Mystery of Broken Apps Solved: Apple Fixes Server Problem for Crashing Apps

A short time ago, I published directions for How to Change the Name on Your Email Account in Sent Mail. Yesterday, one of my blog readers followed those directions to change the name recipients see on mail he sends. Shortly after, he wrote this disturbing comment on that post:

After I changed my name to Ran, every app I have downloaded quit working. I click the app, it fades and then returns, won’t run. When I go to the App store it shows the app installed…but it won’t work. Can you help repair this mess?

In an email reply to his plea for help, I assured him changing the name on outgoing mail should have no effect on his apps and suspected something else was happening. However, since my article prompted his request, I did what I could. In an exchange of email messages, I offered a few suggestions, none of which stopped the apps from crashing. Ran also sought a solution online. About an hour later, he reported “the darn thing fixed itself…couldn’t have been me” He was right. It wasn’t him. Today we know what happened.

There was a temporary problem with an Apple server that issued digital rights management code for dozens of newly downloaded apps as well as app updates. Because of an apparent corruption in the code, these apps crashed as users tried to open them, fading to black as the device returned back to the home screen. Following up on reports from developers of affected apps, Apple investigated and then worked to resolve the problem. It turns out Ran’s update to his email settings and the crashing apps on his iPad were simply an unfortunate coincidence.


About Andy Brovey

Dr. Andy Brovey, The Portable Prof, teaches about digital tools through his work, websites and social media. In 2007, Apple Inc. recognized his work and named him an Apple Distinguished Educator. He started this iPad Academy website shortly after the first iPad went on sale. On his Freelance Teaching site you'll find the resources you need to teach like a smart entrepreneur.