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AIR 30 dropping support for 32-bit in iOS apps

Engaged ,
May 03, 2018

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The latest AIR 30 Beta on Adobe Labs mentions a big change for releasing iOS apps with AIR:  You'll no longer be able to release iOS apps that contain both 32-bit and 64-bit versions as it's done by default for years, and instead will only be able to release 64-bit-only apps. 

This is a huge change for anyone with customers who still use the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5, or iPhone 5C, since all of those devices require a 32-bit version to be included in the "universal" single app alongside the 64-bit version that newer devices will use.

To clarify, I know that Apple does not accept apps that are 32-bit-only anymore.  This is concerning apps that contain both 32-bit and 64-bit code in the same single app (allowing support for iOS 9 devices as well as iOS 10+ devices), which is what AIR has done in the past and which Apple currently accepts, and which AIR 30 is dropping support for.

My biggest concern is what will happen when we need to update any of our already-existing apps in the App Store with AIR 30.  Does Apple allow you to update an app with a build that removes support for platforms?  And if so, what happens to those customers who already purchased our apps and are using them on iOS 9 devices -- will it download the update and the game they paid for will suddenly break and stop working?  Does Apple recognize they're using a 32-bit device and will prevent them from downloading the update if the update only includes a 64-bit binary?

Also I'm curious if this is something mandated by Apple -- where in the future apps will only be accepted if they're 64-bit only and won't be accepted if they include both as they do now -- or if this is Adobe's decision to drop platforms.  I haven't seen anything in the Apple Developer news or updates about dropping support for 32-bit when it's bundled with 64-bit, and Xcode seems to still create both 32-bit and 64-bit versions by default as AIR 29 currently does.

Here's the info in the release notes here:

http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/labs/flashruntimes/shared/air30_flashplayer30_releasenotes.pdf

Converting Universal iOS binaries to 64-bit and making IPA 64-bit

Prior to the AIR version 30, iOS applications were packaged as universal applications. To package a 64-bit iOS application MinimumOSVersion had to be set 11.0 in the application XML.

Starting AIR version 30, all iOS and tvOS applications would be made 64-bit only, irrespective of the MinimumOSVersion tag in the application XML. Packaging universal and 32-bit iOS applications would not be supported. ANEs could be packaged using universal as well as 64-bit only native frameworks, 32-bit native frameworks would not be supported for ANEs also.

Android packaging would remain unaffected.

Based on this thread and others, and after regrouping internally, our plan is to revert the 64-bit only restriction when publishing for iOS.  Our next AIR beta (hopefully out in the next few days) will return functionality to create universal targets for iOS just like you could with AIR 29 (and it'll have the ad hoc fix that many of you are waiting on).

We do not plan on re-implementing this restriction in the near future, but when we do we'll make sure to provide plenty of advanced notice so no one is taken by surprise.  In hindsight, we should have squared away the issues with AIR 29 before making a significant change like this.  Thank you everyone for the feedback.

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AIR 30 dropping support for 32-bit in iOS apps

Engaged ,
May 03, 2018

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The latest AIR 30 Beta on Adobe Labs mentions a big change for releasing iOS apps with AIR:  You'll no longer be able to release iOS apps that contain both 32-bit and 64-bit versions as it's done by default for years, and instead will only be able to release 64-bit-only apps. 

This is a huge change for anyone with customers who still use the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5, or iPhone 5C, since all of those devices require a 32-bit version to be included in the "universal" single app alongside the 64-bit version that newer devices will use.

To clarify, I know that Apple does not accept apps that are 32-bit-only anymore.  This is concerning apps that contain both 32-bit and 64-bit code in the same single app (allowing support for iOS 9 devices as well as iOS 10+ devices), which is what AIR has done in the past and which Apple currently accepts, and which AIR 30 is dropping support for.

My biggest concern is what will happen when we need to update any of our already-existing apps in the App Store with AIR 30.  Does Apple allow you to update an app with a build that removes support for platforms?  And if so, what happens to those customers who already purchased our apps and are using them on iOS 9 devices -- will it download the update and the game they paid for will suddenly break and stop working?  Does Apple recognize they're using a 32-bit device and will prevent them from downloading the update if the update only includes a 64-bit binary?

Also I'm curious if this is something mandated by Apple -- where in the future apps will only be accepted if they're 64-bit only and won't be accepted if they include both as they do now -- or if this is Adobe's decision to drop platforms.  I haven't seen anything in the Apple Developer news or updates about dropping support for 32-bit when it's bundled with 64-bit, and Xcode seems to still create both 32-bit and 64-bit versions by default as AIR 29 currently does.

Here's the info in the release notes here:

http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/labs/flashruntimes/shared/air30_flashplayer30_releasenotes.pdf

Converting Universal iOS binaries to 64-bit and making IPA 64-bit

Prior to the AIR version 30, iOS applications were packaged as universal applications. To package a 64-bit iOS application MinimumOSVersion had to be set 11.0 in the application XML.

Starting AIR version 30, all iOS and tvOS applications would be made 64-bit only, irrespective of the MinimumOSVersion tag in the application XML. Packaging universal and 32-bit iOS applications would not be supported. ANEs could be packaged using universal as well as 64-bit only native frameworks, 32-bit native frameworks would not be supported for ANEs also.

Android packaging would remain unaffected.

Based on this thread and others, and after regrouping internally, our plan is to revert the 64-bit only restriction when publishing for iOS.  Our next AIR beta (hopefully out in the next few days) will return functionality to create universal targets for iOS just like you could with AIR 29 (and it'll have the ad hoc fix that many of you are waiting on).

We do not plan on re-implementing this restriction in the near future, but when we do we'll make sure to provide plenty of advanced notice so no one is taken by surprise.  In hindsight, we should have squared away the issues with AIR 29 before making a significant change like this.  Thank you everyone for the feedback.

