If you have an old, outdated iPad and want to use it to, say, watch YouTube videos, access your Dropbox files, or that app you used so much before, you’re probably in for a bitter surprise when you open the App Store, search for the apps, and tell you that are not compatible with your version of iOS. Apps are updated and require newer operating systems, but all is not lost. There is a solution.
App Store allows download the latest version compatible with your iOS version of an app, although that means sacrificing new features implemented in newer versions. If it’s not a problem and you just want to do basic usage (I, for example, use Dropbox to import PDFs and documents from my computer to an iPad Mini), it’s as easy as following the steps below.
Downloading the latest supported version of an app
As we said, the App Store allows you to download the latest compatible version of an app, but it is not very intuitive. The normal thing would be to go to the App Store, search for an app, hit download and the store would download it automatically, but instead it gives an error. How do we do it then? Easy, going to the “Purchased” section. To illustrate the article we will use a first generation iPad Mini with iOS 9.3.5, a relic.
Open App Store. You will see that at the top there are different accessories (“Featured”, “Hits”, “Explore”, “Purchased” and “Updates”). The one we are interested in is the fourth, “Bought”. If we access it we can see each and every one of the applications that we have downloaded using our Apple IDeither on that iPad or on the iPad/iPhone that we use right now.
Recently released apps don’t have “latest supported versions” so you won’t be able to download those
Next to each app’s name is a cloud-shaped icon. If we click on it, the App Store will give us the option to download the latest supported version, so we click on “Download” and wait. This system works with long-standing applications such as Spotify, Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox, etc., but not with new applications. And it’s normal, there are apps that have been launched with iOS 13 or iOS 12, so they don’t have lower versions.
To exemplify it, we have downloaded Dropbox. The most current version is 344.2, deployed two days ago, while on the iPad Mini with iOS 9.3.5 we have 96.2.4 installed. They have nothing to do in terms of interface and functionalities, but they work. In summary:
- Go to the App Store on the outdated device.
- Go to “Purchased”.
- Find the app you want to download and tap the cloud icon.
- When it asks if you want to download the latest version available, accept.
Wait, you can always resort to webapps
Now, if for whatever reason the application you want to install cannot be downloaded because the iPad is so outdated that, miraculously, Tim Cook does not come to take it away from you, you can go to the solution that Steve Jobs himself proposed when he presented the iPhone And it didn’t even have an App Store.
If, let’s take an example, YouTube doesn’t install for you, but the only thing you want the old iPad for is to watch YouTube, the solution is in web applications. All you have to do to “install” a webapp is:
- Go to Safari and enter the page you want to turn into an app.
- In the top right, click on the share icon.
- The ‘Add to home screen’ option will appear.
- You save… and that’s it, you already have the direct link to YouTube from Safari.
That said, we hope these tricks have been useful for you to continue using your old and outdated iPad.
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