No, wait, this can’t be right. Apps from the iOS and Mac app stores crashing? Repeatedly? Isn’t it supposed to all be seamless? Isn’t every app checked and tested by a team of experts? Isn’t it meant to “just work”?
Something a little weird appears to be going on with some iOS and Mac app updates just now. Marco Arment, developer of the popular Instapaper offline reading app, believes Apple may have been unknowingly issuing corrupt updates since July 3 “in many or possibly all regions.”
In a post on his blog, Arment recounted his experience: “Last night, within minutes of Apple approving the Instapaper 4.2.3 update, I was deluged by support email and Twitter messages from customers saying that it crashed immediately on launch, even with a clean install,” he wrote.
“This didn’t make sense — obviously, Apple had reviewed it, and it worked for them. My submitted archive from Xcode worked perfectly. But every time I downloaded the update from the App Store, clean or not, it crashed instantly.”
Arment says he “yelled” about the problem on Twitter, soon after which “a correct, functional version of it started being distributed on reinstalls. As far as I know, the problem hasn’t recurred since then.”
“The only fix for people with bad copies, once good copies are being served again by the App Store, is to delete and reinstall the app,” he said.
However, Arment notes that the issue isn’t only with his Instapaper app, but with a slew of other ones too. GoodReader, Angry Birds Space HD (free version), Flick Soccer, Please Stay Calm and Pinball Maniacs are among those affected, he says.
The Instapaper creator is understandably concerned about the situation, pointing out that the corrupt updates could affect chart ratings, with users giving one-star ratings in the belief that the developer of their broken app is “careless, incompetent, and sloppy.”
Arment suggested to fellow developers that if they have a non-critical update pending release, they should hold back for a few days until the Cupertino-based tech giant resolves the issue.
We’ve reached out to Apple for further information on the matter, and will of course provide an update when we can.