The writing has been on the wall for quite a while now through various warnings when users load 32-bit apps. The TouchArcade app, for instance, is among the many 32-bit apps which display a message about how they need to be updated. We've spent quite a bit of time on our podcast debating how and when Apple is finally going to rip the bandaid of 32-bit compatibility off iOS, and as of this morning, it seems that it has begun. As pointed out by TA reader Severed, 32-bit apps no longer appear in App Store search results.

Try it for yourself, head to the App Store, and search for any 32-bit app or game. You can no longer directly search for the TouchArcade app [Free], Ridiculous FIshing [$2.99], Dungeon Raid [$0.99], Super Crate Box [$1.99] and many, many other games and apps. They're still available for download via the direct URL, which makes searching AppShopper more useful than searching the App Store right now.

In theory, this should light a massive fire under the collective butts of any developer that has a 32-bit game or app they still care about people being able to download. Removing them from the default App Store search means they effectively don't exist anymore to the vast majority of people out there who don't know the trick of just using a direct link or clicking through on a site like TouchArcade or AppShopper. On our side of things, this is just one more nail in the coffin for the TouchArcade app, which we can't update due to a shift in Apple policies preventing "store within a store"-like apps. Enjoy it while it lasts, and stay tuned for WWDC news next week where I'm sure we'll hear more about Apple's plans moving forward with (or, more accurately, without) 32-bit apps.

Update: Well, it seems 32-bit apps are once again searchable on the App Store. We'll need to read some tea leaves to figure out what this means, but either way there was a good 12-24 hours where 32-bit apps vanished from App Store search. Whether this was a test for something that's coming in the future, or just a mistake on Apple's part is anyone's guess. If we knew why Apple does the things they do, we wouldn't be on Patreon.

  • houseofg

    Don't ask for whom the bell tolls... 🙁

  • brianj22

    So what's the deal, is this just a big f**k you from Apple to devs and consumers? Like everything works fine as is but let's complicate things for no reason.

    • morgawr

      Seems that way to me

    • Eli Hodapp

      There's loads of valid reasons to force a migration to 64-bit binaries, but it's sort of unbelievable how poorly Apple has been communicating this. From the looks of things, iOS 11 will come out, people will update it, and not understand at all why some of the old apps they've potentially paid for and have been using for years no longer work at all.

      At least with the PPC to x86 migration there was a good six years of Apple explaining what was happening versus "I can't find this app I like anymore."

      • Wizard of Odyssey

        If I were Hair Force One, I would release an app that would run the 32-bit, orphaned, and de-listed apps in a sandboxed environment, separate from the rest of the system, possibly without internet access. Charge ten bucks for it if feeling greedy. The Rosetta feature in OSX was supported for years as you say. It would be a shame to lose the ability to run ancient apps.

        Or, maybe they're just like "forget that stuff, adapt or die," and publishers get used to the modern way of doing things. I guess that's OK too, as there are plenty of games to play.

      • brianj22

        On my phone at least, when I run a non updated app, I get a message that says the game won't work with future versions of iOS and an option to look at a list of all the apps on my phone with the same problem, so for me, Apple was actually very clear about what was happening. I can't say I'll have sympathy for the people who blindly update and then wonder why their old apps don't work. You don't have to look very far to find out why.

      • Eli Hodapp

        If you think normal people read pop-up messages you've never watched someone else use a computer, phone, or anything else.

      • heratiki

        So they don't read popups and somehow that's Apple's fault? The popups have been around for quite a long time.

      • j.dillinger

        Way to generalize your sample data. Pfff...

      • imdakine1

        I saw the list once and don't know how to see it again?

      • Wroderick Condaye

        Go to general settings and "about" on your device. In the info you will see how many apps you have installed and can click it to see the ones affected

      • imdakine1

        So my iOS tells me to upgrade to iOS 10.3.2 I'm assuming I shouldn't upgrade if I still want to play these games.

      • Wroderick Condaye

        That's what I am running on my iPhone. 10.3.2 isn't affected, it will either be the next update or IOS 11

      • volcanopele

        How much clearer could they have been‽. Developers have had to submit 64-bit binaries for the last year and they have dialog boxes for 32-bit apps for the last six. If developers couldn't figure out what was coming, then that's the developers fault, not Apple's.

      • dannyR

        Wow, how often does one see interrobang‽

      • Nathan Reinauer

        Well that was a fun rabbit hole. Thanks!

      • islesfan

        Every new version of iOS some of my old apps stop working. But, the same thing happened with Windows. Unfortunately, that's life with computers. If you want your games to work forever, you have to stick to consoles.

