Apple’s App Store Adds Old App Downloads for Legacy Devices

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Apple has extended the life of legacy iPhone and iPod touch models by adding the ability to download older versions of apps from the App Store. The new feature gives users the option of downloading apps that are compatible with the version of iOS that's running on their device, instead of facing alerts that say the apps they want aren't compatible.

Old iPod touch? No problem. Now you can download compatible app versions.Old iPod touch? No problem. Now you can download compatible app versions.

Instead of hunting to try to find apps that are compatible with the version of iOS that's installed on your older iPhone or iPod touch, just find the apps you want and start the download. If it's compatible, it'll install as usual, but if it isn't -- and an older app version that is compatible is available -- you'll see an alert giving you the option of downloading the older version that will run.

News of the feature first appeared on Reddit, and we tested it on an iPod touch running iOS 4.2.1. For anyone that's tried to restore an old iPod touch only to find they couldn't redownload their apps, this will be a very welcome feature.

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This is a very welcome App Store feature, and it means even more legacy iOS devices can continue to do their job instead of ending up in desk drawers collecting dust.

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Does this only work from the App Store app on the specific device? I (like many people, I would guess) have several iOS devices of different ages that all sync to the same Mac. I’ve never really tested it, but always wondered what happened when an old device syncs after a new (now incompatible) version of an app is available. Is iTunes smart enough to leave the old version intact on the older device?


This is a fantastic and consumer friendly move.
Really great.


A.  Well, duh!  This is a no brainer. But thanks Apple…..I guess.  “One step forward…....”
B.  Apple should also let you download, and store on a Mac, an app (or music, etc) that requires a more advanced iOS than you currently own.
Right before I bought my iPhone 4S, I saw “free music” and “free apps” that I wanted to obtain.  Couldn’t do it because Apple didn’t “see” that I owned any iOS device.
Same problem if try to obtain an app that requires an iOS that is more recent than your current iOS.
Same problem with Mac OS apps from the App Store.  Can’t obtain apps that require Lion or Mountain Lion if I am still on Snow Leopard.  But what if I want to hold onto that app in anticipation of obtaining Lion or ML?  Apple doesn’t allow that.
Just inform me of the issue, then it should be my choice of whether or not to download it.
C.  It would also help if Apple would inform you more up-front regarding the minimum system requirements of an iOS app or Mac app (on the first page of the app presentation), rather than make you click on the download button, then tell you that you can’t have it because it won’t run on your apparent system.
A lot of time can be wasted reviewing an app and deciding whether or not to purchase the app, only after all that effort to be allowed to find out that it is not compatible with your system.
D.  Apple has this belief that it can make things “simple” for novice morons—and has dumbed down everything so much that it is harder (and longer) for experienced Mac users to do basic tasks.


Will this work with iPad 1, also?

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