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Angry Birds, Instapaper hit by Apple app store bug

Developers may prefer iOS to Android, but a few of them aren’t going to be Apple’s biggest fans. Thanks to a technical issue, a number of newly updated apps are apparently crashing as soon as they’re downloaded and opened from the app store.

Instapaper developer Marco Arment noticed the glitch after his inbox was flooded with customers complaining about issues with the new version of his reading app. Even though his archived version of the app worked well, the version downloaded from the app store crashed immediately, even after being deleted and reinstalled. This led him to conclude that Apple was releasing a corrupt version of Instapaper. He has compiled a list of other apps which have reported the same problem — they include Angry Birds Space HD Free, Goodreader and social network Pair. Users in countries including the US, UK and Korea have reportedly been affected.

Goodreader has published a comprehensive explanation on where it thinks the problem lies (i.e. with Apple):

Apple releases an update of our app, and customers start to get update notifications on their devices. Some customers start to download the update right away. Here’s when the trouble occurs. While in theory Apple’s servers must be ready to distribute the new app binary by the time they start sending update notifications to users’ devices, something goes wrong inside Apple’s distribution servers, and customers receive a damaged binary instead of the good one that we’ve sent to Apple. The exact reason is up to Apple to determine, but it looks like some binary encryption that happens internally in the App Store is only halfway-done at this point, and customers receive incorrectly (or partially?) encrypted binaries to their iPads. Those binaries do not get recognized by iOS as valid App Store executable binaries, and iOS simply refuses to launch them.

The only solution to the problem seems to be to delete the app and wait around until Apple fixes the problem, then download the app again. Arment says that the issue with the new version of Instapaper seems to have been resolved, but he’s not sure if it is because Apple reacted to an email he sent — it has yet to officially comment on the issue.


According to a statement issued to AllThingsD, Apple says it has fixed the problem with a server which, instead of unlocking the apps, was making them crash.

Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More