How to Solve the Issue of App Not Compatible with This Device on iOS

App Not Compatible With iPad

Have you ever encountered the frustrating message “app not compatible with iPad”? It’s a common problem that occurs when your iPad is running an older version of its operating system and cannot support the latest app versions. You might think that if you don’t update your device, you won’t be able to install new apps or even reinstall the ones you previously had. But don’t worry, that’s not the case! In this guide, we’ll explain the issue in detail and provide you with effective solutions when an app is not compatible with iPad.

Why Does “App Not Compatible with iPad” Happen?

One of the main reasons for encountering the “app is not compatible with this iPad” error message is that the software on your iPad is too outdated to support the apps you’re trying to download. It’s not because the apps are inherently incompatible. Fortunately, there’s still hope! You might be able to find an older version of the app on the App Store that is compatible with your current iOS version.

Workarounds When App is Not Compatible with iPad

Although it may seem like a dead end, there are workarounds available when an app is not compatible with iPad. Even if you have a pre-owned or a decade-old iPad, we can help you out. Follow the procedures outlined in this article to locate compatible versions of apps on your iPad.

Re-download Compatible Apps

If you have previously installed the app on your device, there’s a good chance you can access that version again. The key is to make sure you downloaded the app using the same Apple ID.

  1. Go to your App Store account’s Purchased tab.
  2. Look for the app you want to re-download.
  3. If it’s available, you’ll be able to obtain an earlier, supported version of the app and re-download it to your iPad.

If the re-download of the app doesn’t work for you, let’s move on to the next troubleshooting method.

Update iPadOS

This method is pretty straightforward. If there’s a pending software update for your iPad, go ahead and upgrade it to the latest available version. By updating your iPad to the latest release of iPadOS, you should be able to download and successfully install the latest version of the app that was previously not compatible with your iPad.

To update your iPad to the latest software version, follow these steps:

  1. On your iPad, go to Settings > General.
  2. Tap Software Update.
  3. If an update is available, tap Download and Install.
  4. Enter your passcode to confirm and then tap Install.
  5. Wait for the update to finish and your iPad to restart.

If you need more help, check out our guide on updating an older iPad!

Try Using Another Apple ID

If you don’t have access to a more recent device, there’s still a way to download the app on an older device. You can use the Apple ID account of someone else who already owns the app. By logging into your iPad with their Apple ID, you can re-download the app from the Purchased section of the App Store.

  1. On your iPad, go to Settings > App Store and sign out.
  2. Tap sign in and enter the Apple ID of the person who owns the app.
  3. Once signed in, go to the Purchased section of the App Store and download the previous version of the app.
  4. After the app is installed on your device, go back to Settings > App Store and sign out of the account.
  5. Sign in with your own Apple ID.

You can keep the app on your iPad even after your friend logs out of the App Store. Just remember that if the app gets deleted, you’ll need to repeat the above process to reinstall it on your iPad.

Try Using an Older Version of iTunes

In this step, we’ll use Apple’s iTunes to download the app and add it to your purchase history. This method is particularly useful if you have an older version of iTunes with the integrated App Store. Keep in mind that iTunes 12.6.5 or older is required to download apps from the App Store on a PC or laptop.

To install incompatible apps with iTunes 12.6.5, follow these steps:

  1. Download the previous version of iTunes from Apple’s website.
  2. Open iTunes on your PC or laptop and go to Apps from the menu.
  3. Click the App Store option and search for the app you want.
  4. Click Download to install the app. Enter your Apple ID and password when prompted.
  5. After the app is downloaded to iTunes, open the App Store on your iPad.
  6. Go to the Purchased section, tap the app, and download the compatible version on your iPad.

If this method fails and you’re still stuck with the “app not compatible with iPad” error, let’s move on to the next troubleshooting method.

Look for Similar Compatible Apps

When none of the above methods work, the best solution is to look for an alternative app. There are usually several applications that perform the same function, and one of these alternative apps may be compatible with your iPad.

You can discover similar apps on the App Store. Scroll down to the bottom of the app’s page and check out the You Might Also Like section, where Apple suggests related applications. Additionally, you can search for similar apps using alternative phrases or seek advice on Apple communities and forums online.

We would love to provide recommendations, but we need to know which app you’re looking for! Feel free to leave us a message in the comments and tell us what you’re searching for. We’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.

Contact the App Developer

As a last resort, you can try contacting the app developers of the app you’re trying to download. Developers are better equipped to assist you and may release a new version of the app that’s compatible with your device. Many app developers on the App Store are responsive and strive to provide excellent support to users.

You can find the link to the developer’s website via the App Store. Navigate to the bottom of the app’s page and look for the Information column. Tap Developer Website to access their website. There, you might find contact information or a form to complete to get in touch with the developer. Explain your issue in the message box of the form, specifying your device model and how much you appreciate their app. A little praise can go a long way!

Other Fixes for the “App Not Compatible with iPad” Error

If none of the above methods work, here are two different hacks you can try when the app is not compatible with your iPad:

Try Downloading the App on a Newer iPad Model

Instead of trying to install the app on your current device, consider using a newer Apple device with a higher iOS/iPadOS version. Download and install the app on the newer device using your Apple ID. Then, access the app from the Purchased section of the App Store on your old device. Check if the earlier version of the app is available to download, which should be compatible with your old iPad.

Buy App on Newer Device and Then Download to Older Device

Find a newer Apple device, such as an iPhone or a newer iPad, and download the app on that device using your Apple ID. Make sure you use the same Apple ID on both your old and new Apple devices. Follow these steps to complete the process:

  1. Find a newer Apple device.
  2. Log in to its App Store using your Apple ID.
  3. Purchase and install the app on the device.
  4. On your old iPad, go to the App Store.
  5. Tap the Purchased option and find the app there.
  6. Click the app and download the compatible version for your old iPad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some related questions about the “app not compatible with this iPad” issue:

How Do I Install Incompatible Apps on an Old iPad?

You can download and install the iPad app on a newer Apple device using your Apple ID. Then, access it from the Purchased section of the App Store on your older iPad. Most likely, you’ll be able to download a compatible version of the app.

How Do You Restart an App?

To restart an app, double-tap the home button (or swipe up from the bottom of the screen on iPads without a Home button) to open the App Switcher. Swipe up the app you want to force close. Then, wait for 20 seconds and open the app again.

Can You Download Older Versions of iOS?

You can downgrade to any version of iOS that Apple has signed. However, after a new release, Apple usually stops signing previous versions, so you can only downgrade to the previous version. Installing an unsigned version of iOS is possible if you jailbreak your Apple device.

Why Is My iPad Saying “App Not Compatible”?

You see this error message because the downloaded app won’t run on your iPad’s current software version. Luckily, you may find an earlier version on the App Store that is compatible with your iOS version.


We hope this guide helps you successfully troubleshoot the “app not compatible with iPad” issue. If none of the solutions work for you, it’s possible that your iPad is simply too old to be compatible with any version of the app. In that case, finding an alternative app is the best way to go. If you find a method that works for you from the ones listed above, let us know in the comments! Remember, for more tech-related guides, visit