    • cakewalker

      Yes it is.

  • sabre31

    This is piss poor way of doing it. They should let 32bit apps run with the warning message. You know a lot of apps will not be updated for months to come and users will be the ones left out in the cold. I know Apple touts how quick their new iOS versions are installed by users but I can see this back firing where people will hold off until their are updated first.

  • djmartincook

    I just searched for cave co.,ltd. on the App Store.
    The result was not good!

    • djmartincook

      Also noticed if search let's say "punch quest" you get no result, however if you search for the developer you can find it that way...

      • vectorarchitekt

        Only through "also by" section

  • AlexBi

    And great super classic like baldur's gate (1 and 2), civilization revolution 2, shadowrun are in this situation...

    • darkfyra

      All my games are fine except that both Lunar SST and FFTactics gave me a warning that they might not work in future versions,I just checked my other games all work just fine.

  • Stetch

    Cant keep supporting old tech. Sometimes we must go on. If the developers want their crowd to keep playing their games they Will update them. Im not a developer and dont know how much work it is to make 32-bit app to 64. But I can see it being rather time consuming for games like Baldurs Gate and such.

    • darkfyra

      They're on it's easy to get them back(bought them on PC/Steam quite a long time ago)

    • cakewalker

      It's a shitty move only Apple pulls off.
      They do the same on macOS.

      If you had any games you'd like and played which are at 32 you wouldn't say this kinda stuff.

      • darkfyra

        If they are on Steam atleast I can get them back....but I will loose FFTactics...sigh,will go back to consoles,handelds and PC instead atleast I won't loose my games.

      • cakewalker

        Yeah windows is more reliable for legacy + you have emulators.

        Got this tablet caus it's portable though

      • darkfyra

        Had to get one for CEGEP(college) so not my choice.I still have my old PSP to get the PSP version of them(both Lunar and Tactics have a PSP version),the other option is getting the psone classics on the ps3 ps store.Wish more classics would release on PC though,I want the history of gaming to be kept alive and preserved.

      • OrangutanKungfu

        TBF, if you stick to consoles you do keep the compatibility - yay for the Switch! - but I'm actually on my third iPhone now: 3GS, then 4S and now a 6. All my 32-bit apps will still work on my 4S, as I don't think it will accept iOS 10 or above. How many apps released since the launch of, say, the 5 are going to disappear? I'd imagine it's not that big a proportion.

      • Stetch

        I have way over 1000 iOS games. So yeah ... I do have a lot I will not longer be able to play. Games I enjoyed. But it doesnt matter how much I complain. 64-bit is here to stay.

      • cakewalker

        Good for you then for not caring whatever Apple does.
        I still think it's shitty.

        Esp since they are not unsolvable problems. They are just not bothered

      • cakewalker

        Will you keep buying games? I really put on the breaks the past few months. This keeps happening and there is always a 'good reason'.
        The bigger publishers are already leaving.

        This type of move isn't great for indie devs.

        You'll just end up with mor Iap titles or ftp models.

      • Mariko

        I'm in the exact same position as you. Having got my first iOS device in 2010, I've wracked up a massive amount of games, since then. Now, I've got no doubt that at the very least, that a significant amount of them will be updated.

  • volcanopele

    If you couldn't figure out that this would happen when Apple started requiring new apps to be 64-bit, then app updates to be 64-bit, and then added dialog boxes stating that this app hasn't be updated to 64-bit when you launch it, then I'm sorry, that's on you the developer, not on Apple. It's not Apple's fault that some developers couldn't be bothered to keep their apps updated.

    I understand that TA is in a strange state of both in the App Store and also not following present guidelines, but then again I didn't pay for this app so it going away wouldn't be the end of the world. There is this magical app called Safari that allows me to get to TA without an app. But this doesn't apply to all the games listed. If the developers are still drawing money from it and they still can't be bothered to update to a 64-bit binary, then that's not Apple's fault the developer has abandoned the app.

  • sabre31

    This is fine and dandy but you know some developers who made very little on the App Store won't bother to update but yet I am one of those people that bought their app and now I must suffer for that. Give me an option in settings to allow it to run 32bit apps if I want. So what if it slows down my phone let me make that decision and not apple for me.

  • Mince0

    So I have complained about this I through a apple AppStore support chat, the agent knows nothing about the app removal and has put me on hold for 3-5 minutes while he discusses this internally because he even said it seem very silly

    • Mince0

      You could probably still install these apps using cydia impactor and a dodgy copy of the ipa

      • cakewalker

        Hard to believe Piracy and bootlegs are what's left :/

  • bdelbanco

    Could you remove the links to the games from the app to keep it alive and monetize purely with in app ads?

