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Earlier this week, we noted that Apple has begun allowing users on older versions of iOS to download older versions of their previously purchased apps. This feature exists because some iOS users are running hardware that no longer supports newer versions of App Store applications. At launch, this feature was auto-activated for all developers, and these developers were not able to manage what users on older hardware could download. Now, Apple has informed developers that they could manage the availability of their legacy software:

Previous versions of your apps are now available for re‑download 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.

Apple says that developers can conduct the app availability management via iTunes Connect, the web portal where all app management is conducted by developers.

The ability for developers to manage which legacy application versions could be downloaded by customers is critical. Some applications, such as server-based ones, will (on the backend) end support for older versions of applications. If a customer downloaded a legacy application that does not function properly, this would result in a negative user-experience for the customer. Now, developers could choose which of their older app versions is available for customers, making it simple for developers and customers to now avoid these potential issues.

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6 Responses to “App Store developers now allowed to manage legacy app availability”

  1. standardpull says:

    Fortunately, most quality developers will continue to allow older versions of their software to be installable. After all, that software is already installed on devices and within their iTunes library. Removing software from the app store doesn’t remove older versions from circulation in any way, shape, or form. It simply erodes the user base.

    Even considering that, some software developers will use this as an opportunity to attempt to force the obsolescence of their already paid for products in order to encourage users to pay for their software again. Not cool.

    As for those developers that have changed or eliminated server-side components – again, removing the availability of the download doesn’t actually eliminate that problem for the current customer base.

    • James Finley says:

      Small note: If an app is API driven, often times those APIs change which causes a need to update said app. Allowing a customer to download a broken version of your app that you already stopped supporting— and released patches for— isn’t good business.

  2. This is great, now we can blame the scumbag app developers for not wanting to support older devices instead of Apple :) Way to go Apple, best move they’ve made in months.

  3. Jim Phong says:

    “Now, developers could choose which of their older app versions is available for customers, making it simple for developers and customers to now avoid these potential issues.”—BUT this doesn’t mean that a developer could submit any new build version for old hardware. So.. how can a developer fix anything it updating apps for old hardware is not allowed?