If you’ve got an older iPhone or iPod Touch, Apple hasn’t forgotten about you.
With iOS 7 launching tomorrow, Apple is enabling a helpful compatibility feature for older devices: Now when you try to download an app from the iTunes Store, you’ll be redirected to the last version compatible with your operating system, according to several Reddit posters. Engadget confirmed the new feature by downloading older versions of Instagram and Twitter on an iPhone 3GS and 3G.
While this compatibility feature will be helpful for now, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the older iPhone apps are eventually deprecated as services like Twitter and Facebook upgrade their capabilities. Eventually, it will just be easier to abandon older iOS apps, instead of making sure they’re as secure and stable as newer apps.
iOS 7 marks the biggest facelift for Apple’s mobile operating system since its launch in 2007, and consequently it will also create a major fragmentation gulf with older devices. Only the iPhone 5 and latest iPod Touch will be able to use all of iOS 7’s new features. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S will get some of the interface upgrades, but only some of the additional features. Older iPhone and iPod Touch models will be stuck with iOS 6 forever.