Published October 11, 2013
Apple’s new iPhone 5S is selling well, and is about to be released in numerous other countries around the world at the end of October and into November. However, reports are gathering the device may be suffering from a higher than expected level of app crashes. A report by AllThingsD references research from mobile app performance specialists Crittercism, stating that apps installed on the iPhone 5S have a two percent crash rate, while iPhone 5C and iPhone 5 apps are under one percent.
Users are reporting it’s not just third party applications which fail, but standard Apple apps including Settings, Numbers and Safari. Other apps which have shown up as problematic in the various posts covering the subject on Apple’s Support Communities discussion board include Facebook, Skype, and WhatsApp.
The latter is also mentioned in research from UTest, a company which analyzes trends in App Store reviews, as when the app is used on an iOS 7 device, the review is on average a star rating lower than those which don’t mention Apple’s new operating system.
Why are these apps suffering, and in particular on the iPhone 5S? It could be down to its new 64-bit A7 processor, which isn’t featured in the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5C, and therefore unavailable for testing by developers before launch. However, Apple hasn’t said apps designed for the 32-bit phones will have a problem running on the 64-bit iPhone 5S, and as several of the crashing apps are Apple’s own, it’s probably the case.
If the A7 processor is behaving, then perhaps iOS 7 is to blame. Since release, it has had two revisions already, and a third is expected soon. More likely is that the iPhone 5S’s issues are a combination of these two aspects. Crittercism’s CEO said any new hardware or software releases cause issues but, “Over time, those issues get resolved.” A report from September, which also quoted Crittercism, said when iOS 7’s beta was released to developers earlier this year, crash rates from devices running iOS 6 went from 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent, as the teams focussed their attention elsewhere, so the iOS 7 situation is hardly unique.
It seems the transition to a new operating system and the introduction of 64-bit architecture, along with Apple’s requirement for any new app or app update submitted to have iOS 7 compatibility, may have caught some developers by surprise, and problems are still being ironed out. However, if app ratings are dropping and negative reviews are being written, we can expect updates to appear quite quickly. As for Apple, Crittercism’s CEO said Apple is aware of the problems, and are, “Doing a good job of addressing them when they come up.” Let’s hope iOS 7.0.3 comes out soon, and calms the situation down.