any alarms. Unfortunately, iTunes 12 is the last version that will run on OS X 10.8. So your only option is to upgrade OS X which may not be acceptable.

So you upgrade the device to IOS 10 over the Internet directly. Then plug it in to your Mac and get a warning from iTunes that it cannot talk to the device. Oops! No more backups of your device. No copying data files from apps to your Mac. No managing apps on your Mac.

What does work is that iPhoto will still transfer photos, and probably Image Capture too. Third party file access apps on the Mac can also access the device. It seems to just be iTunes that does not work.

Beware also that if you buy a new iDevice, it will not work with iTunes on your old Mac either.

Sadly there is definitely no going back after the upgrade. You are stuck with IOS 10.
Anonymous  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-08 12:32
Thank you, Adam, Yes I realize being from a Government agency that I regard as nameless, for safety of security is job one at Apple.
Anonymous  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-08 12:30
Thank You, David, I thought that might the devices road I have seen from Apple in the past, glaring at me in the rearview mirror.
Derek Roff  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 16:23
"The number next to Applications is the total number of apps installed, but when you tap Applications to see what’s inside, you see a list of 32-bit apps that have no updates available. "

I'm not seeing exactly what you describe in the article, on my iPad 4 with iOS 10.3.1. When I tap on Applications, I see the number of apps (100), and "inside", I see the text you list about "These apps may slow down your iPad...". No app names appear directly below that. Then I see in grey text "Updates available". Below that are app names, including apps that I upgraded today. I haven't counted, but I think all 100 apps might appear in this group. This includes major apps like App Store, Remote, FaceTime, Google, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Dropbox, etc. It doesn't make sense to me that these are all 32-bit applications, but it's likely that some of the apps I have installed are. I haven't been able to guess the ordering system for this list. It isn't alphabetical. It isn't by age, install date, or most recent update.

Tapping an arrow next to most apps will take me to the App Store, and show me that no update is available. A few say that the app is not available in the App Store. Below the last app on this list is grey text saying "No Updates Available". There are no apps listed under these words.

Can you give us a few more words about this app list, and how to interpret the groupings and ordering? Thanks.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 16:41
My best guess is that it's confused. :-) What I'd try is going to the App Store app, making sure that everything is updated, and then restart the iPhone (hold down both buttons until it restarts).
Derek Roff  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 17:15
Thanks for your response, Adam. A restart changed nothing for me, and the App Store shows no updates available. I guess I will wait and see what happens with the next iOS upgrade.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 17:17
The other thing you could try is signing out in Settings > iTunes & App Stores. Then sign back in and see if it has figured things out better.
Scott Chase  2017-05-15 19:28
I'm seeing the same thing on my iPad 4, IOS 10.3.1. What I assume is almost all of my apps listed under 'Updates Available' (even though they are all up to date), plus a number of 'hidden' apps or services such as 'SoftwareUpdateUIService'. Nothing listed under 'No Updates Available', although I know some are in the 'not compatible in future' category. My iPhone 6 with IOS 10.3.1 appears to produce a more accurate list of potentially incompatible apps, although one that I know is incompatible is not on the list. A clean restart and relogging from App store made no difference. So it's clearly a very buggy (and to me a not very useful) feature at present.
Timothy Pearson  2017-05-05 16:22
Reading TidBITS in Apple News doesn't work for me. Following your prescription, I added it to my favorites; but it only shows one article since 3 October 2016, and several unrelated articles about "Tidbits" from other sites.

If the iOS app stops working, I guess I will have to use the webpage instead.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-05 16:47
It sounds like your search hit "Tidbits" as a topic, rather than "TidBITS" as the publication. Try again, and make sure the one you're selecting has our capitalization. Tap it, and make sure it's our content, then tap the heart icon at the top right.
thanks guys! guess i wasn't the only one to ask, lol. i liked the app, really just to catch specific articles i see noted in FB or tweets. but the apple news will do. irony, i had never used apple news until now. keep up the good work, you are still my "go to" resource.
Roland G  2017-05-05 19:28
I'm an iOS developer since 2009. I have updated many apps to support 64bit and it really isn't a big deal. The developers of these apps just need to update their apps to support both 32/64 and all is well. At some point Apple needs to move on with their OS and I fully support that. If you don't want to update to 11, don't update, simple as that.
Matt Neuburg  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-09 13:07
It isn't that simple. Yes, the key step is simply to recompile with a 64-bit slice, which takes about two seconds. But TidBITS News is an iOS 6 app; it runs under iOS 10 only in a kind of emulation mode, where iOS 10 pretends to _be_ iOS 6. If you open the project with the latest Xcode in order to recompile it and make it 64-bit, you are linking it against the iOS 10 SDK and both the code and the interface need to be completely updated. In effect, the whole app must be rewritten from scratch. With TidBITS News, that's not really very difficult, but you can surely understand why, for many apps, their developers would find this daunting. And if the app is free or does not sell significantly, what's their motivation?
David Morrison  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 22:24
I use the app occasionally, when in waiting rooms or travelling, but generally prefer the weekly roundup that arrives by e-mail.

