Earlier this week, several iPhone and iPad users received updates to apps that they had already updated. It was an odd thing to wake up to, with some people receiving close to 100 app updates.
At the time, it appeared Apple was reissuing updates that had rolled out over the month of May, but it wasn’t clear why. However, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant has confirmed to TechCrunch that it was fixing a bug in iOS 13.5.
The bug involved the Family Sharing system and affected apps on iPhone and iPad, causing them not to open on users’ devices. When an app didn’t open, users received an error stating the app was “no longer being shared” with them. While Apple didn’t elaborate on what caused the bug, Engadget says the evidence indicates some kind of signing bug.
Apps delivered from the App Store are digitally ‘signed’ to validate that they came from the App Store. It appears Apple uses the signing process to validate ownership of apps for use in its Family Sharing program as well.
Previously, users were able to fix the issue by uninstalling and reinstalling apps that they couldn’t open. Apple’s reissued app updates essentially accomplish the same goal by automatically updating users’ affected apps and fixing the problem without forcing users to uninstall apps and potentially lose data.
Although it’s an unusual problem, Apple’s solution seems to work. Downloading a reissued app doesn’t appear to have any negative side effects and fixes the problem for most users. It’s also great that Apple was able to fix the problem without having to issue another update to iOS, which in turn could bring more bugs.