For example, I'm a developer, and my app is released with a minimum iOS of 3.0 required. If I release an update requiring iOS 5.0, what happens? Can existing customers running 3.0 attempt to update? What error message (if any) do they receive when attempting this? Will customers running 3.0 get the 'Update' notification in their app store app?

3 Answers 3


When the user tries to install the update, the app store will alert the user saying something like "you must have iOS5 to install this update.". The user will still be able to use the current version they they have, though.

  • Thanks. Do you know if they'll still receive the update indicator in their App Store app (even if they can't update)?
    – MattyG
    Apr 15, 2012 at 3:42
  • 1
    Yes, the user will still see that there is an update for that app. However, the App Store won't let the user download the app without the user updating their firmware version. Apr 15, 2012 at 13:11
  • Thanks, I was waiting for someone else to confirm your answer first. I've up-voted it as useful in the mean time.
    – MattyG
    Apr 15, 2012 at 22:29
  • 3
    This is correct. Apple wants people to upgrade to the latest version of the OS so that they can benefit from the new features and the better security so they have a better experience and tell their friends about how much they enjoy the product.
    – Alec Gorge
    Apr 15, 2012 at 22:58
  • @ruddfawcett Accepted. Another way to get more rep is to up-vote the questions you've answered. This gives them more visibility, hence more people to rate your answer. ;)
    – MattyG
    Apr 16, 2012 at 3:17

Nothing. The app doesn't create any problem until it is deleted. To be re-installed, it requires update, after being deleted once.


As a user, I've found that iTunes downloads the latest app regardless of what iOS the user is using on their device.

iTunes downloads the latest app and deletes (or asks to delete) older app versions from the user's iTunes library – an unwary user will click Yes to deleting the older version, and will be happy to get the latest version.

It is only when the user tries to install this latest version on their device (after removing the older app from their device) that iTunes will then raise the alarm that it is not compatible with their device.

The user is then left without the older version or the update.

It is Apple's hope that the user has backed up their iTunes library prior to downloading updates to their apps. This is a different procedure than just using iTunes to back up their devices, which only backs up the Data on the users' devices and not their apps purchased (downloaded) through iTunes.

If the user doesn't have a backup, Apple does not maintain older versions of apps. So the user has no means of retrieving older versions from the App Store.

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