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May 03, 2018 1
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Advocate ,
May 03, 2018

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We, too, would like to continue catering to our old iOS user base for as long as possible. I think that means we will stop upgrading Air for now until the older versions of iOS have decreased their reach. I am just worried that we will be forced to upgrade if something changes like the recent case with Apple and the undocumented use of APIs, then we would lose all our users on older devices. Is there an urgent reason that made it necessary to drop 32 bits?

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May 03, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 03, 2018

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Interesting that the tech specs linked from the PDF release notes still mentions iOS 9 as the minimum supported iOS version. does this change contradict that?

Tech specs and system requirements | Adobe AIR

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May 03, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 03, 2018

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So I tried a build with AIR 30 and it's definitely 64-bit-only, I compared the info.plist from an AIR 29 build vs the AIR 30 build and see these changes under UIRequiredDeviceCapabilities:

AIR 29:

armv7, opengles-2

AIR 30:

arm64

If we were to update an already-released app with an AIR 30 build however, this would seem to break Apple's rules and policies regarding updates and compatibility found here:

Device Compatibility

Important: All device requirement changes must be made when you submit an update to your binary. You are permitted only to expand your device requirements. Submitting an update to your binary to restrict your device requirements is not permitted. You are unable to restrict device requirements because this action will keep customers who have previously downloaded your app from running new updates.

Can someone from Adobe confirm whether AIR 30 will be usable for updating an iOS app that previously contained armv7+arm64 based on Apple's guidelines and policy shown above, or will AIR developers no longer be able to update any existing apps in the App Store?

It's bad enough that we'll be losing a large chunk of our audience for new apps (especially if you're targeting iPad since older 32-bit devices still make up a very large portion of that user base), but if we had to abandon all of our existing apps with no future updates that would be a huge issue for all AIR developers.

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May 03, 2018 2
Advocate ,
May 04, 2018

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If this is true then we have a big problem on the table. Have you tried increasing the minimum OS version to 10 or 11 to upload the build? Maybe if the iOS version excludes 32 bits devices then you don't need to upload a 32 bit ipa.

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May 04, 2018 0
Adobe Employee ,
May 04, 2018

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Hi,

Starting macOS 10.13.4, an alert message could be seen when trying to run 32-bit software. As per the Apple's document 32-bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 - Apple Support , 32-bit software will not be compatible with macOS in the future. The decision to remove packaging of 32-bit iOS applications has been made keeping in mind the future possibilities.

Thanks!

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May 04, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 04, 2018

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Hi Amrita,

Thanks for the link. But isn't this article related only to MacOS, and 32bit only apps? AIR SDK used to generate hybrid 32-64bits IPAs, so I suppose the OS won't complain if there is at least the 64bit version of the code included in the IPA, right?

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May 04, 2018 1
Engaged ,
May 04, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Amrita+Gangwani  wrote

Hi,

Starting macOS 10.13.4, an alert message could be seen when trying to run 32-bit software. As per the Apple's document 32-bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 - Apple Support , 32-bit software will not be compatible with macOS in the future. The decision to remove packaging of 32-bit iOS applications has been made keeping in mind the future possibilities.

Thanks!

So this change was made because of Mac OS X? Well, the problem for all of us is not Mac OS X but iOS! Dropping support for 32-bit means users of iPad 2, 3, 4, iPad Mini and iPhone 5, 5C and older won't be able to use apps compiled with AIR 30.

AIR 29 and older compiled iOS apps with BOTH 64-bit and 32-bit versions inside the IPA package. As long as 64-bit is supported, there's nothing wrong with having the 32-bit version in the IPA as well for older devices. It doesn't impair the 64-bit version in any way and Apple is currently allowing this just fine.

So please add 32-bit compatibility back to iOS builds, so both 64-bit and 32-bit are included inside the IPA.

There's no problem if you want to keep Mac OS X 64-bit only. Most Mac computers are 64-bit already so it's not a problem, but that's not the case with iPads (2, 3, 4, Mini).

So, even if you drop 32-bit support for Mac OS X, please do keep 32-bit support for iOS! Apple still allows it as long as a 64-bit version is included in the IPA alongside the 32-bit one, which AIR 29 already did.

You say "The decision to remove packaging of 32-bit iOS applications has been made keeping in mind the future possibilities". In that case you could make AIR 30 compile for 64-bit only by default, but let us add an optional "legacy" argument to adt so it can compile both in 64-bit and 32-bit if needed. What do you think?

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May 04, 2018 1
Enthusiast ,
May 04, 2018

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In the AIR 29 release notes it states that "with AIR 29 onwards, a combined AIR SDK for packaging 32-bit and 64-bit captive AIR applications is now available for Windows".

Then, in the beta version of AIR 30, it's 64-bit only.

Seems like a hasty decision.

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May 04, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 04, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Amrita+Gangwani  wrote

Hi,

Starting macOS 10.13.4, an alert message could be seen when trying to run 32-bit software. As per the Apple's document 32-bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 - Apple Support , 32-bit software will not be compatible with macOS in the future. The decision to remove packaging of 32-bit iOS applications has been made keeping in mind the future possibilities.

Thanks!

Yes, that's for macOS, which is a completely separate platform from iOS.  Why would you intentionally impair one of your most used platforms, because of a change with a completely different minor platform?  AIR already had the capability to generate 64-bit-only apps in certain circumstances, so why hobble all of the other platforms when that could be done just the same for macOS?

Please be aware that devices that can only use 32-bit apps are a BIG portion of the iOS market -- 20% of all iPads still being used today can only use 32-bit apps.  This is the most commonly cited figure, and the sales/usage of our own apps show that 20% of our customers are on older 32-bit-only devices.

