Popular iOS Apps Are Suddenly Crashing and Facebook SDK Is the Culprit

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated May 7, 2020

An increasing number of iOS users are reporting a weird occurrence having apps like Spotify, Tinder, Quora, Viber, TikTok, and Pinterest crashing upon launch. As millions use these apps, this problem has caused a pretty chaotic situation in the iOS community. At first, nobody could figure out what caused the crashes, and people went raging on Twitter, accusing the vendors of the affected apps. Add the lockdown / “staying inside” situation into the mix, and people weren’t very eager to be patient about this.

After noticing the common ground between so many popular apps, people eventually figured that the culprit was the Facebook SDK (software development kit). Many apps incorporate it to provide the users with Facebook login capabilities, allowing the connection of their social media profiles and a more coherent experience overall. Interestingly, even those who didn’t use the feature to sign in with their FB account were still plagued by the problem. Facebook released a new version of the SDK yesterday (6.5.0), and this is what caused the crashes and the inconvenience. The issue has been identified and fixed now (6.5.2), so people may get back to enjoying their favorite apps on iOS.

Some app developers continued to experience issues, though, and to receive reports about their apps crashing even after the updates. Others report crash rates of 15%, and many claim to have returned to normal. Although not many details about what exactly caused these issues emerged, some have pointed the finger towards new additions on the telemetry code. And this is a reminder of why it is a bad idea to login to apps by using your Facebook account in the first place.

Doing so constitutes a privacy risk, as you’re basically opening the door to one of the world’s largest data aggregators to enter your private space. Whether this is what you’re reading on Quora, whom you like on Tinder, or what you enjoy on Pinterest, why would you want Facebook’s prying eyes upon these activities? And besides that, iOS is supposedly the choice of the privacy-minded consumers, and Apple has gone to great lengths to secure your privacy by even introducing the “Sign in with Apple” system. By logging in with Facebook on various third-party apps, you’re practically throwing the most significant reasons for buying an iPhone out of the window.

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