iOS11 – Where Some Favourite Apps Die

Every year, Apple updates the software for iPads and iPhones. The current version, since late last year, is iOS11. This brought a lot of updates and new features, but if you updated your school’s iPads to iOS11, you may have found a lot of apps refusing to work, claiming they need to be updated by the developer. Unfortunately, some of these apps may never work again.

Without going into technical details, the basic rule is that any app that hasn’t been updated since 2014 is now too old to work. The reason for this is that, since 2015, Apple have insisted that all new or updated apps work with their more advanced technology. Over the past two years, older apps have continued to work but now, with iOS11, they are officially blocked from opening. When you click on the app, it simply says ‘This app needs to be updated’ and it won’t open.

You may think this is not a change that will affect you. Surely apps that haven’t been updated since 2014 are useless anyway? Unfortunately not, many of the apps we see used in schools are that old. When iOS first came out, even prominent apps like Bee-Bot stopped working. That app has since been updated and now works, but many other educational favourites do not: Yakit Kids, Tellagami, Epic Citadel are all examples of still popular apps that won’t work with iOS11, and are unlikely to ever be fixed. The makers of some (e.g. Tellagami) promised to update their app to keep it alive, but we’re still waiting, whilst others are unlikely to ever do so (e.g. Yakit Kids).

Our advice – go to settings on one of your school’s iPads, click General, About and then Apps. This will list the apps you currently have that won’t work on iOS 11. If any of these apps are crucial, then perhaps hold off updating to iOS11 for a little bit. But, eventually, you’re going to have to take the plunge and say goodbye to old favourites.

Note: Not all iPads can be updated to iOS11. If you have an iPad 4 or older (i.e. bought before 2013) then your iPads won’t update anyway as they’re too old. This means you can keep using those old favourite apps, but also means that your devices may not work with some new apps and may need replacing in the next year or two.

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