Mac App Store: still broken despite Apple’s fix

I had gripes about Apple’s Mac App Store before 12 November 2015, but they were mainly about the app’s defective human interface. Every now and again there would be an annoying glitch, maybe leading to a broken download, or recurrent downloads of the same update.

But it was overnight on 12 November that things went really pear-shaped for many. Apps which we had purchased earlier and used quite happily beforehand suddenly became “damaged”. We were told to trash them and download again.

At first, one sharp-witted user worked out that it was the result of Apple’s security certificate – a vital part of DRM validation when you start a purchased app – having lapsed.

Later, Apple sent an explanation to developers which I found wanting here, at least insofar as it tried to put some of the blame onto them. Apple chose not to tell its millions of store customers anything at all.

According to that communication with developers, the problem arose because Apple had renewed its security certificate, but had used a certificate which used a SHA-2 hash key. Because many App Store apps used old code (that was the blaming bit), those affected apps could not use a SHA-2 hash key, and failed with the misleading error alert. But not to worry, Apple had replaced the SHA-2 certificate with a SHA-1 version, which was compatible with all the old code too, so the problems were gone.

But the problems remain, as of 20 November at least.

ongoingstorwrongNot only do I still see that completely incorrect error alert when starting purchased apps even now, but I am also being informed that apps which I have run recently (and have only ever used on this iMac) were purchased on another computer, so I have to sign in using my Apple ID before I can use them on this one.

ongoingstoreprobThis is, yet again, a completely misleading and incorrect error message.

Apple: there is something substantially wrong with DRM validation in the Mac App Store, something which went badly wrong on 12 November 2015, and although it is a bit better now, it is still broken.

Please fix it, rather than fobbing your vendors off with a story which no longer holds any water, and ignoring your customers.