App Updates: Avoiding Incompatibilty

App Compatibility can be a huge problem for early-model users (iPad 1 or 2). While the differences between adjacent generations are usually minor (an upgraded display between 1 and 2, and updated processor between 2 and 3, better graphics between 3 and 4), this makes the differences between 1 and 4 rather numerous and potentially problematic.


No one wants to lose data or become suddenly unable to use something that they paid for, so here are 4 tips to make sure that you preserve your App compatibility:

  1. Read the Update Notes for warning signs
  2. Look for red-flag phrases like “updated Graphics for the iPad 4” or “may be incompatible with iPad 1.” I know that reading through update notes probably isn’t your idea of a fantastic Friday night, but it’s better to be bored by a few paragraphs of technical jargon than screaming at an inanimate machine that cannot feel your hatred. Check the notes carefully before you tap the Update button.

  3. Wait a few days before installing the update
  4. If you didn’t see any red-flag phrases in the Update notes, you still might want to wait a few days before you roll the dice. Especially if you have the iPad 1, don’t be in a hurry to do something that might render your valuable, productive app into an unstable mess.

  5. Do your research while you wait
  6. Don’t spend those few days hoping, praying, and wishing upon a star – do some research! I recommend visiting the App’s store page and checking the latest reviews to see if any other users had difficulty after the most recent update (they’re usually pretty vocal about this). Also, do a Google search for the App name and phrases like “crashes after update,” or “won’t launch anymore.” If you find these, you may want to just get comfortable with the version that you have.

  7. Email the App designer and ask direct questions.
  8. This can have mixed results, but I have found that companies that produce productivity apps in particular are eager to flex their customer service muscle and answer your questions. Find their company website and the relevant email address or form. Ask them point blank whether their app will work on your model of iPad, and if they waffle on the answer, ask them if they’ll refund you what you paid for the app if the update kills its compatibility.

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to preserve your App’s usability and keep yourself from unnecessary frustration.


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