Apple Fixing Apps Crash, FairPlay DRM Software May Be Reason


An encryption-related glitch has caused scores of iOS apps in recent days to crash launch upon launch, according to online reports. The problem was initially highlighted by Instapaper creator Marco Arment on Wednesday after learning the latest update of the Instapaper app in the App Store was crashing immediately after launch.
The issue appears to be related to Apple’s FairPlay DRM (digital rights management) software. An error in encoding FairPlay in newly updated versions of iOS apps means that after being installed, the app doesn’t clear DRM validation, causing it to terminate. The bug has likely only affected some apps and not others, given delays in having a related fix propagated through Apple’s network of servers, Igor Zhadanov, CEO of app developer Readdle, told TechCrunch.
Among other apps affected, according to Instapaper’s Arment, are Angry Birds Space, GoodReader, Huffington, Meetup, Ski Safari,  Smilebox, Threadnote and Yahoo Search.
Apple Thursday afternoon reportedy issued a statement in its Developer Forums, saying it was working on resolving the problem. Separately, A Huffington Post spokesperson confirmed the company’s new Huffington magazine-style app for the iPad had been affected, but its tech staff been has been assured by Apple that” it’s doing everything possible to address the issue.”
Apple didn’t disclose the cause of the glitch or give a timetable for a permanent fix.
Arment suggested in a blog post Wednesday that developers hold off on updating their apps until the issue is resolved. Users who are having problems with newly downloaded apps crashing will likely have to wait until a good copy is being served again by the App Store, and then delete and reinstall the app.
Peter Farago, VP of marketing for Flurry, which provides advertising and analytics services to app developers, said Thursday the company hadn’t heard directly from developers it works with about iOS apps crashing. “It’s possible that it’s concentrated in just a few apps,” he said. The App Store overall offers more than 500,000 apps.

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