I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Corrupt App Store binaries crashing on launch

Update, July 6: This is now resolved. Go to the App Store and redownload any affected apps — they should show up in the Updates tab. Do not delete and reinstall: it’s no longer necessary and you may lose data in those apps.

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.

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.

Lots of anxiety and research led me to the problem: a seemingly corrupt update being distributed by the App Store in many or possibly all regions.

And this is happening to other apps, not just Instapaper, updated in the last few days.

Characterizations of this issue:

I emailed App Review less than an hour after the update went live and yelled about it on Twitter. About two hours after the update went live, a correct, functional version of it started being distributed on reinstalls. As far as I know, the problem hasn’t recurred since then.

I haven’t yet received a response from App Review, so I don’t know whether the fix was because I made noise, or simply because time passed, which may, for instance, expire a cache with the bad data.

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. (Update.)

I’ve heard reports of this happening with numerous updates released on July 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Below is a growing list of affected apps.

If you’re a developer, and you have a non-critical update pending release, I suggest waiting a few days for this to presumably get sorted out before releasing it.

Because if this happens to you, all of your most active users, the people who will install updates within hours of them becoming available, will be stopped in their tracks. They’ll think you’re careless, incompetent, and sloppy for issuing a release that doesn’t work. And they’ll leave you a lot of angry 1-star reviews.

And it’s even more serious for apps that store user-created data or game progress locally: if the only fix is to delete and reinstall the app, many users will lose their data.

Apple: This is a serious problem. It’s not isolated. Please fix this.

Known affected apps that are or were corrupted:

  • Instapaper, obviously
  • Aboalarm
  • Al & Joe Bust Out
  • Angry Birds Space Free
  • Angry Birds Space HD Free
  • AroundCal
  • Autocité Parkings
  • Big Start
  • Bird Song Id
  • Bunker Buster
  • CarZen
  • Checkout Helper
  • Chord Picker
  • CincyMobile
  • CLM iPlanner
  • Cocktailpedia
  • CommBank Kaching
  • Cubemen
  • DocuNotes+
  • Dolphin HS Browser
  • Dosecast
  • Dunno
  • Face Juggler Free
  • Face Juggler Plus
  • Festival d’Avignon OFF 2012
  • FlattrCast
  • Flick Soccer
  • Flight International
  • Gaia GPS
  • Gluddle
  • GoodReader (more)
  • Heart Booth Free
  • Heart Booth HD Free
  • Huffington
  • iBike Moto
  • Ice Age Village
  • iCoyote Europe
  • iDesign
  • iMieiFarmaci
  • iPronto To Do
  • iPronto To Do HD
  • iPronto To Do Lite
  • iPronto To Do Lite HD
  • iQIF
  • iQuikDoF
  • iTankster
  • Jewel World Skull Edition
  • L’
  • LA Times
  • Letris 2
  • Letris Power
  • Levee en Masse HD
  • Lords & Knights
  • Lucky Slots
  • M6
  • Mag+ Reviewer
  • Maps 3D
  • Maps 3D Lite
  • Matchbook
  • Max Payne Mobile
  • Mayvio Budget
  • Measure Map
  • Measure Map Lite
  • MedCalc
  • MedCalc Pro
  • Meetup
  • Melodies Pro
  • MemoryBrands
  • Metronome+
  • mixi
  • MoPho
  • MultiTrack DAW
  • My Medical Info
  • My365
  • OrderPat Server
  • outdooractive
  • Pair
  • PDX Bus
  • Peekaboo Barn
  • Phoster
  • Pinball Maniacs
  • Please Stay Calm
  • Quote Unquote
  • Qwak
  • Readdle Scanner Pro (more)
  • Redshift
  • Samurai vs Zombies Defense
  • Ski Safari
  • Skoobe
  • Simple RSS Push
  • Sleep Bug Pro
  • Slotomania
  • SMARTReporter (Mac)
  • SmartScan+OCR
  • Smilebox
  • Sprightly Pyramid Solitaire
  • Stack the States
  • Stat E&M Coder
  • Synalyze It! (Mac)
  • Tap Sonic
  • Tap’N Ride
  • The Early Edition 2
  • The Magic of Reality
  • Threadnote
  • @View
  • W9
  • Wakaru
  • Wind expert
  • Word Lens
  • Wrackle
  • Yahoo! Search
  • Young Art

Update, July 5: After adding 114 apps to the list with more reports coming in every few minutes, it’s no longer practical for me to maintain the list. Obviously, this is a very widespread problem for many apps updated from July 3–5.

Apple has told a few news outlets that they’re looking into the issue.

Update, July 6: This is now resolved. Go to the App Store and redownload any affected apps — they should show up in the Updates tab. Do not delete and reinstall: it’s no longer necessary and you may lose data in those apps.