If you've been using your computer to manage the apps for your iOS device, that time has come to an end. The latest update to Apple's iTunes removes its access to the iOS App Store, as well as the ability to manage iOS apps, with the company expecting you to handle all that app-related business on your iOS device itself. So long, app syncing.
Image credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr
How to Manage Your Apps
If you decide to update to iTunes 12.7 (or if it automatically updates itself), you'll be greeted with a message telling you to manage your apps or ringtones on your iOS device instead of on iTunes. The update also moved its iTunes U content, placing it into the Podcasts section of the app.
You'll still be able to manage media like music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and audiobooks, but besides the ability to share files (like documents, presentations, or comic books) between supported iOS apps and your computer, all other aspects of app management, including icon rearrangement, have been removed.
Having more than one way to manage your apps was always convenient, even if the iTunes interface was a bit clunky. Luckily, you can download, delete, or redownload your apps on your iOS device, and without much hassle. Here's how you can redownload your apps:
- Open the App Store app.
- iPhone or iPod touch users: Tap Updates, then tap Purchased (iPad owners: Tap Purchased).
- Tap "Not on This [device]."
- Find the app that you want to download, then tap the download icon.
What About Apps Unavailable in the App Store?
If you're like me, you're probably using an app or two that isn't exactly "available" anymore in the App Store. If you're worried your favourite unlicensed Tetris clone will disappear from your phone after it disappeared from the App Store, you can breathe a little easier — as long as you have a copy of the actual app file. App files (with the IPA extension) are stored in the iTunes Media folder on your computer:
Windows 7 or later:
C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media
Since you can't manage the apps using iTunes interface, you'll have to use your computer's file explorer alongside the iTunes window. Plug your iOS device in your computer, find the actual app file, and simply drag it on top of your device when it shows up in the iTunes sidebar. You can use the same method to manually add ringtones and books.
Since your outcast apps probably haven't updated to support 64-bit devices, you won't be able to use them when you get your new iPhone 8 or face-scanning iPhone X. In fact, iOS 11 ends support for older 32-bit apps, meaning any iOS 11 device will lose support for 32-bit games and apps from the salad days of smartphone ownership.