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Apple now allowing owners of older iDevices to download ‘last compatible version’ of apps

Aware that apps updated for newer versions of iOS sometimes means users of older iDevices are unable to download the software, Apple has quietly introduced a new feature that will enable the download of the last compatible version, if there’s one available.

Spotted Tuesday by TheNextWeb (via Reddit), the new feature allows, for example, a user running iOS 5 to download a version of an app that’s compatible with their device, even if a newer one has been made available by the developer.old ios app

As TNW put it, “The move is a significant one as it will give those who have not upgraded their iPad, iPhone or iPod to the most recent versions of iOS access to a lot more apps.”

The change also means developers will see wider use of their apps, albeit older versions, as users with older devices download their software.

While Apple would understandably be delighted if owners of  iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches upgraded their device with every new iteration launched, there are plenty of users who are perfectly content with what they have, or simply find the cost of upgrading prohibitive.

With every year that passes, the number of older iDevices in use steadily grows, with many unable to handle newer versions of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, the latest of which launches today.

Take the first-generation iPad, for example. Although the model was discontinued in 2011, there are still plenty of them in use, though users have to make do with iOS 5.1.1.

The launch of iOS 7 today will see more users stuck with older versions of iOS. iPod Touch owners with anything older than the current fifth-generation version, for example, will be left using iOS 6 or below, depending on the age of their device.

Apple’s new mobile OS is compatible with the iPhone 4 and above, the iPad 2 and above, the iPad Mini, and the latest iPod Touch.

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