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May 04, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 04, 2018

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I agree 100% with Flipline on this one.  Even though our AIR app release is planned for desktop as well, mobile is definitely our target market.  People are not going to go out and buy a new iPad just to use my app.  I stand to lose 20%-30% of my real estate users because of incompatibility of AIR with their devices. And if I update to a 64-bit-only version, I will lose a ton of customers I already have and will spend most of my time processing returns on subscriptions.

Perhaps as mentioned you could make 64-bit the default export option. But please Adobe, this is not a smart business move for any of your AIR customers.  Trust that as developers, we are smart enough to know whether we need to package our apps as 32-bit or 64-bit or both, and leave us with some kind of option to deliver our apps as such if we need to!

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May 04, 2018 1
Contributor ,
May 06, 2018

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Wait, you are saying that Apple's roadmap will be such that OSX will be 64bit exclusively, yet that really has nothing to do with iOS. Apple has not dropped support for 32bit devices running iOS, but by doing this with the air SDK you have preemptively done just that. Correct?

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May 06, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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This is essentially correct.  OSX only wants 64 bit, which is why Adobe claims they are dropping 32-bit support in AIR.  But iOS still supports 32-bit and 64-bit, but we who develop on AIR will no longer be able to provide provide 32-bit apps on iOS, only 64-bit, despite who we are currently serving or need to serve.

If Adobe does not change their mind here, there will be no more 32-bit updating or releasing on iOS, despite 25% of the market still using it, and with no indication from Apple that they plan to stop supporting it on mobile.

(This also means that if you are currently developing using a 32-bit iPad, you will have to shell out $1k just to get you a new test machine)

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May 06, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 04, 2018

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Adobe Team, I'm one of your greatest supporters, but this 64bit-only decision is a VERY bad move!

If you keep it that way, we'll then be in a terrible situation, and only have bad choices:

- either stick to AIR 29 for maintenance, but IPAs generated by the latest AIR 29 SDK are not compliant with Apple's review policies

- or use AIR 30, and discard a big portion of our targeted devices and consumers.

In all cases, and as explained above, it is likely we won't be able to update our existing apps, as both SDKs could create problems with Apple.

It is a very bad move to make a release that both fixes critical issues and introduces such great limitations at the same time. At least, we would need a fixed AIR 29 SDK. But please, consider keeping support for 32bit devices in future AIR versions, I think it is much too early to drop support for them. We invested a lot in the AIR technology, mainly because it was able to publish on so many devices and platforms. Removing 32bit support would really be a big step backwards, and make AIR much less attractive for iOS publishing.

Thank you for your consideration.

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May 04, 2018 3
Enthusiast ,
May 05, 2018

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your concern is futile ...

late 2013 Apple began asking developers to submit 64-bit apps

since February 2015, all new apps submitted to the app store must include 64-bit support


since June 2015, all app updates submitted to the app store must include 64-bit support

since 24 October 2016 iOS 10.1 added a 32-bit warning
eg. "Name of your App" is Not Optimised for iOS 10
This app has not been updated to 64-bit. Using it may affect overall system performance.

27 March 2017 with iOS 10.3 release Apple added the feature to list all

installed 32-bit apps that won't work in future iOS versions

since iOS 11 released in September 2017, 32-bit app are not supported or shown in the app store
if users attempt to open a 32-bit app they receive an alert about the app incompability

Either your app is already supporting 64-bit or you did not update your iOS app in years, and that's your fault really.

Also, if you go to the App Store Support page

App Store - Support - Apple Developer

you can see this
2018-04_appstore_stats.png

Other sites show
iOS Distribution and iOS Market Share

2018-05-05_apteligent_ios.png

about 82% of iOS 11
about 11% of iOS 10
about 6% of older iOS

You will more certainly lose customers if your app is supporting only 32-bit

that part "Please be aware that devices that can only use 32-bit apps are a BIG portion of the iOS market"
I'm not sure where you get those numbers but they are wrong

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May 05, 2018 1
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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zwetan_uk​ I think there is some confusion here. We're not asking to be able to create 32bit only apps, we're asking to still be able to publish hybrid 32-64bits apps containing both versions of the code. Else it would greatly reduce the range of devices that we can publish to. This hybrid 32-64 bits format is currently perfectly supported by Apple on iOS devices and doesn't bring any error message (the error message is for 32bit ONLY apps).

iOS 10 is compatibe with iPad 4 or iPhone 5/5c for example, which have a 32bit CPU. If we can only publish 64bit apps, it means we potentially lose 24% of devices, which have a 32bit CPU and are stuck to iOS 10 or below (if we look at the chart you included in your post). So this is far from futile!

And on top of that, Apple's policy is to reject updates that reduce the range of devices an app already supports. So if you published an app with AIR 29 or below on the store, which supported both 32bit and 64bit CPU devices, and then you update an app using AIR 30 that only supports 64bit devices, it is likely the update will be rejected! (see previous posts in that thread) That means that if you want to keep updating existing apps, you have to stick to AIR 29, which is known to have issues with generated IAPs (AIR 30 includes fixes for that). This is a mess!

So when we ask to keep 32-64bits hybrid support, it is absolutely not a request from a bunch of narrow minded developers who don't want to follow the trends. It is because this choice will have a very serious impact, both on the range of supported devices, and the technical solutions we will have to maintain our existing apps on the store.

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May 06, 2018 2
Enthusiast ,
May 06, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric+C.  wrote

...

And on top of that, Apple's policy is to reject updates that reduce the range of devices an app already supports. So if you published an app with AIR 29 or below on the store, which supported both 32bit and 64bit CPU devices, and then you update an app using AIR 30 that only supports 64bit devices, it is likely the update will be rejected! (see previous posts in that thread) That means that if you want to keep updating existing apps, you have to stick to AIR 29, which is known to have issues with generated IAPs (AIR 30 includes fixes for that). This is a mess!

