According to multiple user reports on social media, Apple is re-releasing hundreds of updates to the already refreshed iPhone and iPad apps on the App Store, which appears to be its workaround for an odd Family Sharing bug that has affected some people over the weekend.
Eric Slivka of MacRumors speculated that there might be a problem with an expired certificate or other credential related to app sharing, which could have prompted Apple to “reissue these updates to include a valid certificate on each of the affected apps in order to fix the issue.”
The Cupertino tech giant has yet to publicly acknowledge this problem.
But first, a little backgrounder to get you up to speed.
You may or may not have noticed it yet, but many iPhone customers took to social media this past weekend to voice their complaints about a strange bug causing dozens of pending app updates showing in the App Store. Users even spotted updates for apps they’d already updated, with some of the more recent updates actually dating as far back as ten days.
As an example, some people have been having issues launching YouTube on their iPhone and iPad, with their device showing a message saying “This app is no longer shared with you”. The message goes on to recommend that the user purchase the problematic app from the App Store. At any rate, this does appear to be related to Apple’s Family Sharing feature.
Though the message typically is valid for changes in Family Sharing groups, it applied to users where no such changes were made. It also affected apps that are free to download, which are not usually affected by family group alterations.
Introduced in iOS 8 more than six years ago, Family Sharing lets you share your purchased apps with up to five other family members (as well as your bought media items and other things, including your Apple Music and Arcade subscriptions).
Anecdotal evidence on Twitter has surfaced a temporary workaround involving deleting and then re-installing any affected apps.
9to5Mac explains why Apple is re-releasing these app updates:
Rather than be laden with support complaints, Apple is using the App Store to essentially force this process to happen automatically. By issuing app updates, it is effectively uninstalling and reinstalling the relevant parts of the app binaries that were causing the certificate signing issues and making the error go away.
Apps that were manually offloaded by the user, or deleted and then re-installed, could then be launched successfully. I, too, can attest to being plagued with this issue. Moreover, a few friends of mine have complained to me about it as well — this odd bug is definitely out there.
It’s unclear at the moment whether this is something Apple might be able to fix on the server side, meaning no iOS update would be needed, or a new bug introduced by the recently released iOS 13.5 update, in which case a new firmware would be needed to fix this bug.
Are you seeing this problem on your device as well? If so, have you been able to fix it?
Let us know in the comments!