We leave the Internet for 24 hours, and this happens: Something is seriously wrong with Apple’s app store. As in, if you updated Instapaper or Angry Birds Space HD Free yesterday, there’s a good chance it just crashed upon launch. Users are having to perform clean installs, while developers are dealing with annoyed users who assume the fault lies with the app itself.
No one wants to do either of those things while recovering from a holiday hangover.
Instapaper creator Marco Arment kicked up the initial fuss with a rather disgruntled blog post. As he tells it, no sooner had Apple approved the latest Instapaper update than Mr. Arment received a flood of customer complaints that the app was no longer working. 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.
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.
So much for that vaunted review process.
Mr. Arment immediately emailed App Review and, while he hasn’t heard anything back, within a couple of hours anyone attempting a reinstall got a working version.
The developers at GoodReader, a PDF-reading app, confirmed the troubles in a blog post and added, “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.”
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update if we hear anything.
It’s not clear what created the problem, which means we’ve got no way of knowing whether it’s been fixed. Several apps now appear to be updating properly, but as of last night, the Verge found at least a couple of the apps on Mr. Arment’s list still demonstrating the aforementioned wonkiness. And as of this morning, Mr. Arment is still warning developers via Twitter that, “if you can help it, DO NOT release app updates today. The corruption is widespread and ongoing,” adding later than the list of corrupted apps currently stands at 73.
Every developer that ever had problems getting an app approved is cackling so hard right now.