  • Assault_is_eternal

    Will this benefit the end user in any way? I'm on the fence about updating my main device, but will keep my older devices on iOS 10. I know that it's speculation at this point, but will an older device get better battery life under iOS 11? Will a device become (dare I say it) "Snappier" when 32-bit support is dropped?

  • cakewalker

    I can understand the idea behind pushing people to newer devices. But pushing off so many apps, many of them praised by apple themselves is very poor.

    It has gotten impossible to defend iOS as a platform for premium games. Many of the big publishers have abandoned their premium titles. Small indie devs are forced to keep updating their apps almost twice a years to deal with all kinds of changes.

    Apple continues to push people towards the casino iap and ftp models.

    I've already gotten a Vita and Switch looks tempting too. Will not buy a new tablet.

    Very disappointed, again.

    • sabre31

      Agree with you. I bought a switch and never looked back. I use my iPad now for movies, books and comics and I get a new
      iPad each year from work. I bought the switch and it's a perfect gaming tablet. Top of the line I think Nintendo hit it out of the ball park can't wait for virtual console to show up.

      • imdakine1

        I left console gaming but decided to get a Switch to play BOTW and still have a Nintendo 3ds. While I like the crazy variety and price points of ios gaming I'm going to be satisfied with BOTW for a while!

        I am disappointed that many of my iOS games won't get the 64bit treatment.

      • Michal Hochmajer

        I am curious!
        Games like Final fantasy tactics and Baldur's gate not updated?
        These big ports were reason, why I ended with ipad playing instead desktop.
        Whatever, more reasons to leave the platform...

        BOTW is indeed master design class, but for some reason I can't kick myself to play it that often. But this weekend. I had so freaking hilarious time with ARMS!
        Only four hours in total, but I love it. Can't say for sure about future, thanks to limited battle capabilities if compared to traditional fighting games, but Arms is brilliant!
        Ideal game to play like 30 min for maximum fun! Hope they will add some more sophisticated combos. Different game modes are also great. Totally love it!

      • Onikage725

        I also have a Switch, as well as a GPD XD android gaming handheld and a Note 4. I tend to use my iPad for work and school functionality, video streaming, and certain games that are better on a larger screen or simply iOS exclusive, I don't game on iOS primarily as I once did, and it is little stresses like this that pushed me to other platforms. I've been playing Baldur's Gate EE on my Note with the S Pen and it is wonderful. And no chatter on the android side of things about the app dying with upcoming updates.

      • cakewalker

        Apple is just not serious about all of this.
        Nintendo much more so. It's about games.

        Vita is an edge case I guess. But would pull this type of stuff.

  • Severed

    Thank you so much for the mention!! I'm glad you guys helped get the word out because all of this is coming much too soon! 🙁

  • Adams Immersive

    Long live the AppShopper web site!

  • RinoaHeartily

    What the reason TA still in 32 bits? Make it 64 and then more people will able to download this and use the community service and hopefully more patreons? Doesn't it make sense

    • Luke Goodall

      Your answer is in the last paragraph of this article.

  • Calleg

    Why is the TA app a shop in shop (as mentioned)? Are links to apps forbidden?!

    • Severed

      Even though TA is not a store, Apple is very strict and usually clear on what they want and don't want their consumers to be doing and anytime there is a third party involved that makes things easier for the consumer but takes them away from their big process (even just something simple like reviews), they try to make it crumble.

      • darkfyra

        Heurgh wish Apple would do the curator thing Steam do,because we wouldn't have this problem right now.What's wrong with reviews anyway,it only tell us what's to play and what's to avoid...if they don't want sites to curate their stores,add the curator system...this is necessary to finally have a quality control.

      • Calleg

        Is this allowed in the US from a legal point of view? really? what about freedom of press? would be a nice patreon stretch goal to pay the lawyers...

      • Severed

        I don't know much about the law really at all unfortunately lol but I assume by just having your app on their store I'm sure they can decide whether they actually want you on it or not, kind of no different then if they remove a game for too much vulgarity or even nudity I suppose. It's their platform so they have the control. Obviously they can't do a single thing about TA as a website but as an app I'm sure they have much more power than most people think. I know I won't be leaving TA just because of this setback but it definitely won't be as convenient as it is now just being able to open the app.

