Tuesday, July 18, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Problem With Abandoned Apps

Marc Zeedar:

But we’ve now reached a point where I believe the App Store will either morph into something genuinely useful or fade away as a fad. […] I don’t mean that the App Store itself will go away — it won’t — but it could disappear as a business opportunity for most developers.

[…]

[Starting] with iOS 9, performing a backup with iTunes no longer copies apps to your computer. To restore an app, you must redownload it from the App Store. But if Apple has removed the app for being too old or not 64-bit, the app is gone — there’s no way to download it again! […] Because Apple exercises total control over which apps are allowed to run and how you get and install them, there is no way to get abandoned apps to work (short of jailbreaking, which introduces its own set of non-trivial problems).

[…]

And because iOS doesn’t give users access to the file system, and apps themselves are sandboxed (meaning that one app can’t access another app’s data), if you have data in an abandoned app, that data is most likely inaccessible.

[…]

While I think iOS is highly capable and could be a person’s only computer, I’ve already been hit so many times by abandoned apps that I’ve become wary. I no longer think of iOS as a “professional” environment.

Previously: iOS to Drop Support for 32-bit Apps.

Update (2017-08-28): Nick Heer:

No, I haven’t used Birdhouse in a long time. Yes, I was warned upon trying to open it in iOS 10 that it was a 32-bit app and would be unsupported at some point in the future. No, I did not take action because it wasn’t a priority for me at the time. Yes, I understand that’s pretty short-sighted.

If this was MacOS, I could simply root around in the file system or find another app to open the same files. But that obviously isn’t always the case on iOS. Because it’s a sandboxed, tightly-controlled system, there aren’t shared data stores for apps. That’s great for security, privacy, and every other advantage that has ever been brought up during any debate about it — if I were in charge of iOS, I’m not sure I’d change that model. However, it is a model that exacerbates the effects of an abandoned app.

1 Comment

[…] The Problem With Abandoned Apps, iOS to Drop Support for 32-bit […]

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment