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Apple App Store distributed "corrupted" updates for dozens of apps

The July 4 holiday may not have been so happy for some iOS and Mac users, who had to contend with reportedly corrupt app updates from Apple's App Store.

While Apple prides itself on a trusted environment for app users and an in-depth approval process, Instapaper developer Marco Arment complained Wednesday that just after rolling out the latest Instapaper update, users reported immediate crashes on launch.

"This doesn't make sense," Arment wrote on his blog. "Obviously, Apple had reviewed it, and it worked for them."

The developer concluded that the problem was rooted in a seemingly corrupt update being pushed out by the App Store, and not just for his app. At least 21 other apps were listed on Arment's blog, including GoodReader, which offered its own take on the problem.

On Goodreader's support website, developers said that customers could not launch the latest GoodReader iPad update, "despite the enormous amount of testing that we perform internally [...] and despite the testing that Apple performs while reviewing all releases."

About two hours after the Instapaper update went live, a functional version of the app was distributed on reinstalls, Arment said, adding that the problem seemed to have ceased since then.

GoodReader sidestepped Apple altogether, offering users a way to redownload a working app without losing saved in-app files and settings.

While it is not certain, GoodReader said it looks like the bug only affected customers who downloaded it directly on their iPad, via the App Store app. Updates through iTunes seem to be working, the site said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Arment warned developers looking to push out non-critical updates to wait a few days, assuming the problem is fixed soon.

"Because if this happens to you, all of your most active users, the people who will install updates within hours of them becoming available, will be stopped in their tracks," he said.

Additional corrupt apps include Angry Birds Space HD Free, Flick Soccer, Threadnote, CommBank Kaching, and SMARTReporter for Mac. The Next Web provided an updated list of corrupt apps.

Apple's App Store recently launched in an additional 32 countries, bringing its 650,000 apps to more users around the world. The store hit the 25 billion app download mark in March, five years after opening its online doors.