So when we ask to keep 32-64bits hybrid support, it is absolutely not a request from a bunch of narrow minded developers who don't want to follow the trends. It is because this choice will have a very serious impact, both on the range of supported devices, and the technical solutions we will have to maintain our existing apps on the store.

No, you're confusing how apps are updated on the app store.

see Apple Technical Q&A QA1623

eg. Target a newer version of iOS that requires a newer device. See Targeting the Latest iOS for details.

and then

Targeting the Latest iOS

An update to an app can always require a newer version of iOS. This will drop support for devices that cannot run that version of iOS.

The "iOS Deployment Target" build setting is the minimum version of iOS your app supports. Your app cannot be installed or run on any device that cannot run that version of iOS.

This is "by design", Apple want you to do like that.

if previously your app was build only for 32-bit or hybrid 32-bit/64-bit
you can "downgrade" to 64-bit only (eg. arm64, removing armv7 in UIRequiredDeviceCapabilities)

and you do that by setting the the minimum version of iOS your app support

see iOS Keys

arm64 - Include this key if your app is compiled only for the arm64 instruction set. - min iOS 9.0

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May 06, 2018 1
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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Thank you for your reply, @zwetan_uk.

Hmm, even if indeed "downgrading" to 64bit only would be accepted by Apple, why reduce our audience while it is not required by Apple themselves? If your chart is correct, it seems 24% of people are potentially on a 32bit device, and couldn't upgrade to iOS 11. This is huge. Our apps have been downloaded thousands and thousands of times over the last years, and removing compatibility with 32bits devices could hit MANY customers. We really don't want to deal with so many dissatisfied customers for a reason that doesn't even seem relevant to us.

I agree that at some point, we'll have to go full 64bit, but why now? It's still too early in my opinion. It makes sense for MacOS, but not iOS. Ultimately, why not simply add a switch in the ADT command line, so people can choose the platform they want to target?

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May 06, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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zwetan_uk  wrote

No, you're confusing how apps are updated on the app store.

see Apple Technical Q&A QA1623

eg. Target a newer version of iOS that requires a newer device. See Targeting the Latest iOS for details.

and then

Targeting the Latest iOS

An update to an app can always require a newer version of iOS. This will drop support for devices that cannot run that version of iOS.

The "iOS Deployment Target" build setting is the minimum version of iOS your app supports. Your app cannot be installed or run on any device that cannot run that version of iOS.

This is "by design", Apple want you to do like that.

if previously your app was build only for 32-bit or hybrid 32-bit/64-bit
you can "downgrade" to 64-bit only (eg. arm64, removing armv7 in UIRequiredDeviceCapabilities)

and you do that by setting the the minimum version of iOS your app support

see iOS Keys

arm64 - Include this key if your app is compiled only for the arm64 instruction set. - min iOS 9.0

If you read further in the Q&A you linked, you'll see that yes you can limit the devices you support by changing the Minimum OS Version like you mentioned (which Adobe is not doing in this case automatically, we would have to add that ourselves), but you CAN NOT CHANGE UIRequiredDeviceCapabilities in the process or else your app update will be rejected.  This is exactly what Adobe is doing if you check the IPA -- setting the key for arm64, which is not allowed if you want to update the app.

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May 06, 2018 1
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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zwetan_uk  wrote

Either your app is already supporting 64-bit or you did not update your iOS app in years, and that's your fault really.

Of course our apps have been supporting 64-bit for years, but the key point is that they were not exclusive to 64-bit, they've been hybrid 32+64-bit apps which is exactly what Apple wants you to do.  I understand your points that Apple has slowly been requiring devs to add support for 64-bit, which we all have already been doing because Adobe made AIR create 32+64-bit apps years ago, but Apple has never required apps to be 64-bit-only, and there's no indication this is going to be a requirement any time in the future.  Apple's own Xcode software generates hybrid apps like this by default.

As far as your comment of "your numbers are wrong", I'm looking at our exact sales and installs numbers specifically for iPad apps, which is where this issue will be most impacted.  Your charts show 24% of devices are still using older iOS versions, which is about on par with the sales figures I'm seeing overall, though be aware your chart is covering both iPhone and iPad combined, and if a developer is releasing apps that are exclusive to iPad, that ratio is going to be higher.

zwetan_uk  wrote

You will more certainly lose customers if your app is supporting only 32-bit

Nobody is suggesting that Adobe let us release 32-bit-only apps, this hasn't even been possible for many years so I'm not sure why you would bring that up.  We're talking about all of our existing apps that on the market are hybrid 32+64-bit apps (100% of the market), and this update will limit us to 64-bit-only (75%-80% of the market, and abandoning 20-25% of our existing paying customers who can no longer get updates after this).

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May 06, 2018 2
Enthusiast ,
May 06, 2018

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Flipline  wrote

but Apple has never required apps to be 64-bit-only, and there's no indication this is going to be a requirement any time in the future.  Apple's own Xcode software generates hybrid apps like this by default.

iOS 11 is 64-bit only
you can submit iOS 64-bit only apps since iOS 9

Flipline  wrote

As far as your comment of "your numbers are wrong", I'm looking at our exact sales and installs numbers specifically for iPad apps, which is where this issue will be most impacted.  Your charts show 24% of devices are still using older iOS versions, which is about on par with the sales figures I'm seeing overall, though be aware your chart is covering both iPhone and iPad combined, and if a developer is releasing apps that are exclusive to iPad, that ratio is going to be higher.

no, the charts shows that older device are about 6%, far from the 24% you're mentioning

Anyway you're not getting the point, the move to 64-bit is from Apple, it is not slow, they have been doing it for few years

they also want to clean up the app store from old apps, so they not gonna stop just because you want to support older devices.

