Gold iPhone 5s top of the screen

Along with the iPhone 5s being a big seller, the new Apple handset has another not so welcome feature: its apps crash twice as much those on the iPhone 5c or iPhone 5.

The likely culprit: the iPhone 5s’s 64-bit A7 processor coupled with the 64-bit iOS 7 operating software and existing 32-bit apps. Apps running on the 64-bit iPhone 5s have a two percent crash rate.

That’s compared to just one percent for apps running on the iPhone 5c or iPhone 5, which use the previous-generation A6 chip and a 32-bit version of iOS 7…

Why is the iPhone 5s so vulnerable to app crashes?

The most probable reason is that developers had no time to check on the handset’s 64-bit hardware. By contrast, Apple released early test versions of iOS for 32-bit iPhones back in June, software flaw tracker Crittercism tells AllThingsD.

The company’s CEO described the problem as “inevitable” given Apple’s move to fully 64-bit hardware and software.

“Anytime there is new hardware or software release, we see issues,” Andrew Levy said. Levy pointed to when desktop PCs shifted to a 64-bit architecture, requiring developers to write new software.

The good news is that Apple is certainly aware of issues. Apple is doing a really good job of addressing these issues as they come up.

We previously detailed app crashes on the iPhone 5s, based on a growing thread on Apple’s support forums (here and here).

There’s one possible and reasonable explanation for all this.

Apple September 2013 event (iPhone 5s, 64-bit slide 002)

Transitioning existing 32-bits apps to 64-bit code brings with it increased memory usage that, unless managed carefully, can result in the increased memory consumption that can be detrimental to an app’s performance.

This is because iOS 7 on the iPhone 5s contains both 32-bit and 64-bit kernel, libraries and frameworks that load on demand, adding up to memory usage. When all apps running on the device are compiled for the 64-bit runtime, iOS 7 never loads the 32-bit versions of those libraries so the system uses less memory.

Unfortunately, app developers have only begun transitioning their code to the 64-bit platform so it’ll take a while until most App Store software is provided in the fat binary form that supports both 32-bit and 64-bit devices akin to universal iPhone/iPad app binaries.

Therefore, Apple states, “it is to everyone’s benefit that all apps running on 64-bit devices be compiled for the 64-bit runtime, especially apps that support background processing.”

Apple’s transition guide details porting apps to the new 64-bit architecture.

Here’s the dreaded ‘blue screen of death’ crashing an iPhone 5s.

Among the features introduced in iOS 7 is improved multitasking and Notification Center, the all-new Control Center and more. Since launching iOS 7 in late September, the company has issued two firmware updates fixing some of the early teething problems.

Now Apple is urging app developers to catch up by testing their apps on the 64-bit iPhone 5s. So far, most app updates have concerned themselves with only matching the cosmetic changes introduced with iOS 7.

What’s your experience with the iPhone 5s been so far?

  • iGOD

    Nooo…, Apple wouldn’t push out test product to their iFan, you must be wrong.
    or iFan maybe brainless to believe whatever the Apple tells them.

    • Tobo

      insecure much?

    • omrishtam

      how dumb are you?….you know that to fix those crushes all that developers gotta do is optimize it for the 5s and also apple gotta fix many bugs on ios 7 which is a diferrent subject….gtfo S-sheep not everyone imidiatlly buys an apple product dumbass. i have iphone 3gs and i bought the 5s….brainless? or i should buy the product you like instead of what i like

  • Mohammed Sahib

    Or Apple could simply sacrifice few dollars from their profit and equip the iP5s with 2 gigs of ram, this would solve the issues if they are truly a result of running out of memory. Sigh. I can totally understand sticking with dual core CPUs, but 1 GB of ram seems so small after reading this article.

    • iGOD

      It’s just a flopping from Apple for the next big thing.

    • Alex

      That would be counter productive, why use more memory when you dont need it? Thats the mentality that samsung uses. Dont optimize shit and just add memory. You wont get faster apps by adding more memory. If you add more memory and apps better manage the memory, you get better results.

  • Fevostone

    I think iOS 7 is buggy still need ironing out a little and I wish they would be quick about it and add some more stuff like kill all in app switcher and quick reply or and speed things up a little to.

