iWork (Mac, iOS, iCloud)

In the past week or so, we have been inundated with numerous tips about an apparent issue with Apple’s iWork productivity suite running on the iPhone 5s.

Folks have been emailing us about their top-end iPhone abruptly restarting each time they’d fired up Apple’s Pages, Numbers or Keynote app.

Digging deeper, the problem raises its ugly head not just with iWork but some third-party apps as well. I’m just scatter-shooting here, but this could be due to the iPhone 5s’s A7 chip and the transition to 64-bit computing.

Sure enough, a quick hop over to Apple’s support forums revealed a thread with similar complaints where the iPhone 5s goes into a blue screen prior to respringing – hence the Blue Screen of Death moniker.

As this issue continues to persists, I though you should know about how it manifests itself and tell you about a band-aid solution. Apple of course is cleverly keeping mum on the matter and is yet to respond with a software fix for the glitch. Read on…

Reader Lindsey T. told iDB via email:

It only happens when you select to edit the documents and then do not fully back out of the document before pressing the home button. Maybe it’s just happening on a few people phones. It’s definitely something with the application and not necessarily the phone.

Another disgruntled user who took to Apple’s support forums (here and here) explained his iPhone 5s restarts after pressing the Home button to switch Pages, Keynote or Numbers. The issue manifests itself on all iOS 7 versions and only on iPhone 5s devices.

Wiping your iPhone 5s clean and restoring it as a new phone won’t help.

Check it out in a video below.

It’s disheartening, ins’t it?

Some folks experienced the issue even after they had taken their handset to Apple and received a replacement unit. This gives us reasons to speculate it’s probably a software bug, most likely a system-wide error in iOS 7.

And how do we know this?

Because a few MacRumors forum members reported resprings occurring with several different third-party apps such as ESPN, Downcast , Facebook, Nike+ and many others.

It also seems the bug is worse (i.e. reboot loop) for some users than others.

This may not matter much to you, but users who depend on Pages, Keynote and Numbers for their daily productivity are clearly being disadvantaged as this bug hinders their work.

Looks like the suggestion is to turn off iCloud document syncing and back out of the iWork document before hitting the Home button. To disable iCloud sync for iWork apps, go to Settings > iCloud > Documents & Data and set the Pages, Keynote and Numbers switches to OFF.

Backing out of the document worked for our reader Lindsey who noted that “if I do not back out then it goes to that blue screen and restarts the phone”. Amazingly enough, double clicking the Home button to invoke app switcher appears to fix the glitch for some so there are no definite rules of thumb here.

iOS 7 Beta 3 (App Store first-run, free iLife and iWork downloads)

Disabling iCloud sync helps mitigate the issue, but it’s a shame Apple hasn’t fixed this yet.

The problem is getting even more pronounced given how iOS 7 prompts (see above) users to download Apple’s previously paid for Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iPhone and iMovie applications free of charge, with new iOS device purchases.

How are those unassuming users going to feel after they have download these apps only to see them constantly crashing their brand spanking new phone.

Note that some people observed the same issue on previous iOS versions and there have been reports in the past of red screens of death on iPads as well. If you ask me, the aforementioned glitch probably has a lot to do with Pages, Numbers and Keynote running in 32-bit mode on the iPhone 5s’s 64-bit processor, especially as the problem doesn’t seem to occur on any of the older iPhones.

No matter how you look at it, teething issues are the industry norm for every major software release and iOS 7 is no exception. For example, some iPhone 5s units would not allow their owners to scan their prints in order to authorize iTunes purchases, prompting Apple to unleash the minor iOS 7.0.1 update fixing the bug.

And two weeks ago, Apple again issued another update, iOS 7.0.2, to fix another Lock screen vulnerability. If web logs are an indication, iOS 7.1 is just around the corner.

We’d love to hear from iWork users who are dealing with the blue screen of death down in the comments.