That's it, Apple decided that 32-bit hardware and apps are dead on both iOS and macOS, nobody can do nothing against that.

Anyway, my point is AIR 30 supporting only 64-bit for iOS based on Apple directives is perfectly normal,

you can not ask Adobe as a software vendor to support more than what Apple is allowing.

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May 06, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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zwetan_uk  wrote

no, the charts shows that older device are about 6%, far from the 24% you're mentioning

This is the chart you shared:

2018-04_appstore_stats.png

19% on iOS 10, 5% on earlier.  If we wanted to use MinimumOSVersion to limit the apps to 64-bit-only devices we would be required to use iOS 11, because that's the only OS version that has 64-bit as a requirement.  As this chart clearly shows, that's... 76% of devices, leaving 24% devices without support.  The users on iOS 9 and iOS 10 are not necessarily because they're too lazy to update to iOS 11, it's because their devices are not supported on iOS 11 -- but they can still download apps and updates from developers without any problem as long as they are 32+64-bit, which again is the default.

People seem to be confusing "support for 64-bit" with "exclusively 64-bit".  Apple has given no indications that they're dropping the ability for apps (developers' apps, not the OS) from supporting 32-bit as long as they're also simultaneously supporting 64-bit.  And with 24% of active devices still running older OS versions by necessity, I can see why they wouldn't want that to be a requirement any time soon.  I know you keep arguing that Apple has made the latest operating system 64-bit-only, but this is something completely different, Apple has not made apps themselves 64-bit-only as a requirement or even as a recommended change.

"Anyway, my point is AIR 30 supporting only 64-bit for iOS based on Apple directives is perfectly normal,

you can not ask Adobe as a software vendor to support more than what Apple is allowing."

That's the thing, this is not "more than what Apple is allowing".  Apple is clearly allowing 32+64-bit apps, apps released today are almost always 32+64-bit.  The only thing they haven't allowed (for quite some time) is 32-bit-only apps, which AIR hasn't even been able to do for years, and which isn't something anyone is asking for.

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May 06, 2018 2
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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I agree with Flipline. Apple have never been hesitant to change their review policy, if they want to introduce new requirements. They are actually extremely picky, which can become a pain. If they still accept hybrid 32+64bits apps, it's for a reason: they still want to support the 32bit devices which can only run iOS 10. With the evolution of devices, 64-bit only code is a trend, not a requirement from Apple, and I never saw a statement from Apple requiring developers to submit 64bits apps only. So this new restriction comes only from Adobe's initiative in AIR 30, and by reading the reason Amrita gave us, it's not even related to iOS, but MacOS. 

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May 06, 2018 2
Explorer ,
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"We've been hard at work adding new features to Flash Player and AIR and are looking forward to feedback from our development and Flash Player community"

- Well my feedback is THIS IS A VERY BAD IDEA ADOBE!

Please revert to hybid 32/64 bit support - this move would cause me to lose a client and I don't think I can carry on publishing to Apple at all after this. We make educational apps and many kids and schools often have older iPad devices.

Adobe - we are urgently waiting your response.

Thanks

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May 06, 2018 2
Engaged ,
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I am absolutely flabbergasted by the responses that we are getting here.  I want to hear from the people who really need this not to change, not people making uneducated responses that Apple is forcing this upon us.

Apple would be torched if they quit allowing their 32-bit operating systems to continue to receive new apps.  25% of the market still uses 32-bit iPads.  If none of those people could update their programs because Apple dropped support of 32-bit apps, the market would be in a rage!  Nobody wants to run out and spend $1k bucks for a new device just to stay on the bleeding edge of being current.  And don't forget, Apple gets 30% of most of the purchases made in a lot of apps.  They would stand to lose hundreds of millions if they made that decision at this point in time.  It is not time yet!

A guy on here makes educational programs, and a lot of times, these instititutions still use older devices.  Kids can still learn on them!  I personally make real estate apps, and a lot of less-wealthy people have older devices, but they still need to buy homes too!!

Apple is not forcing us to give up 32-bit support on iOS.  They are still willingly accepting hybrid 32-bit/64-bit apps as AIR has been doing for years, because this is good for everybody.  XCODE still does this.  ADOBE is making this choice, and I have no idea why.  If they want to make 64-bit exports the default, I perfectly understand.  I just beg that they don't remove the OPTION to export in 32-bit/64-bit hybrid if that is what our clients require!

I am awaiting to hear from Adobe on this one!

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May 06, 2018 3
Enthusiast ,
May 06, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/William+Spence  wrote

... 25% of the market still uses 32-bit iPads. 

No, your number is wrong or you're confusing what is a 32-bit iPad

check the timeline here
What the death of 32-bit iOS could mean for Apple’s hardware and software | Ars Technica

check the different iPad models
iPad - Wikipedia

32-bit only hardware are: iPad 1st gen, iPad 2, iPad 3rd gen, iPad 4th gen, iPad Mini 1st gen

they are all not only discontinued but also unsupported by Apple.

all the other models have at least an A7 SoC (or better) which is 64-bit and so do support 64-bit iOS and apps

let's say if a user installed a 32-bit only or 32-bit/64-bit hybrid apps on an iPad Air or iPad Mini 2 or iPad Pro 1st gen,

as long as they have updated to minimum iOS 9 the app can be updated to 64-bit only

if you don't get that I'm not sure you will ever get it

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May 06, 2018 0
Engaged ,
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I understand that iOS 11 is 64-bit.  I understand all new Apple Mobile devices are 64-bit.  I understand that all new software released on this operating system should be 64-bit.

What I think you seem to not be getting is that the App Store is still supporting releasing new and updated 32-bit apps for their older devices, despite the fact that they do not support the devices with new operating system updates.  Apple is still making a lot of money off of guys like you and me that have to pay 30% for in-app purchases and other expenses on these 32-bit apps.

