Oracle APEX - Understanding Upgrades and Support

Oracle APEX - Understanding Upgrades and Support

As you may already know, Oracle APEX is a fully supported, no-cost feature of the Oracle Database across all its versions, including Enterprise, Standard, and Express (XE).

If you hold an Oracle Database maintenance agreement, you're covered for Oracle APEX support and eligible for patches too.

Considering that the Oracle APEX team ensures full backward compatibility to the earliest releases of APEX, a pertinent question arises:

why do many enterprises still utilise older versions of APEX, even on public sites?

Based on our vast experience with upgrading APEX, we confidently recommend the process to anyone using it, whether for public or private applications. Not only because of new features but especially for security reasons.

The upgrade process usually ranges from 1 to 4 hours, depending on the environment setup. Additionally, Oracle supports approaches to minimise downtime, aligning with business requirements.

Oracle APEX Support

As shown in the APEX support matrix below, Oracle has been progressively reducing the support period. This transition spans from:

  • 5 years for versions 5.0 to 19.x,
  • 4 years for 20.x,
  • 3 years for 21.x,
  • 2 years for 22.x and beyond.

This strategy seems aimed at encouraging enterprises to upgrade sooner rather than later. More information can be found in Oracle's documentation here.

Release General Availability Date Support Ends
23.2 Nov 2023 May 2025
23.1 May 2023 Dec 2024
22.2 Nov 2022 Dec 2024
22.1 May 2022 Dec 2024
21.2 Nov 2021 Nov 2024
21.1 May 2021 May 2024
20.2 Oct 2020 Dec 2024
20.1 Apr 2020 Dec 2024
19.2 Nov 2019 Nov 2024
19.1 Mar 2019 Mar 2024
18.2 Sep 2018 Sep 2023
18.1 May 2018 May 2023
5.1 Dec 2016 Dec 2021
5.0 Apr 2015 Apr 2020

Oracle APEX Compatibility Matrix

When planning an upgrade, remember that not every APEX version is compatible with every DB version, and not all DB versions are certified with every APEX version. The following table shows a high-level compatibility matrix based on Oracle Support documentation here.

DB 11.1.0.x DB 11.2.0.x DB 12.1.0.x DB 12.2.0.x DB 18c DB 19c DB 21c DB 23c
APEX 5.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Maybe Maybe Maybe Maybe
APEX 5.1 No Yes Yes Yes Maybe Maybe Maybe Maybe
APEX 18.x No Yes Yes Yes Yes Maybe Maybe Maybe
APEX 19.x No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Maybe Maybe
20.x No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
APEX 21.x No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
APEX 22.x No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
APEX 23.x No No No No No Yes Yes Yes

End of Support for APEX 19.1 and Approaching fast for 19.2

As of March 2024, APEX 19.1 is out of support, and the same fate awaits 19.2 by the end of the year.

Does that mean it will stop working? Not necessarily, but there's likely no compelling reason for anyone to continue using software that's already four years old, especially considering Oracle ensures, and our experience confirms, that your applications will smoothly transition to the latest version with minimal effort.

The 'Not the Latest Version' Myth

While there's a prevalent myth in the Oracle community advising against installing version x.1 of a product, that notion doesn't hold true for APEX. Perhaps Oracle should consider adopting the same naming convention as the database, using letters, to finally dispel this myth. 😎

Joking aside, there's ample evidence in the Oracle Cloud of Autonomous Databases being upgraded automatically as soon as the new APEX release is publicly available, without any negative consequences. So once again, there are no excuses not to take advantage of the latest APEX version.

What About Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS)?

Similarly to APEX, as per Oracle Documentation here:

ORDS is a no-cost product option of the Oracle Database. Therefore, your Oracle Database maintenance agreement also covers support for ORDS. This is ORDS Lifetime Support Policy. ORDS releases are supported for a period of 18 months after general availability. Customers should upgrade to the latest versions to uptake new features and bug fixes.
Release General Availability Date Support Ends
18.4 Jan 2019 Dec 2023
19.1 Apr 2019 Dec 2024
19.2 Aug 2019 Dec 2024
19.4 Dec 2019 Dec 2024
20.2 Jul 2000 Dec 2024
20.3 Oct 2000 Dec 2024
20.4 Jan 2021 Dec 2024
21.1 Jan 2021 Dec 2024
21.2 Jul 2021 Dec 2024
21.3 Oct 2021 Dec 2024
21.4 Dec 2021 Dec 2024
22.1 May 2022 Dec 2024
22.2 Jun 2022 Dec 2024
22.3 Nov 2022 Dec 2024
22.4 Dec 2022 Dec 2024
23.1 Mar 2023 Dec 2024
23.2 Jul 2023 Dec 2024
23.3 Oct 2023 Apr 2025
23.4 Dec 2023 Jun 2025


It's evident that Oracle's strategy and desire are geared towards having the newest version of APEX running in as many instances as possible. This simplifies the development process on their end and likely reduces costs as well.

Equally clear is that we, as developers, are inclined to work with the latest version available to leverage its newest features and ensure security.

What remains unclear is why some Database Administrators hesitate to upgrade on-premises instances to the latest version sooner. This reluctance might stem from various factors, such as concerns about compatibility, potential disruptions to existing workflows, or simply a lack of awareness about the benefits of upgrading promptly.

In any scenario, we possess expertise and experience in Cloud Migrations, APEX/ORDS instance upgrades, and APEX Application upgrades. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance.

Find out more about our APEX Consultancy Services.