    • Kurt

      Why is there not just one button to kill all running apps?? It’s soooo slow to get rid of all the apps in iOS 7. I miss my tweak, weeKill? something like that

      • Fevostone

        It would be nice if it was standard now. Apple like to make things simple..? Why isn’t this :-/

      • Kurt

        You can swipe 3 apps away at the same time, but still, a One click solution like on my Note 3 and my jailbroken iPad/iPhone would be nice. It’s 2013 after all. At least we got quick access to toggle wife,bluetooth etc.

      • Fevostone

        Bring on the jailbreak LOL but the only thing there is wen it comes out and I’ve got all my tweaks sorted and phone running mint the next iPhone will be out and I’ll be waiting all over again 🙁

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Twice the GPU.
    Twice the speed.
    Twice the number of crashes.

    • King of the swags

      Nope still only has one gpu XD

      • Guest

        This is from the official Apple iPhone 5s website:

        “The new A7 chip gives you CPU and graphics performance up to 2x faster than the A6 chip.”

      • Mohammad Ridwan

        Need I say more ?

      • iGOD

        I told you, they always believe whatever Apple told them.
        That’s only thing they want to hear, iFlop.

      • omrishtam

        S-sheep you are at the wrong place

    • omrishtam

      developers have to optimize it to the 5s…that’s is

  • Rowan09

    Well lucky for me, the apps I used has never crashed on me once.

    • iOops


  • TesticularFortitude

    So the the iPhone 5 has a crash rate of 1% and the iPhone 5s has a crash rate of 2%?

    So my iphone 5 won’t crash 99% of the time and my iphone 5s won’t crash 98% of the time?

    Lol… Seems normal to me.

    So basically, I can launch an app 100 times and it will crash once or twice? Please Ed, stop wasting our time.

  • shar

    yes, even for windows os, it was like this, when x64bit os was released for x64bit hardware, there were some programs that did not work, I remember I was very hesitant to upgrade to x64bit when it came out thinking about programs that might stop working.

    in case of iPhone, what will be important is the current compatibility (how soon developers will optimize their apps for x64bit) and backward compatibility (how will the x64bit optimized apps will function on x32bit systems, that means on upto iphone5 and even iphone5c),
    will the apps work on both framworks flawlessly, or will developers have to maintain 2 versions of their apps (a x32bit optimized and a x64bit optimized) and if app developers drop support for x32bit in favor of x64bit, it would mean no more x32bit updates forcing you to upgrade to x64bit iPhones.

    I think iPhone will be struggling with this for a while, until most apps are transitioned and most people have moved on to x64bit oses.

  • iOops

    Sure there has been teething problems but I find my 5s to be no less stable than my i5 on iOS7.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Lol sweet!

  • Abdl

    I didnt trust this 5s since from begining

  • ConduciveMammal

    Off subject but any 5s users been having issues with the TouchID sensor? Mine fails to recognise my fingerprint more times than it accepts. I’ve tried re-calibrating but still pretty bad

    • Kurt

      “You’re holding it wrong.”…

      jk…but really…Get new fingers.

  • Joe Benning

    This is BS. 5c sales are crap so “someone” is trying to thwart people from the 5s. My 5s has never “crashed”. ..pssshh.

  • Wyeth Dion

    A huge problem is the fact that the iWork and iLife apps have not been updated to iOS 7, and are therefore not fully optimized for it.

  • mav3rick

    “We took the very idea of crashing the apps and revolutionized the crash screen. In a unapologetically shade of blue. It goes great with 5s. The BSOD is meticulously designed to be minimalistic without any text to interfere with user’s experience.
    Here at apple design is important for us, it just have to work. And this is how we’ve done.”

    Either they get a cross-licence agreement for BSOD or MSFT should sue them.

  • G Mohal

    That 64 bit is doing something not so revolutionary. Lol

  • blastingbigairs

    I am becoming more and more happy with my decision to stick with my old faithful 5 on 6.1.2, and wait for the 6.

  • ongxa

    9 out of 10 iphone5s iphone5c well be returne.Apple is going down for let a kid make ios7.I have 3 iphone on os6 2 ipad2 my son pay with it for year.on ios6 never crash. I was force update it download with out my son ipad2 on ios7 crash everyday.he just wacth youtube and it crash and reboot .
    wifi not work that not work this not work.we use it for over a year work great.
    Now crash and reset everyday please be real. sale something is not work.
    Please post how many Iphone5s and c return.

  • Christopher

    Has apple even addressed this issue with a statement?