iOS, Mac App Stores pushing out corrupted apps

iOS, Mac App Stores pushing out corrupted apps

Summary: The normally reliable iOS App Store and Mac App Stores appear to be dishing out corrupted updates to users that are refusing to load and crashing on the startup screen.


Reports are coming in from readers that selected newly updated apps from the iOS App Store and Mac App Store are refusing to work following the update.

Affected apps are either refusing to load altogether or crashing on the startup screen.

Instapaper creator Marco Arment reports that he was "deluged by support emails and Twitter messages from customers," who could no longer open his app following the release of the new 4.2.3 update.

"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," writes Arment on his personal blog.

When updating apps using iTunes some users are seeing a dialog box displaying "error 8324" or "error 8326".

The following is a partial list of apps that Arment believes to be affected:

  • Instapaper
  • GoodReader
  • Readdle Scanner Pro
  • Angry Birds Space HD Free
  • Gaia GPS
  • Pair
  • Redshift
  • Flick Soccer
  • iBike Moto

The full list of apps affected has grown to well over 70.

I can confirm that I am experiencing this problem with both Instapaper and Angry Birds Space HD Free apps.

It seems that the only fix for those who have corrupted copies of an app is to delete it and reinstall a good copy. However, it seems that both the iOS App Store and Mac App Store are still serving corrupted apps, so you might need to wait until good copies are released.

Given that this problem appears to be ongoing, it may be a good idea to hold off updating any apps until Apple fixes this problem --- especially any apps that are critical to your workflow.

You can delete apps on iOS devices by tapping and holding the screen until the icons start to "jiggle" then tapping the red "X" in the top-left corner to delete. Press the "Home" button to return them to the normal "unjiggling" state.

Apple has not responded for comment to ZDNet, but will update the post if I hear back.

UPDATE: A long-time Hardware 2.0 reader/tipster offers this temporaty workaround.

Since I have three apps that have stopped working, and since the developers seem powerless to fix this issue, I decided to give Apple tech support a call and see what they had anything to offer.

While officially Apple's official position is that apps are the responsibility of the developers, the support rep did have this suggestion. It will only work if you updated the app OTA -- Over The Air -- and haven't connected it to iTunes since making the backup.

- Delete the app off the iPhone/iPad

- Connect the device to iTunes

- Go into the Apps tab and add the app to the device manually

- iTunes will now copy an old copy of the app back to your iOS device -- it's rather an ugly hack but it can help get that must-have app back working

Topic: Apple

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  • Normally, I would hold the developer accountable for their corrupted apps

    However, in this case, Apple takes great pride in their App Store security and screening process. Therefore, in this case, I believe the bulk of responsibility to offer the consumer stable apps for downloads belongs to Apple. The only responsibility the developers have is to their "bottom line" and their stock holders. If they keep submitting buggy apps, people will simply "vote with their wallets" as a way of showing their displeasure with the Apple ecosystem.
    • Apple is not the one doing SQA on the software

      Apple only inspects for signs that the app or patch is filled with malware. That is all they do.

      Any quality control on the software must be performed by the developer. So an app crashing after an update is the fault of the developer.

      The only way Apple could be at fault is if during the update process a bug on the OS corrupted the binaries.
      • Apple does more than check for malware

        When you upload an app, yes Apple checks for malware and other things. They also, and more importantly, encrypt and compress the application. This affects the end size of the application depending on how the efficient the compression algorithm is able to work on the encrypted app. I believe this is done to help prevent app piracy. Anyway, if there is a problem in Apple's encryption and compression process, that has nothing to do with the developer. They have no control over what Apple does once they submit their app.
  • Android Does Integrity Checking

    Apps on Android are signed with a developer-specific key, which can be automatically checked at all stages of the process--uploading to the Play Store, installation on a device, or even just sending a copy of the APK file to somebody. If even a single bit is modified, the signature verification will fail.

    Wonder why Apple doesn't do something like this?
  • I don't think this is the developers' fault

    Only because it's across such a wide variety of reputable developers. This sounds like the app binaries have become corrupted on Apple's distribution servers. This would be a 100% Apple problem.