Installing New Apps on an Old iPad

November 22, 2013

ipad_compatability_issue_sRecently, I ran into a weird issue with a 1G iPad and had to figure out a work-around to install apps on it.

One of my clients inherited an old first generation ipad from a friend. Before he gave it to him, it was wiped and factory restored.

After setting it up, when attempting to install certain apps, like Google Maps, Google Chrome, or Netflix, he got the following message: This application requires iOS 6.0 or later. You must update to iOS 6.0 in order to download and use this application.

Of course, the last version of iOS that was supported on this iPad was 5.1.1 and their suggestion is not possible.

After talking to a friend that has an old iPad and doing some reading, it seemed like most people would get a prompt to download the last compatible version of the app. However, even after wiping it again via itunes and making sure everything was setup, it still wouldn’t let us install old apps.

However, after a bit of playing around, I figured out a workaround that let us install both Netflix and Google Chrome on the app.

The Problem

When installing an app on a first generation ipad, a warning stating ‘This application requires iOS 6.0 or later.’ is shown and installation is blocked.

The Workaround

  1. Install iTunes on a computer and Sync iPad
  2. Install desired apps via itunes onto the ipad
  3. Wait until the apps finish downloading, unplug the ipad
  4. The apps will attempt to install, but will hang on the ipad
  5. Delete the apps from the ipad
  6. On the ipad, go into the app store and re-install the app
  7. You will now be prompted to install the last compatabile version of the app


This worked for both Netflix and Chrome, however Google Maps, which we did NOT install via iTunes first still gave the upgrade needed error.

Why does this work?

I can only guess, but it seems like at some point Apple changed their policy on old devices and started allowing people to install older versions of software on their devices. I found a reddit thread from 2 months ago that discussed the change.

However, we were using a brand new iCloud/iTunes account, which had never installed any apps.

So, presumably, Apple only allows you to install compatible versions of Apps you already own. When I asked my friend, he had no issue installing any app, including Google Maps, which was not already on his 1G iPad. However, he had installed it before on other devices. By installing it first via iTunes, even though it doesn’t actually work, Apple will then allow you to install an older version…


20 Responses to “Installing New Apps on an Old iPad”

  1. Ashley Says:

    This was the MOST helpful, I just purchased a used iPad and this was happening. Thank-you so much!

  2. Pablo Says:

    I’ve a question for this topic (and i know, it’s an old one),
    I can’t do this with my ipad 1 (5.1.1) and Google Chrome.
    Maybe because instead of “install and finish downloading”, iTunes (PC) first download and after that try to install (so, i never “try to install Chrome” and it fails…)
    any help?

    notify me of new commens via email is ON

  3. Thyago Brayn Says:

    It worked!!! Thank you very much :)

  4. Stivi Says:

    I have the same issue,going to ty this. U r the best :)

  5. junger95 Says:

    Pablo, its been awhile, but I do know this worked at the time of writing and others have been able to get it to work as well. During step 3, you should see the app being added to your iPad.

  6. Alexander Unger Says:

    2. Install desired apps via itunes onto the ipad
    but how to do it? iTunes can’t install and throw exception dialog (new OS required)
    I’ve losted lot of programs after reset iPad.

  7. junger95 Says:

    Alexander, What app are you trying to install?

    After step 2, the app should download and attempt to install on your ipad.

    It won’t work and you will get an error on your ipad. However, after the error on your ipad, you can delete the app and install it via the app store on your ipad.

    If it is giving you an error on your computer before you install anything, that app may not be supported. I’ve only tested this with netflix, chrome, and a few other apps that I know had apps available for the first gen ipad.

  8. Luke Says:

    Yes, thank you. Trick worked partly for me (chrome installed but dropbox did not).

  9. dave Says:

    this worked for me thank you,deleteing and unplugging is neccesary, i have found almost same solution but it didnt work,deleteing did thanks

  10. Peter Says:

    I think it’s for the best not buying apple devices, everything albout it seems complicated to do hence so expensive, as compared with other devices running windows like computers and Adroid cello phones or Microsoft. All these other devices are so easy eveKn to down load or upgrade as well as to connect with other devices. I feel very painfull to have an item which I bought very expressive with the hope that it will take me long hence stops operating just because it can’t be upgraded.

  11. Peter Says:

    Apple is not helping at atall. I would rather buy items that operate windows or iPad or cellphones operating Android windows that are easy to operate, download and upgrade easily, than buying an apple with a lot of complications yet very expensive but cant be upgraded. What aloose!

  12. Irma Says:

    How do I sync iPad 5.1 to laptop iTunes to download apps thank you

    • junger95 Says:

      Irma, you have to plug the iPad into the compute and then if it does not sync automatically, there is an option to sync it from within iTunes. I believe under the devices section, but it has been awhile since I’ve done it.

  13. KomaR Says:

    It worked!!! Thank you!

  14. junger95 Says:

    Glad to hear it is still working KomaR. I’ve noticed a few other bugs when using an older ipad, but for basic browsing(especially if you disable javascript) it still works okay.

    One issue I have run into is that when you visit a very content intensive website on a first gen ipad, Safari or Chrome will crash and basically clear all your session/cookie data. I assume this is because it is running out of memory, as I have had it happen when just looking at a very large image and zooming in, but could be a different bug.

    • KomaR Says:

      Hi, I also noticed this problem with JavaScript , but it is not critical for me . The main thing is you can use the application.
      Thanks again

  15. Sam Says:

    Thank you sooooo much !
    I spent days trying to get Pages or Word on my old G1 so I could edit docs away from my imac. Apple on phone said can’t be done, Apple store tried to sell me a new ipad. Your instructions worked.
    Using your idea got Pages and Dropbox. Now I save doc (written in Word on desktop) in Dropbox . Then I go to ipad Dropbox and open it in Pages. All this because I bought a new keyboard for the G1 ipad not knowing I would be unable to download Pages and Word. Now I can use the keyboard to work on docs away from my desk.
    You are a genius and your work is much appreciated.

  16. Rme0108 Says:

    Hi, i got ipad2 with ios9, new install after wipe and change of oponer, so empate Apple account. Install ex iTunes on pc, sinceramente with iPad, fine. But no iTunes tuerce is no Google chrome app. Only songs. Please help. I amo new to iOS.

    • Rme0108 Says:

      Sorry, there must be a correction app running. It si a spanish iOS. I cant find Google chrome on iTunes on the pc. Only songs ando there chrome related things.pls help.

  17. Mimi B Says:

    i dont really have a computer to plug my iPad into. This IS my computer! if you figure anything else out, let me know!

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