The FINANCIAL — Popular iPhone apps are crashing for thousands of people as soon as they are opened. This is not the first time a Facebook SDK has resulted in crashes. A similar issue occurred in May too. It is also having an affect on pre-loaded iOS apps, including the App Store and Apple Music. Safari, however, seems not to be suffering from the fault.
Spotify, Pinterest, Tinder and other popular apps are currently crashing for a large number of iOS users. The issues stem from Facebook’s iOS software developer kit (SDK) embedded in some of these apps. The SDK allows you, for example, to log into services using your Facebook account. Facebook on Friday acknowledged a bug in its SDK which was “causing some apps to crash.” An app developer consulted by Business Insider confirmed that Facebook was probably the cause of the issues. He showed us that selectively dropping traffic going from Spotify’s app to Facebook’s servers allowed Spotify to open and function as normal. Spotify acknowledged issues with its app, writing on its customer support account: “Something’s out of tune. We’re currently investigating, and we’ll keep you posted here,” Business Insider reported.
In almost the exact same circumstances as we saw in May, a bug in the Facebook SDK is once again causing major third-party iOS apps like TikTok and Spotify to crash on launch. Third-party apps integrate with the Facebook SDK to enable things like account login, analytics, and ads platform integration. The Facebook SDK is very popular and widely used in the iOS app ecosystem, which exacerbates the issue dramatically. If you’ve noticed your favorite apps crashing today, then this is probably why. Affected apps include Spotify, Pinterest, TikTok and many more, 9to5 Mac wrote.
According to Down Detector, the problems started at around 11:32 BST, and are affecting users around the world. Of those who reported issues, 67% reported problems with music streaming, 28% with log-in, and 4% with the website, Mirror reported.
It also appears European countries including the Netherlands and parts of Germany are having trouble on the platform. According to website DownDetector, 59% of the 9000+ issues reported have been to do with streaming music, with many users reporting crashes on the mobile app, according to The Herald Scotland.
The music streaming service appeared to work on other platforms, including the Android version of the app, according to users. The tracking website Down Detector saw a huge surge in the number of people reporting problems with the app, in what appeared to be a widespread outage. Problems were particularly focused in western Europe, according to the same site, though that may simply be a consequence of where the most people were trying to use it. Downdetector indicates that it is also having an affect on pre-loaded iOS apps, including the App Store and Apple Music. Safari, however, seems not to be suffering from the fault. Video games, including Jurassic World Alive, Mario Kart Tour, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and the Call of Duty mobile game are also reporting crashes, as reported by The Independent.
“Earlier today, a new release of Facebook included a change that triggered crashes for some users in some apps using the Facebook iOS SDK. We identified the issue quickly and resolved it. We apologize for any inconvenience”, Facebook wrote.
For a little more insight on what is happening behind the scenes, the Facebook SDK communicates back and forth with a data server. The client app code expects the data returned by the server to be in a particular format. But when the server suddenly starts sending data in a different format, the framework code is not prepared to handle the invalid response. So, the app code tries to access values that don’t exist — which leads to a fatal error and the app crashes, according to 9to5 Mac.