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 (Free) 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.