  • Lorena

    One question for TA staff: Do you talk with Apple for update to 64? TA is one of the biggest pages for ios and I don't think Apple want to lose it.

    • Jakeopp

      You really think Apple cares's Apple's fault the app can't be updated. They don't care one bit.

  • killaroach

    It's working fine for me. I'm able to look up all the apps you mentioned in the article. US Appstore btw

    • Severed

      Wow I bet whatever it was got reverted because I can search all of the games now as well, but it definitely wasn't like that yesterday when I noticed it. I'm curious if enough people got wind of it and caused a bit of a stink, or if it was just some sort of bug. I kind of doubt it was unintentional though.

      • Taylor Calderone

        I checked iTunes once the article was posted and my 32-bit games were gone from the search results. Checked it again just now and they're all back.

    • AL3X83

      Same here, looked up every one and they all showed up.

  • philsmtx

    TA can you tell us if 32 bit apps will continue to be in our purchase history? Or Gone all together after the app-pocalypse?

  • islesfan

    I just searched for Sega Virtua Tennis, which is listed as one of my 32 but apps, but there it was in the App Store.

  • fabell

    Why is TA not updating to 64?

    • Gurney Halleck

      Seriously? It's right in the article. Apple will not permit the TA app to be updated.

  • nkx

    How do you guys check which apps I went to setting about but couldn't click on apps

  • sabre31

    Personally I do think somebody at Apple hit the switch to early to not show 32bit. Probably new code they just added in preparation of wwdc and something they will enable once iOS 11 beta is out so if your running ios11 it won't show 32bit apps at all but anything iOS 10 and below will.

  • nkx

    So anything 32 bit won't work anymore that sucks! Also how do you check which apps?

  • korossyl

    Does anyone know if these will still be downloadable from the purchase list?

    • Shaun Musgrave

      We don't know anything for sure, but I imagine as long as the developer keeps paying their yearly fee, the games will still be available. The problem is that someone like Cave Co probably won't bother paying that fee if 100% of their apps are off the store front.

      • korossyl

        Okay, that sounds... somewhat encouraging, at least. Thanks!

  • blakedamon

    I have quite a few Cave games and I don't see how they could be updated since they are not around any longer. That is very upsetting😩. Maybe I'll just hold out. I tried that when Bioshock died, but I updated my phone to the 6s+ and broke

  • TeddyNYC

    I don't think there's any issue with the way Apple's letting us know in advance that 32-bit apps are being phased out. Additionally, some developers are probably not interested economically to update their old, and in many cases, obsolete apps. Sure, you'll hear some users who were "unaware" grumble about it in September and the mainstream media will pick up on it for a short time, but like with every other tech change/transition, the adjustment will be made by us all.

    As for any wishlist I have for a developer to update their seemingly long forgotten game, I wish Bridgy Jones would be updated to 64-bit as well as receiving some new worlds/levels. Alas, it seems the developer behind the game is out of business or something.

  • Tyler Davis

    Games like Ravensword Shadowlands, Modern Combat 4, Mass Effect Infiltrator.....gone if you update anymore? I refuse

  • brianj22

    Considering Nintendo was using 64 bit technology back in 1996, I can't imagine I'll ever support a dev that won't update the app in 2017.

    • Eli Hodapp

      You are the Ken M of TouchArcade.

  • Bone16

    You guys say you can't operate or update because it is a store within a store? Why is it that AppZapp is still prominent in the App Store? The 3 apps I use daily along with AppShopper I am going to lose the best 2😢. iOS 11 maybe a happy day for some... Not me. As others have asked why can't TA change format a little even if it has to be a little more like AppZapp?

    • Jakeopp

      AppZapp hasn't been updated since 2013, no doubt for the same reasons the TA app hasn't been updated

  • Michal Hochmajer

    Would be neat, if apple adds few latters under apps name in store. Like 32 bit app. 🙂
    At least I will know, what will not be supported any longer.

    A director:
    Smash that button, son!
    A employe no.1:
    Aye aye, sir!
    A employe no.2:
    Sir, number of apps lower by 99%.
    A director:
    Good. Simple, yet beautiful! Exactly A!!!

    24 hours later...
    A employe no.3:
    Sir, A store income droped by 33% in last 24 hours.
    A employe no.4:
    Sir, it's wierd, but number of users no longer spend money. Looks like they Switched!
    A director:
    And double the prices of everything...

  • colem

    You guys need to see if there's anything you can do in terms of a mobile solution to access the site in the future. I hate to say it but if I can't go on this site on my phone, there's a good chance I won't be here at all. I imagine I am not the only person this applies to.