How To Install Apps On Older Devices Running Older Versions Of iOS

So you own an older iOS device. And you are very happy with your device because it still works like new. However, your device may be too old for a lot of apps as they may require the latest version of iOS to run properly. It could be such a pain to download apps.

This means that you may not be able to download and install some apps on your device because they may require the latest version of iOS. When you do that you may get an error popup saying this:

This application requires iOS X.X or later. You must update to iOS X.X in order to download and use this application. (see the image below)

This application requires iOS X.X or later

This message is useless if your device does not support the iOS X.X version. So how are you going to download this app? Do not worry, there is a way to do this.

Likewise, you may get a similar message saying “this app is not compatible with your device” when you want to download certain apps on your iPad or iPhone, such as Netflix.

See also: Cannot Connect to the App Store, Fix

Older devices may not support the highest supported versions of iOS available. Thus, for instance, you can not install iOS 12 on the original iPad (iPad 1). The last version of iOS that you can install on the original iPad is iOS 5.1.1. Below is the highest versions of iOS available for some of older iOS devices:

  • iPhone 4: iOS 7.1.2
  • iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad Mini 1: iOS 9.3.5
  • iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPad 4: iOS 10.3.3
  • iPad 1, iPod Touch 3: iOS 5.1.1

However you may be still able to download the last compatible version. This means that, for instance, you may be able to download the Netflix app on your iOS device running 9.3.5 or 10.3.3. This article explains how you can do that:

You may be able to download and install previously purchased apps (perhaps you deleted later). This means two things:

1. If you previously purchased this app, you can redownload and reinstall again. Here is how:

  1. First make sure that you are signed in with the Apple ID that you used to bought the app originally.
  2. Open the App Store app on your device.
  3. Find the Purchased tab and My Purchases. Here you can see all the apps you have installed previously.
  4. Find the app you want to install
  5. Tap the iCloud icon
  6. A popup will appear and you will be asked: “Download an older version of this app? The current version requires iOS X.X or later but you can download the last compatible version” Simple tap “Download”download an older version of this app
  7. And download will commence.

2. Ok you may think that number #1 does not work because you have never downloaded the particular app that you want to install. How can you do that? If this is the case, you can buy the app on a newer device and then find and download on your older device. Here is how you can do this:

  1. You need to have a newer iOS device (if you do not have one, you can borrow one from a friend).
  2. Make sure that you’re signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on both devices (if you are borrowing a device from a friend, your friend needs to log out first, your friend may want to make copies of the information that he stored in iCloud).
  3. On your new device, launch the App Store and find the app and download and install.
  4. Now get your old device that you want to install the app. On your old device, go to App Store and then Purchased. You will see the app there because you just purchased it. İf you do not see it yet, just wait.
  5. And then tap the iCloud icon to download the app.
  6. And the download will start.

Note that these methods may not work for all apps. This only works if the developer of the app had not deleted it from the Apple’s App servers. Furthermore, since you are downloading an older version of the app, it is highly likely that not all features of the app may be available.

See also: Your Account Has Been Disabled in the Apple Store and iTunes, Fix

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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63 thoughts on “How To Install Apps On Older Devices Running Older Versions Of iOS”

  1. Thank you very much for posting and sharing this information. iPad and other Apple products are very expensive and on top of that I was dissatisfied by the fact that they become useless if apps cannot be downloaded on a functional iPad. Backward compatibility is a must for customers and your info helped to get use of my iPad.

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