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I have several older apps that are no longer offered in the app store. I am considering upgrading to iOS 11, but I am concerned that I will be unable to recover those apps should they be deleted from my iPhone (or should I lose it).

Many of these apps, of course, are not 64-bit compatible, and therefore will never run under iOS 11 or later anyway. But of course apps vanish from the app store all the time, and I'm wondering whether the massive archive of iOS apps I have sitting on my hard drive becomes useless when I upgrade to iOS 11.

I realize that iTunes 12.7 removes this capability, but I was hoping that I could just stay with 12.6, or, ideally, open 12.6 when I needed, even though 12.7 is installed.

So my question is: Is it possible to use iTunes 12.6 to load apps from my hard drive onto an iOS 11 device?

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    i can't find an exact duplicate of this question, but see this search... apple.stackexchange.com/search?q=12.7 for many alternatives... – Tetsujin Sep 29 '17 at 19:32
  • Is the end goal side loading from a local IPA or to just provide apps over USB rather than network? – bmike Sep 29 '17 at 19:39
  • Be aware that you may still be able to save and install those apps on your iOS11 device but the developer might stop any backend service or refuse to provide you support because you'll be using it on an unsupported system. That 'massive archive' of app might be useless anyway. – fsb Sep 29 '17 at 19:43
  • Q: Is the end goal side loading from a local IPA or to just provide apps over USB rather than network? A: The latter. I just want to know whether I ought to delete my local app backups, or whether they might come in handy someday. – Calion Sep 29 '17 at 20:49
  • Well, sure. Apps removed from the app store that require network access from a defunct company or something are obviously useless. But that doesn't apply to many apps, especially games. – Calion Sep 29 '17 at 20:50
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There’s no need to specifically use iTunes v12.6 if all you want is to copy the iOS apps that you already have on your Mac to an iOS device: Apple’s support articles suggest this can still be done with iTunes v12.7. However, do keep in mind this only goes for the iOS apps you currently have on your Mac, it is not possible anymore to download other apps using the new iTunes.

According to the Apple Support article “Changes in the new iTunes”, you can still copy any of the apps that you have in your iTunes Media folder to an iOS device:

The new iTunes focuses on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks. Apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are now exclusively available in the new App Store for iOS. […] You can find iOS apps, ringtones, and books (PC only) that you've already downloaded in your iTunes Media folder. If you have an iOS app, ringtone, or book that's no longer available for redownload, you can move that content to your iOS device while plugged in to a computer with a USB cable.

That last sentence links to another article that provides more detail:

If you have media on your computer that you can't redownload from the App Store or iTunes Store directly on your iOS device, such as custom ringtones or iOS apps, you can drag and drop the media from your computer to your iOS device using iTunes.

  1. Connect your device to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes. Make sure that you have the latest version.
  3. On your computer, find the item you want to add to your device. If you're looking for Apps, Tones, or Books (for Windows) that previously appeared in your iTunes library, you can find them in your iTunes media folder.
  4. Drag the item from your computer to your iOS device in the left sidebar of iTunes.

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