Way back in iOS 9 Apple began warning users that any 32-bit apps could be slowing down your device. You saw this warning when you tapped on a 32-bit app to launch it on your iPhone or iPad. In iOS 10.3, Apple changed this warning to something direr: the 32-bit app you just launched will stop working completely when iOS 11 comes out.
The good news is is that since July 2016 Apple has required all apps and app updates developers submit to the app store be 64-bit compatible. So many of your most frequently used apps are likely 64-bit by now. However, you may still have a handful of older apps or, more likely, older games, that the developers have abandoned or not updated in a long time.
Many of these will be 32-bit apps. At the time, these 32-bit apps and games were cutting edge: built to run on the 32-bit processors found in older iOS devices. However, beginning with the iPhone 5s, iOS devices included 64-bit chips – and any 32-bit apps running on these 64-bit A series chips could actually slow down your phone.
If you’re wondering, iOS devices that sport 64-bit chips include the iPhone 5s/SE/6/6s/7, the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4, the sixth-generation iPod touch, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch iPad (2017), and any iOS device going forwards.
If you’re concerned about this and do not want to upgrade to a brand new iPhone, you do have plenty of options for getting an iPhone for a lot less than the going rate charged by Apple.
I’ve personally bought a few reconditioned iPhones over the years and, if money’s tight or you’re saving, it is definitely worth considering, providing you go with a reputable supplier. I tend to use Gazelle, as they’re fairly well established and have decent customer service.
You should read my full overview of buying a reconditioned iPhone, however, in order to get a better idea of the type of savings you can make as well as what models are available.
Why 32-bit Apps Slow Down Your iPhone
iOS includes multiple frameworks that enable the operating system to launch and run apps. When iOS is running on a 64-bit device it loads the 64-bit iOS frameworks to run on it, which can handle 64-bit apps just fine. But when you launch a 32-bit app on a 64-bit device, iOS actually needs to load a completely different series of 32-bit frameworks, which means the RAM in your device now needs to divide its power between 32-bit and 64-bit frameworks. With the Ram’s attention, if you will, divided between the two different frameworks, it can’t focus all its efforts running on just one–so everything on your phone (multitasking, for example) gets slowed down.
With iOS 11, the operating system will no longer support 32-bit frameworks. This will greatly help speed up your iOS device. However, it will also mean that 32-bit apps and games are now impossible to run on devices running iOS 11.
How To Check Which Apps Are 32-bit
As we said, the good news is that you’ve updated your favorite apps since July 2016, they’ll already be 64-bit. However, if the developer released the app before July 2016 and hasn’t updated it since, there’s a chance it could be only 32-bit. So which apps on your device are 64-bit and which are 32-bit? Here’s how to check:
- Tap Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap About.
- Tap Applications.
Here you’ll see a list of all the apps on your device that are still 32-bit. If you tap on any app in the list it’ll take you to that app’s listing in the App Store to see if there’s an update available. If there is, download it and you’ll be able to keep using the app once iOS 11 is released.
What To Do If You Have 32-bit Apps You Love
But what if there’s no 64-bit update? Then, frankly, you are $#!+ out of luck. The only thing you can do is tweet or otherwise, contact the developer to implore them to update the app to support 64-bit. If they don’t do it by the time iOS 11 ships and is installed on your device, their app or game will stop working on your device altogether.
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