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Apple re-releases app updates to fix iOS Family Sharing bug

A large number of reissued updates for iOS apps were made available through the App Store on Sunday, an unusual event that appears to be Apple’s temporary fix for its Family Sharing bug until a more permanent repair is made.

Users updating their iPhone or iPad late on Sunday or Monday morning may see high quantities of app updates available for their devices. Depending on the user’s installed app count, the number of updates can reach quite high numbers, with some AppleInsider staff seeing around 50 updates for their devices.

The updates are unusual due to it seemingly being a mass reissuing of previously-released updates. For example, Chrome requested an update to version 83.0.4103.63 on Monday morning, but that exact version was first available to download from the App Store on May 21, four days prior.

The most plausible reason for the mass of updates is Apple has determined it is a solution to a recently-discovered Family Sharing bug found in iOS 13.5. The bug manifested itself as a message stating an app was “no longer shared” with the user and that they must buy it from the App Store.

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.

It is likely that by prompting updates for the apps to be installed, Apple is hoping the message will disappear for impacted users. The normal route to fix the issue is to re-download the app in its entirety, so an update could potentially reduce the amount of data that would otherwise be needed.

It is also a solution that would work for users without Apple needing to issue an iOS update, but given the nature of the error, a fix is highly likely to be in the works for the next iOS and iPadOS update release.


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