The Appocalypse is coming: Will your favorite apps survive?


Originally published at:

iOS •

Here’s a “fun” game to play if you’ve updated to iOS 10.3: Go to Settings > General > About > Applications and take a look at the list. These are the apps you have on your phone right now that won’t work at all once Apple removes compatibility for 32-bit apps in a future iOS version.

Here’s my list:

[caption id=“attachment_1690” align=“aligncenter” width=“281”] Dead apps walking.[/caption]

Almost all of these are real bummers to me in some way, but I’ve got to say that Honeycomb Hotel is personally the worst potential loss. I think there’s some hope for an update still, but most of the other apps on my list probably won’t be getting one, for a variety of reasons. TouchArcade and AppShopper, for instance, haven’t been able to release updates for years, thanks to a rules change that banned apps that watch the App Store for price changes. Flappy Bird was infamously pulled from the App Store by its developer at the height of its popularity over concerns that it was too addictive. Perhaps the saddest story behind an app on this list is I Am Level. Stewart Hogarth, the developer of the excellent pinball exploration-platformer hybrid, tragically passed away in 2015.

My heart skipped a beat the other day when I checked my list for the first time and saw 868-HACK. Luckily, Michael Brough gave it an update on Tuesday that adds 64-bit compatibility and also tweaks the balance a bit. In his blog post for the update, he opens with a mini-rant against the continued inconveniences that Apple is putting developers through to keep their apps available on the App Store. Luckily for us, he’s going to soldier through and try to get his other apps up-to-date, too.

This impending 64-bit requirement once again hammers home the need for software preservation and exposes a major downside to Apple’s “walled garden” approach to iOS. Frivolous as it may seem, Flappy Bird is a historically important game that will soon become (even more, considering that you can’t even download it anymore) unplayable, at least on iOS. And even games that aren’t necessarily “important” deserve to be preserved! Projects like the Video Game History Foundation, The Internet Archive, and byuu’s work give me some hope for the future, but between the 64-bit requirement and the yearly developer fee required to keep even free apps on the App Store, it seems like Apple sees apps as disposable. I’ve been paranoid enough to keep backups of nearly every app I’ve downloaded and my old 5s on an older firmware, so I’ll still be able to use these apps in some form, but it’s a shame that that looks to be the only way.

What does your list look like? Feel free to speculate/mourn in the forum thread.

Update 4/10/2017:

Everett Kaser, the developer of Honeycomb Hotel, let me know today that he’ll be working on updates over the next couple of months. Rejoice! We’ll be keeping an eye out for news on the apps you’ve listed in the forums as well.


This is another reason to not upgrade. I’m still on iOS 9 because I wanted to keep Game Center and I didn’t see any compelling reasons to upgrade. I may finally relent because I’m tired of telling my iPad that I don’t want to update and Game Center doesn’t really do much anymore. But the benefits of 64-bit don’t seem to be promising enough to outweigh the loss of some apps I actually use (AppShopper and TouchArcade; there are probably others I don’t know about).


I own an iPad 4, which won’t run 64-bit apps. How will this 64-bit mandate affect me? Or will it affect only those apps that are not both 32- and 64-bit compatible?


It should not affect you at all for the apps you have. You will not be able to upgrade you iPad 4 to the future iOS that is only 64-bit. However, you may no longer be able to buy new apps because they will only be 64-bit apps.


That’s what I had figured based on the initial reports. Thanks for the confirmation!


Most of the ones on my list aren’t surprises. Samurai hasn’t been updated in forever. I’d be sad to lose it, but not shocked. Same story with Stone Age.

Trainyard was one of the first games to really get me hooked on iOS apps, so that’s a bummer.

The lone shocker in the bunch: Lords of Waterdeep. I don’t play it often–and maybe nobody does, which is why it hasn’t been updated–but I do really enjoy the game.


Don’t we have somebody from Playdek who posts here?

Hopefully he’ll chime in.

Penny Arcade is also on the list. I have an ongoing game set up with two of my friends.



I admit I’ll be sorry to see LoW go too, although admittedly I haven’t played a game of that in forever. Went through my phone after seeing this and the only app I’ll miss is FlightTrack 5. I’ll check out the iPad later…


Definitely concerned about LoW. Is this just an iOS issue?


Well, from Brough’s blog it seems like it’s not actually that huge of a deal to change. A licensing issue could maybe prevent an update there, though? I’m no expert on such issues.


i just updated to iOS 10.3 and it shows me 40 of my 201 installed apps as incompatible with “future versions of iOS” :confounded:

many high priced apps (Final Fantasy Tactics, Baldur’s Gate, Space Hulk), many board game apps (SmallWorld2, Kingdom Builder, Stone Age, Through the Desert, Qin, Samurai) and many classics (Elder Sign, Galaxy on Fire2, Bard’s Tale, Greed, Baphomet, Osmos).
i must be crazy to update to iOS 11. so thx, but no.


Your mention of Space Hulk is what finally made me realize that Deathwatch obsoleted Soace Hulk for me. I never liked the narrow channels of SH.

I’ll be sad to see Battle of Hill 218 go, if it does. That’s been a superb short game for years, and I still play it a few times a week.


I cleaned out a lot of my old apps when I bought a new iPad. The only games listed for me are XCOM:EW and Motorsport Manager.


Seriously? Wow. So many of my old games I keep around and play every so often are on this list: Elder Sign, Nightfall, Le Harve, Stone Age, Nightmare Coop, Ridiculous Fishing, Canabalt, Groove Coaster, Monsters Ate My Condo, Peggle, Joe Danger, WOPR (which seems apt for this thread…), Dungeon Raid… Yikes. Not to mention a few non-gaming apps I still use.

This wasn’t a very fun game:(


If ios 11 is expected in the autumn, then that gives is 6 months for one last blast of our favourites before they split the community.

I could handle a few more async games right now, like le havre for instance


Argh! I knew it was coming but still ARGH!

Definetly staing at 10.3…apple can bugger of with their policy…

censored red hot fuming rage


A small piece of insight from a dev talking about “just going into the App and only changing 3 lines of code to get it working in 64bit mode…”

That even more spells gloom and doom for me :-/


Caylus will not be updated. Just heard from the developer:

I’m afraid not. Sales are way too low to make this effort profitable.

No mention of Eclipse, but at BoardGameGeek, it sounds like Eclipse will be updated.


I hate to sound like a broken record, but if Caylus ever had a functioning multiplayer system it might have developed enough sales to make the update worthwhile! I bought this day 1, spent 2 weeks trying to get a multiplayer game to work without the game disappearing, then gave up and never played it again.


Here’s some good news: Everett Kaser told me today that Honeycomb Hotel and his other apps should be updated in the next couple of months.