Though the operating system will no longer be updated for 32-bit iOS devices, the App Store has made no recent announcements that they will no longer allow 32-bit or hybrid apps into the app store for their older devices, and until they do, Adobe should continue to support their user base that depends on this ability.

If you have a child in school using an older device that has an educational AIR app on it, you won't be able to update or support that app anymore for the school.  If you are trying to invest in real estate using an AIR app, but you have an older 32-bit iPad, you will no longer be able to get any new updates to the investment app.  If you have a health issue that uses an AIR app, but you only have a 32-bit iPad, you will no longer be able to recieve new updates for your health program.

This is a serious problem for a lot of developers and users. Do you get that?

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May 06, 2018 0
Enthusiast ,
May 06, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/William+Spence  wrote

What I think you seem to not be getting is that the App Store is still supporting releasing new and updated 32-bit apps for their older devices, despite the fact that they do not support the devices with new operating system updates.  Apple is still making a lot of money off of guys like you and me that have to pay 30% for in-app purchases and other expenses on these 32-bit apps.

No, if you to try to submit a 32-bit only app (either new or update) on the app store, it will be rejected, plain and simple.

But let's try with images as it seems you don't understand text

apple-64bit-ios11-768x316.jpg

If you don't switch to a newer app, or if the existing 32-bit app doesn't get updated to 64-bit in time,

the app will simply not work on the apple device after you upgrade to iOS 11, and it will be removed from the app store.

If you try to run a 32-bit app under iOS 11 you will get a warning like that and the app will not run at all
iOS_32-bit_app_warning.jpg

All that was announced a WWDC 2017, it's not new.

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May 06, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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zwetan_uk  wrote

https://forums.adobe.com/people/William+Spence   wrote

... 25% of the market still uses 32-bit iPads. 

No, your number is wrong or you're confusing what is a 32-bit iPad

@zwetan_uk I am guessing you may not have looked at your actual sales and installs figures using iTunes Connect App Analytics, or you do not develop any apps that are designed for iPad, or else you would better understand what we are talking about here.  Clearly Apple has newer models of iPads for sale, and clearly all of the 32-bit iPads you mentioned are all older devices that can not run iOS 10 or iOS 11.  We get that, and it's easy enough to understand the difference between a 32-bit iPad based that uses armv7 vs. a 64-bit iPad based on arm64.

Here's the issue which you keep ignoring or claiming is wrong:  20-25% of active users of iPad owners have not upgraded to a newer device, they are still using their older iPads which are 32-bit only.  This is supported by our actual app sales data, where we can clearly see all of our paying customers are still using those old devices, and have been happily receiving updates of our apps in AIR 29 and earlier (as well as receiving updates just fine from apps developed in Xcode, Unity, or any other SDK).  If you have any apps yourself on the App Store, especially if you have any that are designed as iPad-only, I urge you to look at your installs in the last 90 days on iPad and see what percentage of users are using iOS 11 (because they have newer devices that support it) and what percentage of users are using iOS 9 or iOS 10 (because they have older devices that are unable to support iOS 11 because they're 32-bit).  If you look at your own app analytics you would see what percentage of your users and sales you will no longer be able to support, not because of any decision by Apple, but because of Adobe wanting to drop support prematurely.  For our own apps this is approximately 20% for each iPad app, every one of our iPad apps sees these figures.  I'm not citing Wikipedia or news articles here, I'm citing my actual live installs on the App Store in the last 90 days.

A larger issue is that using AIR 30, we can not even submit updates for ANY of our apps for ANY devices, whether they have 64-bit iPads or not:  Apple does not let you make changes to UIRequiredCapabilities for any reason in an update, even if you change MinimumOSVersion to limit it to iOS 11 it will still be rejected because UIRequiredCapabilities can not be changed after an app is launched.  This means we lose support for 100% of our users of existing apps if we upgrade to AIR 30.  This is a separate issue from 32-bit devices being unsupported for brand-new apps, and which is even more worrying for me.

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May 06, 2018 0
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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zwetan_uk  wrote

No, if you to try to submit a 32-bit only app (either new or update) on the app store, it will be rejected, plain and simple.

Why do you keep bringing this up?  Nobody is trying to submit a 32-bit only app.  We're only talking about 32+64-bit hybrid apps here.  Apple says you must "support 64-bit", which hybrids apps do.  "Support 64-bit" is not the same thing as "only 64-bit".

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May 06, 2018 3
Contributor ,
May 06, 2018

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Let me try to help William. I'll use short sentences since zwetan is pretty condescending in his poor communication. I think he gets a bit lost.

Here zwetan, point form for you with minimal punctuation:

- Apple allows 32 bit + 64 bit hybrid apps to be submitted currently to continue to allow 32 bit devices access to new apps and updates, even if it doesn't support 32 bit only going forward, in fact, I don't see a use case of only submitting 32 bit apps

- iOS 11, which isn't supported on 32 bit devices, does not support 32 bit apps

- devices that don't support iOS 11 are still in use

- developers want the ability to still support 32 bit devices as xcode currently still does

Let me know if you need pictures zwetan. Also, maybe try decaf.

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May 06, 2018 2
Engaged ,
May 06, 2018

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Flipline, I have a question for you because I have not looked into this yet.  Can you release an iPad app in 32-bit only for older devices on the App Store that has a maximum iOS of 10, and then submit the exact same app with the same name in 64-bit only and set the minimum OS at 11??

So basically, can you submit the same app twice with different bit depths that will show up for different users depending on their OS??

