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Apple 'fesses up: We broke App Store downloads

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Application security programs and practises

An Apple App Store server spat out broken copies of several high-profile titles this week, the iPad maker has admitted.

Updates for popular software including Instapaper and Angry Birds in Space were corrupted when downloaded, causing the programs to crash when fanbois attempted to use them.

Instapaper dev Marco Ament chronicled his nail-gnawing frustration after a flood of punters blamed him for the error even though he was powerless to fix it. Deleting the app and installing it from scratch fixed the problem on individual devices, but Apple's cock-up meant a new version of Instapaper received a rash of one-star reviews.

The data tampering was caused by the anti-piracy code that Apple adds to applications before they're made available on the App Store. In a statement, the company added that it was a temporary problem that was now fixed:

We had a temporary issue that began yesterday with a server that generated DRM code for some apps being downloaded, it affected a small number of users. The issue has been rectified and we don’t expect it to occur again. Users who experienced an issue launching an app caused by this server bug can delete the affected app and re-download it.

Marco took issue with the "small number of users" estimate from Apple: he has had reports that 120 apps were affected and reckons at least 20,000 users experienced the bug. ®

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