That said, I prefer the app's layout to News. News just shows the first few lines of each article to give you an idea of what it is about. This is often not helpful. In the app, there is a paragraph summarising the article, which often meant you did not even have to read the article if it was not of interest - a huge time saver.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-06 18:49
Hmm, I see what you mean — Apple News doesn't provide our blurb, just the first few lines of the article. I don't think there's any way to do that in News with an RSS feed. It might be possible with Apple News Format, but that's a whole 'nother ball of development wax. :-)
David Morrison  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 22:31
I am having trouble adding the member version of the RSS feed. I logged in with Safari and clicked on RSS feed. It asked me if I wanted to open it in News. I said yes, then it told me the story could not be found. Tidbits does not appear in the favourites list.

Going back to repeat this process, when I click on RSS, I get a message from Safari:
Cannot open page
Safari cannot open the page because the address is invalid.

Any ideas?
David Morrison  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 22:35
I quit News, and started again. Safari asked if I wanted to open the link in News. I said Yes. It showed the list of headlines, then said:

Story unavailable. This story is not available in News.

Given that I had not touched a story, this is mystifying…..
David Morrison  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-05 22:37
Even though Tidbits is not listed in Favourites, the Tidbits news items are still being shown…..
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-06 18:35
Can you just add it from the search in News? That's generally easier and will give the same result.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-06 18:50
What's weird is that it's working for me in Safari with no problems. Are you logged into the TidBITS site when you start adding? That might make a difference.
mahal from switzerland   2017-05-15 17:12
thanks for the update of the app!
Henrik Munster  2017-05-16 11:59
Also thanks from me. I was surprised but delighted to see the TidBITS app update yesterday. Thank you for reversing you decision. I think it's a nice little app, that does one simple thing very well. I always use it for reading TidBITS, but not every day, I must admit. I'm from Denmark, and we don't have the News app over here.
Sam Reichberg  2017-05-16 05:44
Compared with the browser (Chrome) display on my iPhone, the News App display of TidBITS is not zoomable. This is especially annoying when trying to zoom into images, which require opening it in a new page. Neither does the display resizes to the horizontal reading mode when rotating the iPhone. Hopefully, your updated app will preserve these features of the browser display.
Marc Rhodes  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-16 08:04
> tap Open in News in the share sheet.

Can anybody get this to work with random blogs? I use this on a blog page, go to News, and get a message that "This content is not available in News." I can add the same page to other RSS readers with no problem.

I'm assuming that TidBITS massaged their feed in some way to make it work but the average blog has not.

But if there's some secret I'm missing, please fill me in.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-16 10:21
No, we didn't massage our feed in any way to make it work. As far as I know, Safari auto-detects the RSS feed in some way, however, so some blogs may not do what's necessary for Safari to find it.

Perhaps try identifying the RSS feed manually and navigating to it directly in Safari first. Not sure what will happen, but it's worth a try. When I tap the RSS link on our site, for instance (just tried this for the first time), Safari pops a dialog asking "Open this page in "News"?"

Can you provide an example of a site that doesn't work so I can test too?
Marc Rhodes  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-05-16 22:13
Here's one:

Gets the error as I described.

If you go to the rightmost column and tap Entries RSS under Meta, it offers to open in News as you described but then also gives the "content not available" message.

I downloaded the Entries RSS link with curl and it at least looks like an RSS feed.
Hi Marc, did you ever figure out a solution to this problem? I have the same problem with

Update: just found this Reddit post that seems to indicate Apple News no longer supports RSS:

Apple News no longer supports RSS feeds - apple