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May 06, 2018 0
Engaged ,
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I don't think that's possible anymore, the only earlier version of AIR that we're able to use to submit updates now is 29.0.0.122 which will still (thankfully) generate a hybrid 32+64-bit app.  Apple may make some changes to the upload/review process at any time though which would force us to start using AIR 30 with fixes for whatever issue that comes up, so using AIR 29 is likely not a long-term solution.

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May 06, 2018 0
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May 07, 2018

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The point is that many people don't update to their iOS version to 11.

I've kept my iPad 3 on iOS 9 - precisely because I want it to work with as many apps as possible, and so I can test an earlier (slower) version of iOS to see how my apps perform on old software and hardware. If the app performs on that device it should be fine on newer devices. I also test on an iPhone 6 (iOS 11). That's all I have to test on.

I think we all understand this is a major bad move and why.

So does anyone have a direct line to an Adobe dev? Please speak up!

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May 07, 2018 0
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May 07, 2018

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Hey Amrita,

thanks for your reply. I think most of us understand that removing 32 bits versions makes it easier for you to maintain the compiler and that 64 bits only allows you to focus on the future. But do you acknowledge that there is a problem for existing apps that are unable to publish updates now because Apple does not allow to remove support for previously supported devices? It feels like your change is coming at least one year too early and I hope you at Adobe can reconsider this move and maybe revert it for now until the percentage of 32 bits devices is much lower, like in a year or two. Thanks and keep up the good work!

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May 07, 2018 2
Engaged ,
May 07, 2018

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zwetan_uk  wrote

No, if you to try to submit a 32-bit only app (either new or update) on the app store, it will be rejected, plain and simple.

But let's try with images as it seems you don't understand text

Well, this last sentence proves you are just trolling and being rude to people for no reason! EVERYONE here is explaining to you in detail that Apple will still allow for quite some time 64+32 bit hybrid apps, but you keep on insisting that Apple doesn't allow 32-bit only apps, which NOBODY has asked for!

We're all just asking Adobe to keep support for hybrid (64+32 bit) apps, NOT 32-BIT ONLY apps!

So if you're really not trolling it's YOU the one not "understanding text" as you put it. So, please stop insisting on this, and if you really feel like trolling and wasting other people's time, then go somewhere else. Here we are app developers trying to get work done and we don't have time for futile discussions like this one.

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May 07, 2018 1
Enthusiast ,
May 07, 2018

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Sorry, my bad, I'm used to talk to professional software developers,

I guess, with that crowd, I need to explains things in a more obvious dumb-proofed way.

Apple clearly announced their transition to support only 64-bit devices and apps

see WWDC 2017 Videos and Slides

see in particular WWDC 2017 Platforms State of the Union

Apple_WWDC2017.png

What happen to 32-bit apps ?

they need to be updated to either hybrid (32-bit + 64-bit) apps

or 64-bit only apps, if they are not updated they will be removed from the app store

What happen to 32-bit devices ?

they will not get any updates as they are not supported anymore by Apple

What are the 32-bit devices not supported anymore?

iPad 1st gen, iPad 2, iPad 3rd gen, iPad 4th gen, iPad Mini 1st gen

As of today, what is the market share of those unsupported 32-bit devices?

about 6%

What to say to customers still using those unsupported devices?

something like

"Because of Apple decision to support only 64-bit devices,

we can not provide anymore updates for your device"

What happen if you try to run a 32-bit app?

under iOS 11 it does not run

under iOS 10 it get a warning that this app will not be able to work in the future

It is useless to keep supporting hybrid (32-bit + 64-bit) apps

Why?

Because Apple only allow 64-bit devices to get app updates

What is the difference between providing an hybrid (32-bit + 64-bit) app update

and a 64-bit only app update?

If your app is only 32-bit, which means you did not updated it for a long time,

providing an hybrid (32-bit + 64-bit) app update is a smoother transition.

If your app is already an hybrid (32-bit + 64-bit) app,

providing a 64-bit only app update allow a smaller IPA

and prevent to provide updates to 32-bit devices

(which is something you want as those devices are not supported anymore).

Is it possible to update an hybrid (32-bit + 64-bit) app to 64-bit only?

Yes, see Apple Technical Q&A QA1623

you just need to define the minimum "iOS Deployment Target" to iOS 9

"I'm really confused, I'm just using AIR what should I do?"

if you published long time ago an iOS app and either never updated it

or not sure about this 32-bit/64-bit thingy

use AIR 29 SDK and publish an updated app ASAP

Later, use AIR 30 SDK and keep updating your app

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May 07, 2018 1
Engaged ,
May 07, 2018

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It is useless to keep supporting hybrid (32-bit + 64-bit) apps

Why?

Because Apple only allow 64-bit devices to get app updates

Where did you see that exact statement from Apple? All I see in your slides is that Apple require at least that all apps support 64bits, with a 64bits version of the code inside the app. They don't say that it has to be 64bits ONLY.

If what you say about 32bits devices not receiving updates was true, why Apple would still accept hybrid apps submissions? They would simply say: "Now that 32bits devices won't receive any updates, all submitted builds must be 64bits only". But I never saw such a statement from them.

Moreover, you forget people who don't use the App Store to deploy apps (this is why the AdHoc distribution mode exists, right?). It has been said many times in this thread that some developers targeted schools or companies that still use 32bits devices, and since XCode still allows this kind of build, why remove it from AIR?

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May 07, 2018 1
Advocate ,
May 07, 2018

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I do agree with zwetan_uk, while I do understand everyone concerns, it was your job for the past few years to get your apps ready for 64bits only.

There was never any doubts ever that Apple will one day force 64bits only and they gave us years of warnings which for Apple is almost unheard of. Apple policy is simple and has never changed: Buy new device or get no apps.

Now many here are complaining that the deadline is approaching and that Adobe is following along earlier than necessary, that is not correct and that's not the reality.

