App developers didn’t get much of a holiday this week, due to an issue with Apple’s iOS and Mac App Stores that is causing apps to crash the minute they’re launched.
Leading the flow of news on the problem is Marco Arment, founder and sole developer of Instapaper and previously the lead developer of Tumblr. Apple, meanwhile, has not been forthcoming with information.
After three days of problems, Apple finally posted the following two sentences on its developers-only forum Thursday: ““We are aware of the issue related to apps crashing after update. We are currently working on resolving the issue. Stay tuned for updates.”
Whatever is wrong has affected well in excess of 100 apps, including Angry Birds Space Free, Yahoo Search, the Los Angeles Times, Dolphin HS Browser and the Huffington Post. (See partial list, below.)
Arment first noticed the problem when consumers downloaded the new Instapaper version 4.2.3 and he immediately began getting a flood of complaints and negative reviews. He has been explaining further on his blog, and sent a tweet to his over 40,000 followers that said: “I’ll repeat my warning to developers: if you can help it, do not release app updates today. The corruption is widespread and ongoing.”
Other developers are also doing their best to retain users and minimize the damage the issue may be doing to their reputations.
“It appears that Apple has recently changed something in their app distribution engine, and ever since that change there are ongoing problems at Apple’s end,” GoodRead posted on its support page. “These problems result in a number of customers receiving a damaged binary which doesn’t start after updating apps on their devices.”
This follows another serious issue Apple had with its App Store this week. As detailed on Kaspersky Lab’s SecureList blog, it was distributing an app called Find and Call that steals the user’s contact data and sends SMS spam to every number it obtained.
Marco Arment – Corrupt App Store binaries crashing on launch
Information Week – Apple’s App Store Distributes Corrupted Updates
Venture Beat – Apple distributing corrupt apps, tells developers to “stay tuned”
Ars Technica – Recent iOS, Mac app crashes linked to botched FairPlay DRM
Kaspersky’s SecureList – Find and Call: Leak and Spam
Photo by Flickr user stepheye, used under Creative Commons license