Come this fall, some Apple iOS apps that are widely used by people with cognitive-behavioral challenges or speech impairments will no longer be supported by Apple. With the upcoming iOS 11 update, only 64-bit apps will be able to open on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, leaving some important 32-bit apps orphaned.
See my list below of the apps most often used in my clinical practice that will no longer play on an iOS 11 device. I’ve included a brief description of what the app does, along with a a substitute app that will work on an iOS 11 device (if I have found one).
Corkulous Pro. This app allows you to map out a whole day’s activities with pictures and notes on a virtual corkboard for people who can benefit from visual schedules. You can do the same thing with Evernote.
Errands. This is straightforward task scheduling app. A good substitute is Things, which has recently been updated with a cleaner interface and more functionality.
First Then Visual Schedule. One of the most versatile apps for creating task sequencing slide shows. Good substitutes are Can Plan (which also allows instructional videos) and Plan it, Do it, Check it Off.
Both Story Kit and Story Creator are going away. These wonderful apps allow the creation of talking picture books, and I’ve used them to build multi-step picture prompts with auditory support. Again, Can Plan and Plan it, Do it, Check it Off are good substitutes.
Speak it! is a favorite app among people with speech difficulties. At only $1.99, it’s an inexpensive, easy to use, yet powerful text-to-speech app. Here in Virginia, the ALS community uses it a lot, and I know two young men with dysarthria related to brain injury who have given rousing speeches using the app on an iPad. A reasonable substitute for just 99 cents is Speak4Me Pro.
Two other text-to-speech apps that are disappearing are Touch Voice and iMean. These two apps serve somewhat different but useful purposes. Touch Voice was designed for hospital use, with easy to read tabs such as “I need a glass of water” or “call my nurse”. iMean fills the iPad screen with a large type keyboard, making it a good choice for people with dexterity issues, and it includes word prediction to save typing. I haven’t found good substitutes for either of these apps.
VReminder is a scheduling app that allows you to record calendar reminders in your own voice, making it a good choice for non-readers or people with visual impairment. VoCal is a good substitute.
You do have one other choice, if you want to keep using your 32-bit apps. You can choose not to upgrade your device to iOS 11, since they’ll still run on iOS 10. For my money, thinking about the security and added features that come with updating your operating system, I recommend making the switch to a 64-bit app if you can and upgrading your device to iOS 11. In the meantime, you can write directly to the app developers and ask them to update their apps to the 64-bit standard. (You’ll find their contact information inside the app under settings or an information tab.) That’s what I’m doing for all of these fave apps right now.