Apple May Purge Nearly 200,000 Apps With iOS 11

They'd be mostly older or unused apps that haven't been updated

Photo Illustration: Diana Quach
Mar 16, 2017 at 1:51 PM ET

Apple is getting ready to roll out a new iPhone and its next OS, but in the process it could kill 187,000 apps.

Analytics firm Sensor Tower anticipates that thousands of 32-bit apps will become obsolete once Apple releases iOS 11, which is expected to only support apps that run on a 64-bit processor.

It’s unclear which specific apps are still 32-bit — and it’s hard to make a definitive list — but it’s none of the everyday apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Maps and Pokémon Go. However, there might be some classics that’ll take the hit and be missed. Some reputable apps and mobile games that might disappear include “Ridiculous Fishing,” “Peggle Classic,” and “Great Lightsaber,” according to Mashable. The famous “Ocarina” app, which lets you pretend you’re Link from “The Legend of Zelda,” would’ve been on the chopping block, but it was recently updated. 

This doesn’t come as a surprise since Apple had already warned developers with 32-bit apps to update their apps and make them compatible with 64-bit processors, which are on every iPhone since the 5S. Back in January, Apple started sending popup notifications in the iOS 10.3 beta that read, “This app will not work with future versions of iOS.” Prior to that, popup messages would only warn that apps would slow down.

This is also not the first time that Apple cleaned house and removed apps that are no longer being updated, downloaded or used by users. Last October, nearly 50,000 apps were wiped out from the App Store.

There are currently an estimated 2.4 million apps available at the App Store, if 187,000 were to disappear, that’s 8 percent of the app store that would go missing. However, Sensor Tower said it might be a bigger percentage.

Apple is expected to reveal iOS 11 during the Worldwide Developers Conference in June and roll it out sometime in the fall. At that point, if there’s an old school game or app on your phone that stops working or magically disappears, you’ll know why.