With iOS 7 on its way tomorrow, a post published on Reddit provides insight into exactly how Apple plans to deal with legacy hardware running older versions of iOS. It appears the company will offer the “last compatible version” of an application for that particular device and iOS version, even if that version of the app is fairly dated. This move prevents older iOS devices, such as the iPhone 3GS, from being locked out of the app ecosystem as apps update and support newer devices only.

Image source: Reddit
Image source: imgur

The image to the right shows a user attempting to install the Twitter app on what is claimed to be a second-generation iPod touch. This model of the iPod touch only supports iOS 4, yet the latest Twitter app requires at least iOS 5.0 or later. Thanks to Apple’s newfound support for legacy devices, this iPod touch can now download the last compatible version of Twitter for iOS 4.

There is no guarantee these apps will work correctly, however. As one Reddit user noted, newer versions of apps may utilize newer API calls or connect to different servers, which would effectively break an app that relies heavily on Internet connectivity (such as Twitter). For apps that primarily work offline, legacy device users shouldn’t experience many issues other than the fact that they won’t have the latest and greatest features.

Apple’s support for older devices and older versions of iOS could be seen as acknowledgement that older models still have a lot of life left in them. The release of an updated model doesn’t mean that everyone runs out and buys it; there are many who get along just fine with iPhones, iPod touches and iPads from two, three or even four years ago. These users should at least have the option to run some version of an app on their device, even if the newest version no longer supports their hardware and iOS version.


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We’ll stay on this story and fill you in as we learn more. In the meantime, break out that old iPhone 3GS and download away.

Source: Reddit via TNW


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