Taking Away Explorer/Collector Option for iOS 12 Beginning Mid-2021?

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09-30-2020 08:08 AM
WillAnderson
New Contributor II

Our concern is that the timeline to take away ArcGIS Explorer, Collector and Tracker apps 6-12 months from the Fall 2020 Field Maps release means devices unable to run iOS 13 or Android 8 will no longer have an option to run any Esri mobile apps beginning mid 2021.

  1. The soon-to-be-released Field Maps app (currently in Beta testing, Sept. 30, 2020) is planned to replace Explorer, Collector and Tracker (eventually Workforce and Navigator). This makes great sense, and we are looking forward to wrangling one mobile app only.
  2. Esri UC 2020 "Field Apps - Road Ahead" session (and related sessions) stated the timeline to take away Explorer, Collector and Tracker will be 6-12 months after the initial Field Maps (then scheduled Sept. 2020, but seems like this timeline has been pushed forward a month or two). So those apps will be unavailable approximately March-Sept. 2021.
  3. However, the Field Maps Beta program only tests for iOS 13 and later, and Android 8 and later, meaning - we assume - Field Maps will require iOS 13 or Android 8 and later.

Question: what about all the "older" devices running Esri mobile apps (e.g. those stuck on iOS 12, like many 2-year old iPhones)? Will this essentially mean devices more than 2 years old will be unable to run those Esri mobile apps in the spring/summer of 2021? Quick query for context: what percentage of all Apple devices currently running Explorer on earlier (pre iOS 13) versions will be affected and left without an option to even view a mobile map, let alone collect data, etc. in mid 2021? 

Request - Extend the availability of Explorer and Collector beyond mid-2021 (even if unsupported with no updates, etc.) so organizations with those devices can continue to function while employing hardware update programs to be able to transition to Field Maps.

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JeffShaner
Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Will,

Thank you for your post and recommendations. We greatly appreciate your feedback and want to make sure we support you and your use of ArcGIS Field Apps moving forward. We have not set any official dates for the retirement of Explorer, Collector and Tracker at this time and retirement does not mean that we will remove apps from their respective stores either. We will leave the apps in the store with their current listings beyond retirement. We left the ArcGIS app (Esri's first iOS and Android app in the stores for 3 years after it was retired and only pulled the listings when it could no longer be installed on devices and was to be removed by Apple themselves).

We are seeking customer feedback and considering retirement time frames at this time. Please note the FAQ section of the Introducing ArcGIS Field Maps for the latest comments on this. We have recently updated both Collector and Explorer with critical bug fixes and will continue to do so throughout the time span that they are supported. All new development is focused on ArcGIS Field Maps and our consolidation efforts.

With required OS version support, there are a number of key considerations that we considered when making the decisions for ArcGIS Field Maps:

  • Adoption number for existing apps - over 83% of devices are using iOS 13 or higher with Collector, Explorer and Tracker and 81% are Android 8 or higher. With iOS 14 we are already seeing rapid adoption in store analytics.
  • Devices supported with a specific version requirement - iOS 13 supports devices back to iPhone 6s (released in September 2015). 
  • Technology advancements with OS versions - there were significant security improvements with iOS 13 that were a contributing factor. We have a number of customers that VPN devices inside of their network and IT departments are requesting our app source code be scanned. Dated components can be flagged as high or critical vulnerabilities. This is an important factor for all of us.

We will require iOS 13 and Android 8 (API 26) when we release our first version of ArcGIS Field Maps at the end of October. We are considering dates for retirement of the apps at this time (no decisions have been made yet) and retirement does not mean removal from the Apple App Store or Google Play - we will extend the time these apps are available in the stores beyond their retirement.

I do encourage others to provide their feedback on timelines and needs like you have Will. We do not want to disrupt field seasons, planned project deployments, and device procurement cycles as best we can and we want to give you plenty of time to migrate to new systems (both hardware and software) and we can't do that without your feedback. Thank you!

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4 Replies
JeffShaner
Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Will,

Thank you for your post and recommendations. We greatly appreciate your feedback and want to make sure we support you and your use of ArcGIS Field Apps moving forward. We have not set any official dates for the retirement of Explorer, Collector and Tracker at this time and retirement does not mean that we will remove apps from their respective stores either. We will leave the apps in the store with their current listings beyond retirement. We left the ArcGIS app (Esri's first iOS and Android app in the stores for 3 years after it was retired and only pulled the listings when it could no longer be installed on devices and was to be removed by Apple themselves).

We are seeking customer feedback and considering retirement time frames at this time. Please note the FAQ section of the Introducing ArcGIS Field Maps for the latest comments on this. We have recently updated both Collector and Explorer with critical bug fixes and will continue to do so throughout the time span that they are supported. All new development is focused on ArcGIS Field Maps and our consolidation efforts.

With required OS version support, there are a number of key considerations that we considered when making the decisions for ArcGIS Field Maps:

  • Adoption number for existing apps - over 83% of devices are using iOS 13 or higher with Collector, Explorer and Tracker and 81% are Android 8 or higher. With iOS 14 we are already seeing rapid adoption in store analytics.
  • Devices supported with a specific version requirement - iOS 13 supports devices back to iPhone 6s (released in September 2015). 
  • Technology advancements with OS versions - there were significant security improvements with iOS 13 that were a contributing factor. We have a number of customers that VPN devices inside of their network and IT departments are requesting our app source code be scanned. Dated components can be flagged as high or critical vulnerabilities. This is an important factor for all of us.

We will require iOS 13 and Android 8 (API 26) when we release our first version of ArcGIS Field Maps at the end of October. We are considering dates for retirement of the apps at this time (no decisions have been made yet) and retirement does not mean removal from the Apple App Store or Google Play - we will extend the time these apps are available in the stores beyond their retirement.

I do encourage others to provide their feedback on timelines and needs like you have Will. We do not want to disrupt field seasons, planned project deployments, and device procurement cycles as best we can and we want to give you plenty of time to migrate to new systems (both hardware and software) and we can't do that without your feedback. Thank you!

View solution in original post

WillAnderson
New Contributor II

Jeff - thanks very much for the timeline clarification and rationale for the OS cutoff. Makes perfect sense. Many of our agricultural clients still currently rely on iPhone 6's and original iPad Airs for navigation, scouting and crop imagery so good to know we'll have time to extend use of Explorer and Collector through the 2021 growing season if need be, without have to change horses mid-stream, as it were. Great work on consolidating most mobile functionality into one app, we are looking forward to Field Maps!

ClayDonaldsonSWCA
Occasional Contributor

I appreciate the info. Something to keep in mind when we purchase our next round of android toughpads.

Our biggest hangup from switching from Classic to Collector is the lack of tracking support in-app. Will there be any updates to Android Collector to match the functionality of the iOS version? Or is that functionality only planned on being included with Field Maps.

Thanks!

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DavidMcClennen
New Contributor III

Hello, we're currently using Trimble's new TDC150(cm) in connection with collector, quickcapture etc. we wanted to use Field maps with it as the future versions would be a powerful combination. But unfortunately the device's OS is Android 6. any plans to support older versions of android? I hope maybe this could turn out to be a special case and we can get Field maps on our trimbles. Any luck with that?

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