Runtime Versions and Platforms
There are different versions of the Objective-C runtime on different platforms.
Legacy and Modern Versions
There are two versions of the Objective-C runtime—“modern” and “legacy”. The modern version was introduced with Objective-C 2.0 and includes a number of new features. The programming interface for the legacy version of the runtime is described in Objective-C 1 Runtime Reference; the programming interface for the modern version of the runtime is described in Objective-C Runtime Reference.
The most notable new feature is that instance variables in the modern runtime are “non-fragile”:
In the legacy runtime, if you change the layout of instance variables in a class, you must recompile classes that inherit from it.
In the modern runtime, if you change the layout of instance variables in a class, you do not have to recompile classes that inherit from it.
In addition, the modern runtime supports instance variable synthesis for declared properties (see Declared Properties in The Objective-C Programming Language).
iPhone applications and 64-bit programs on OS X v10.5 and later use the modern version of the runtime.
Other programs (32-bit programs on OS X desktop) use the legacy version of the runtime.