A warning dialog discovered by developers working with the iOS 10.3 beta stating that apps that have not been updated to include 64-bit support “will not work with future versions of iOS” has led Sensor Tower to determine that the new restriction could affect about 8 percent of apps on the App Store, effectively rendering them obsolete. While there’s no solid evidence that iOS 11 will be the final cutoff for apps that are 32-bit-only, Apple has only been accepting 64-bit new app submissions since Feb. 1, 2015, and forcing app updates to follow the same requirements since June 1, 2015. That means the apps that would be rendered obsolete wouldn’t have been updated since early-2015 anyway, making it unlikely that they’re terribly popular and entirely possible that many have already been abandoned by their creators.
Apple has already taken some steps to clear out the dead weight in the App Store, announcing last September that it would be implementing “an ongoing process of evaluating apps” and removing any apps that “no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.” Since migrating from 32-bit to 64-bit often just requires enabling a different setting in Xcode, it’s highly possible that non-compliant apps haven’t been updated at all in years and would already be of little to no use as it is. But the change is all just speculation, and even if Apple aims to make the decision in the near future, the company has been known to push back its deadlines. A proposed requirement for all developers to ensure all apps were using Apple’s “App Transport Security” by the end of 2016 was pushed back last December. [via Apple Insider]