Q. I’m getting a message on some of my iPad apps saying they won’t work on the next version of iOS. What — and why — is this?
A. Simply put, Apple updates its operating system and hardware processors regularly, but older apps that have not kept up with the changes will be too outdated to run on the new iOS software expected later this year. The move is not unprecedented. Both Apple and Microsoft have abandoned support for programs that did not evolve along with the Mac and Windows operating systems and hardware.
In 2013, with the introduction of the iPhone 5s and iOS 7, Apple began to switch its mobile hardware and software from the older 32-bit processors and operating systems to more advanced 64-bit versions. (As with desktop systems, the terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the amount of data the processor can handle.) In 2015, the company began to require that new apps and new app updates include support for 64-bit systems.
As Apple fully transitions its hardware and software to the 64-bit world, older apps still stuck in a 32-bit world will be left behind. Apple has begun to warn users about these older apps with the alerts you have already seen.
You can find a list of all the apps that are destined for involuntary retirement in iOS 11 by opening the Settings icon on the Home screen, selecting General and then tapping Applications.
Some apps on the list may have been abandoned by their creators, but others may have alternate, updated versions in the App Store — or on the way. (For new editions, you may have to purchase the app again.) If you do not see any app upgrades available, search for the old app by name to see what alternative programs the App Store offers.