Every iOS update sends me scrambling to rebuild Santa's Naughty or Nice Scan-O-Matic app.

Every iOS update sends me scrambling to rebuild Santa’s Naughty or Nice Scan-O-Matic app.

I am an the epitome of an indie app developer: I’m a married middle-aged guy with a family and a full time job, but I enjoy building apps on the side and have enjoyed a small degree of success.  And while I enjoy the challenge and thrill of making something that can be downloaded by nearly anyone in the world, there are times when I wonder if it’s all worth it.

The latest Apple iOS update has been rough on me.

Whenever a new iPhone or new software update comes along I am forced to make changes to my apps and then go through Apple’s somewhat onerous publishing and review process again.  In the past few years I have had to recreate all my graphics in higher resolutions, create small updates to fix immediate problems and even had to rebuild my app from the ground up twice.

This latest round of updates has been particularly rough.  My most popular app, a Santa Nice or Naughty Scanner, has been hit particularly hard with this latest Apple update.

First, my app didn’t work at all with the new update.  So I made some changes, sent it to my QA department and published it. When I say “sent it to my QA department” I mean I tested it myself while sitting on the couch and it seemed like everything worked well.

Turns out that version had an error that only showed itself when you actually shut the app down and then restarted it.  In my rush to get the update out I hadn’t stumbled upon this particular problem.

My second version took a few days to put together.  I ran it through QA again, everything worked, and I published it through Apple.  But this time while I had some errors with the submission process so a week later, when my app was published, it didn’t work the same way it did in testing.

My third update in three weeks is now awaiting review with Apple and I have no idea if it will actually work or not.  I’m not sure what went wrong the with the second version, so I’m not sure if the third version will be any better.

During the week long waiting period I field the occasional email from a user who’s wondering when the app will start working again and I honestly have no idea how to answer these emails.  I apologize for the problems and assure them that I’m working on the problem.

Truth is, I’m not entirely sure what the problem is at this point.

So, yeah, that’s what it’s like to be a truly independent app developer.