Why is my device not compatible with some apps?

When perusing the App store or Google Play store, you may sometimes come across an app that you cannot download – this is the same whether you’re on an iOS device or an Android phone.

This is usually due to a compatibility issue between the app and your device. The store will tell you this through an error message, which varies in form depending on the app store you’re using.

Fortunately, this is usually pretty easy to resolve. Here’s what to do if you get this issue on your phone.

Why is my device not compatible with some apps?

If you’re getting the message that your device is not compatible with certain apps, the first thing you should do is update your mobile OS to the latest version.

You should also make sure you have a reliable Wi-Fi connection on your device too. If you still can’t use the apps, it might be time to consider using an APK instead.

There are several reasons why a device might be incompatible with certain apps. Some of the common reasons include:

  1. Operating System Version: The app may require a newer (or occasionally, an older) version of the operating system than the one you have installed on your device.
  2. Hardware Limitations: The app may require specific hardware features that your device doesn’t have, such as a particular camera specification, a fingerprint sensor, or a certain level of graphics processing capability.
  3. Screen Resolution and Size: Some apps are designed to work only on devices with specific screen resolutions or sizes. If your device doesn’t match these criteria, the app may not be available for you.
  4. Country Restrictions: Some apps are limited to certain countries or regions, either because of licensing agreements, local laws, or other reasons.
  5. Carrier Restrictions: In some cases, mobile carriers may block certain apps from being installed on devices on their network.
  6. Manufacturer Restrictions: Occasionally, device manufacturers might have a specific set of allowed apps or may block certain apps to favor their own or for other reasons.
  7. App’s Internal Requirements: Developers sometimes set artificial limits based on what devices they’ve been able to test with, or based on analytics suggesting which devices their primary user base employs.
  8. 64-bit vs. 32-bit Architectures: Newer apps might only support 64-bit architectures, while older devices might be based on 32-bit architectures.
  9. Safety and Performance Concerns: In some cases, if an app doesn’t run well on certain devices or poses a potential security risk, the developer or the app store might prevent it from being installed on those devices.
  10. Outdated App Store Version: Sometimes, the version of the app store itself needs to be updated for compatibility reasons.

Remember that just because an app isn’t officially supported on your device doesn’t mean it can’t run on it.

How does this error message appear?

If you’re using an iOS device, the Apple App Store will only give you this error message when you attempt to download the app by pressing the install option.


For the Android OS, the Google Play Store will give you the error message when you open an app’s download page, by pressing into the app. The error message should appear below the install option.


As mentioned above, there are a few reasons for why the app may not be compatible with your device.

We’ll go through some of the possible reasons, along with some solutions that could solve the compatibility issues.

Outdated Software

Some apps may have been compatible in the past, but no longer are. This may be due to your device using now-outdated software.

The app may also be very new, and thus only attuned to the newest software.

Or, the app simply updated to longer support outdated software. Making sure you’re using the latest Android version is a good idea.

If there’s been a new software update, your current software may no longer be compatible with the app.

Update Software

You can solve solve the issue of having outdated software by updating your software to the most current, or newest, version.

You can check whether there’s a new software update to download, and install the update if there’s one available.

For iOS users

Go to Settings > General > Software Update. You should be able to select Download and Install, but this will only be the case if there is an update available for you.

For Android users

If you have an Android device, then it’s a fairly common issue as it’ll pop up in the Google Play Store app. However, it can be fixed fairly easily by using the Settings app on your phone.

Go to Settings > Software Update > Download and Install, to check for any software updates. If there’s an update on your Android device available for download, you can then download it and update your software.

You’ll also want to make sure that your Google Play Store is updated. It should automatically do this when you perform system updates, but it’s worth checking that you have the newest version of the Play Store.

Non-supported Device

Another reason for your device having compatibility issues with an app is that the app no longer supports your device model.

If this is the case, you won’t be able to download or use the app on your current device. If the app updates in the future, and chooses to support your device model; you’ll be able to download and use the app.

Unfortunately, this is quite uncommon as non-supported devices are usually older device models. You’re only likely to get this message if you’re using a much older Android version with incompatible apps, and this issue doesn’t occur at all on iOS devices.

The newest device models are supported by most apps, whilst some older models will no longer be supported by some apps. There’s not much you can do to solve the compatibility issue, if this is the case.

Use Another Device

You can find out whether your device model is no longer supported, by trying to download the app from another device.

This device should be a newer model than your other device, as an older model will most likely also fail to be compatible with the app.

However, you can still try downloading the app from another device, regardless of whether the model is newer, just to see if there are compatibility issues.

If you can download and use the app from the new device, then it’s most likely that the other device model is just no longer supported by the app. You’ll have to use the app on the new device.

If you still get compatibility issues with the new device, then try contacting the developers for more information.

Contact Developers

You can contact app developers using the App store. Getting in touch with the app developer may help you understand why your device isn’t compatible.

The method of doing this varies depending on the whether you’re using the App Store or you’re an Android user that runs the Google Play Store.

For iOS App Store:

Press onto the app, to view the app’s download page.


Scroll all the way down to find a link to the developer’s website.


Press the link to be sent to the developer’s website.

Open the menu on the website. It’s usually available by pressing a button in the top right, or top left, corner.


There’s usually a ‘contact’ setting you can press, which should send you to a help centre.

One of the links in the help centre should open up a request form. Fill in the form, and detail your query.


Then, submit the form to send your query to the developer.

For Google Play Store:

Press onto the app, to view the app’s download page.


Scroll down until you find the ‘developer contact’ option.


Press the arrow next to ‘developer contact’ to expand the setting.


You should now be able to see the developer’s contact information. This usually consists of an email. Mail your query to the email address provided.


If the solutions above didn’t work, you can try installing the app through a third-party app store. Be careful when using a third-party source, as some can harm your device.

One reliable app store is APK. You can download APK online, and use it to download the app. This doesn’t always work, but it’s worth trying.

Go to https://m.apkpure.com/, and press the ‘download’ option to download the APK app.


You will then be asked to choose which version you wish to download. Press the ‘download’ version, or the first option.


A pop-up will appear, warning you that downloading from a third-party source may harm your phone. Press ‘download’ to continue with the installation. APK will not harm your device.


After downloading APK, find the download in your files.


Press the download to open it. A pop-up will then appear, asking to install APK. Press ‘install’ to install APK.


When APK has finished installing, a notice will appear. Press ‘open’ to open APK.


Some permission notices will pop-up after you open APK. Press allow for the media permissions (you can deny the rest).

After opening APK, search for the app you wish to download. Press the relevant search result to go to the app’s download page.


Press the ‘install’ option to download the app.


In conclusion, there are a few reasons for why your device may not be compatible with an app. Your device may be using outdated software, or your device model may no longer be supported by the app.

For the former, you can solve the issue by updating your software. For the latter, there is no real solution but you can try downloading the app from another device.

If none of those solutions worked, you can try downloading the app from a third-party source; or contact the developers with your issue.

Be careful when using a third-party source to download apps. Some sources are not trust-worthy and can be harmful to your device.

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I love reading, writing, drawing, and other creative pursuits. I wish to travel more and do extreme activities, such as bungee-jumping and skydiving. I'm a casual gamer with an affinity for narrative-driven games and unique art styles. I like watching a variety of different media, but I particularly enjoy animations and musicals. My favourite genre, for both books and visual media, is psychological-thriller.

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