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Apple Now Allows Downloading Previous Versions of iOS Apps

by Ralph Winzinger on Sep 19, 2013 |

Since the release of iOS 7 brings a whole new interface design for iPhone applications, developers might be forced to rework the user-interface of their iPhone apps as well, to match Apple's new Human Interface Guidelines. But even if operating system fragmentation is not too much of a problem in the iOS world, there will be users staying on previous versions of iOS. Regarding the Human Interface Guidelines, apps designed for iOS 7 would be inappropriate for those users.

Up to now, iOS users were only able to download the latest version of an application available in Apple's app store. If an application was updated for a newer version of iOS, and a user with an older version of iOS wanted to download the app, he was simply prompted to upgrade his operating system first. If there was no newer versions of iOS available for his device or the user didn't want to upgrade, there was no way to install the application.

Along with the release of iOS 7, Apple refreshed its iTunes Connect Developer Guide and announced, that it is now possible for users to download previous versions of applications:

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.

For developers, this brings a certain flexibility regarding application updates, supported operation system versions and devices. It's now possible to keep a service alive for devices like iPhone 3G or 3GS which won't get any major iOS updates anymore. At the same time, current versions of an app can make use of new features or user interface elements.

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Updates motivated by bugs? by Pedro De Luna

What happens when the developer launchs a new release of his app fixing a bug or a glitch? And what about API deprecations and REST Calls the were descontinued? I'm not sure that allowing this kind of "user control" is a good idea.

Re: Updates motivated by bugs? by Ralph Winzinger

As far as I know, the developer still has the possibility to manage his apps. I an older version needs to be discontinued because of incompatible changes to services the app needs, it won't be downloadable any more. But now, it should be possible to fix bugs in older versions of an app or to upgrade some kind of REST protocol to keep it alive. Take WhatsApp, for example: There is no more version for iPhone 3G and the portocol (at least for initial authentication) has obviously changed. But why shouldn't they offer such a version? Now it seems to be possible.

Re: Updates motivated by bugs? by Prasad Maganti

i have a bug in my previous version, i do not want to allow users to download older version of my app. In this article it is specified "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". But i could not see previous version disable. please let me know how to disable previous versions

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