I am thinking to upgrade my phone with Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread) to 4.0.3 (Icre Cream Sandwich), but I would like to know first, if the applications I normally use are available and working on ICS.

Does exist a way to know it?

  • 3
    Android is written with backwards compatibility in mind. Apps written for older OSes should run fine on newer OSes (with a few exceptions here and there).
    – Bryan Denny
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 14:59

3 Answers 3


You can check the changelog and comments on the Market for information, quite many apps have recently been updated to be ICS compatible and there's usually a mention of this in the changelog. Also, if the app isn't compatible, there's usually a comment about this.

In my experience, almost all of the apps I use are compatible with ICS or have been updated. Some may not have all the compatibility features such as the new menu style, but ICS is backwards compatible with the old style too.

EDIT: Developers can also specify the parameter android:MaxSdkVersion in their AndroidManifest.xml which restricts the application from running (and AFAIK also from showing up in the market) on newer platforms. I haven't published any apps in the Market so I'm not sure if there are separate settings in there to restrict the apps from installing on higher version platforms.

You can try to check the AndroidManifest.xml of your apps by using android-apktool, but this requires you to know how to get the .apk files to your pc.


You could set up the android emulator with ICS, install the market on it, and try it for yourself. Unfortunately all the instructions I've seen for installing the market on the emulator are for older versions of android, so I'm not sure if they'd work on ICS. Here are a couple:

http://blog.varunkumar.me/2010/11/how-to-install-android-market-in-google.html https://stackoverflow.com/a/4673964/399105

This link seems to indicate it might be possible, using an android ICS VM instead of the official emulator:



there is no such method to know whether all apps would work in ICS, I have seen some issues with hardware acceleration problem in old apps when running in ICS, it depends on application build, if any authentic applications like browsers mozilla chrome would update their application depending on OS which it has. no need to worry about applications which gets updated on time to time, still people are trying to fix all so should work on ICS,. let us C

  • Can you give example of some apps that you encountered HWA problem with?
    – roxan
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 15:33
  • 2
    Apps don't crash because of hardware acceleration. Unless you forced it in settings, the only apps that use it are the ones that are compiled against the SDK14 at least. Apps that break are the ones that make use of non public APIs (like the calendar pre-ICS, or apps like Titanium Backup)
    – user13391
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 15:49

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