Adobe gave you AIR29 for all people that are still not ready (or don't want to be) for 64bits only

Adobe gave you AIR30 and above for all people that are ready for what comes next and is inevitable with Apple.

Yes that might mean publish your 64bits only as a new app, big deal, anyone with years of Android and Ios development had to do that a few times.

There are no issues here, Adobe gave you the means to do just what you ask and they didn't even have to. Now they are correctly focusing on what comes next and the earlier the better, good job Adobe and please do not put any extra work (and money) into supporting 32bits.

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May 07, 2018 0
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May 07, 2018

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zwetan_uk  wrote

It is useless to keep supporting hybrid (32-bit + 64-bit) apps

Why?

Because Apple only allow 64-bit devices to get app updates

This is wildly untrue, and as an AIR developer I'm shocked that you don't realize this is not true.  I just updated a hybrid app weeks ago, and 32-bit devices were able to get the app update as well as 64-bit devices.  It was a hybrid 32+64-bit app, and well, that's how they work by design.

ASWC​ can you point us to specific documentation from Apple that claims all apps for iOS will need to be 64-bit-only at some point?  All zwetan_uk has shared are articles from 2015 saying you must support 64-bit as well as 32-bit together in the same app, which AIR has been doing since 2015.  Nobody is arguing that we need to support 32-bit-only apps, both Adobe and Apple made that impossible years ago.

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May 07, 2018 2
Enthusiast ,
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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric+C.  wrote

Where did you see that exact statement from Apple? All I see in your slides is that Apple require at least that all apps support 64bits, with a 64bits version of the code inside the app. They don't say that it has to be 64bits ONLY.

Are you joking?

Apple just announced hat macOS High Sierra will be the last OS to support 32-bit app
and before they announced that iOS 11 will not run 32-bit apps at all

again, watch the WWDC 2017 part where they talk about 64-bit

it's all there from the Apple official mouth

https://forums.adobe.com/people/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric+C.  wrote

If what you say about 32bits devices not receiving updates was true, why Apple would still accept hybrid apps submissions? They would simply say: "Now that 32bits devices won't receive any updates, all submitted builds must be 64bits only". But I never saw such a statement from them.

the hybrid app submissions are only here to allow dev to update their 32-bit only apps
case where a customer bought the app in 32-bit on a 32-bit hardware

then updated their hardware to 64-bit and so they can install the app in 64-bit

https://forums.adobe.com/people/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric+C.  wrote

Moreover, you forget people who don't use the App Store to deploy apps (this is why the AdHoc distribution mode exists, right?). It has been said many times in this thread that some developers targeted schools or companies that still use 32bits devices, and since XCode still allows this kind of build, why remove it from AIR?

then there is no problem
if you distribute app outside of the app store you don't depend on Apple to accept or reject the app
you can publish with any version of AIR supported on the 32-bit devices

you do need AIR 29 to submit an app on the Apple app store,

but for entrerprise SDK, adhoc, etc. you can use earlier AIR SDK as there is no app store submissions

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May 07, 2018 0
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"can you point us to specific documentation from Apple that claims all apps for iOS will need to be 64-bit-only at some point?" It blows my mind that you are asking me this, it really does but before I answer this could you answer this first: "Do you believe it's possible Apple will probably never drop support for 32bits app on Ios?"

Also note: If your answer is "no" then why did you ask me that question in the first place?

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May 07, 2018 0
Engaged ,
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No need to get rude, I've seen a few people claiming that Apple has specifically announced that apps must be 64-bit-only for iOS (not talking about Mac here), and I'd like to see that Apple has in fact specifically made that statement, or if people are just saying this because it supports their argument.  I'm sure the trajectory is that Apple will eventually drop support for more and more devices, but I haven't seen them announce support will be dropped at a specific point (next week, next month, next year).  Yes, eventually they will fully drop support for 32-bit devices, just like eventually they will fully drop support for iPhone 7 and 8 and X years from now, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop supporting them before I'm required to.

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May 07, 2018 0
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May 07, 2018

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Flipline  wrote

Nobody is arguing that we need to support 32-bit-only apps

I never implied anyone is asking for 32bits only, don't misrepresent what I said.

Flipline  wrote

both Adobe and Apple made that impossible years ago.

Adobe has and never had any say on Apple policies, they are merely following and in some rare cases managed to be ahead of the curve concerning Apple policy changes. In the case of forcing 32/64bits builds only, Adobe literally had no other choice, if they did not follow Apple requirements AIR would have been dead on the spot so I'm not sure what you try to imply here about Adobe but it's ridiculous.

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May 07, 2018 0
Engaged ,
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I apologize, some of that reply was also towards zwetan_uk's message, didn't mean to say you were claiming apps could or should be 32-bit-only. 

Didn't mean to imply Adobe was involved in those decisions, I just meant that Adobe did change AIR's functionality to only build 32+64-bit hybrid apps (which Apple said was required, so that's why Adobe did it, as you mentioned).  zwetan_uk keeps bringing up that developers shouldn't be building 32-bit-only apps anymore, and I was merely pointing out that would be impossible anyway (Apple said it wasn't allowed, and Adobe followed by making all builds 32+64-bit).

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Agree this is a BAD choice for Adobe air. This is shown by the fact that xcode creates a hybrid 32/64 ipa by default to support 32bit devices as well. It seems that Adobe should try to support 32bit up to the point that those devices are considered deprecated. I don't think iPhone 5 especially would be considered deprecated at this point. It's likely a resource and hours billable thing. I would imagine that for the SDK developers every fix and change they make needs to be done twice for each architecture, making it require twice the hours to build. That's a guess. If it's not the case and much easier it would baffle me why they would do this. I think until that graph shows < 5% users affected, they shouldn't even consider such a move.

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May 06, 2018 1