Update: iOS Crashes

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When Apple released iOS and iPadOS 13.4 back in April they introduced a serious bug that has been causing major issues ever since. If you recently saw forScore launch to a white screen and remain unresponsive for an extended period of time, that was likely this bug. We’ve worked hard to get Apple to acknowledge and resolve this issue, but it persists.

In June, Apple told us they’d fixed it with iOS and iPadOS 14 and that no further feedback from us would be acted upon. We knew those major updates were still months away, so we created a workaround but made it opt-in due to significant limitations it imposes on audio playback. Meanwhile, as we finished forScore 12, we disabled this workaround for iOS 14 users since we fully expected that Apple’s fix would be the end of it. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to have been the case and we’ve had to put the workaround back in with forScore 12.0.2.

We don’t know if this is the same bug or if it’s a separate issue that exhibits the same symptoms, but we again cannot stand by and let these crashes go on—we’ve spent years building the trust of musicians everywhere and we will not let that trust continue to erode while we wait for Apple to deal with this bug at their own pace.

Since we don’t have any idea when this will actually be resolved, we’ve taken additional measures with forScore 12.0.2: if you haven’t enabled our workaround and you experience this crash, it’ll kick in automatically the next time you launch forScore. It doesn’t change your settings so the app may crash again if you relaunch it (not to be confused with closing and reopening it), but this at least ensures that you can access your music no matter what.

This isn’t how we want to be spending our energy, and it’s not the kind of experience you expect from us. You shouldn’t have to know about any of this, but we’re running out of alternatives. Our customers are our highest priority and our relationship with Apple is non-negotiable, so we have to find a balanced way forward. We will continue to communicate with you, work hard for you, and push on with everything we’ve got. Thank you as always for your patience, support, and understanding.

Face Gestures

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Last week Apple unveiled two new iPad models—the 8th generation iPad (released last Friday) and 4th generation iPad Air (coming next month). Based on Apple’s technical specifications for these devices and a few user reports, we believe that the 8th generation supports forScore Pro’s Face Gestures but the new iPad Air will not.

Face Gestures are built using Apple’s Vision framework which, until last week, only provided face tracking features on devices with the TrueDepth camera system—we assumed that its unique hardware provided the data necessary for implementing this feature. Clearly that has since changed with the release of iOS and iPadOS 14.

We don’t know anything about how this works under the hood, how accurate face tracking is without the advanced TrueDepth components, or why the forthcoming iPad Air won’t support it (especially given that it costs almost twice as much), but we’re very happy to see one of forScore’s most innovative features come to Apple’s most affordable iPad.

forScore 12

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Today we’re very happy to announce the release of forScore 12, available immediately on iOS and iPadOS as a free update for all users. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our update page to learn all about it. It’s a huge update on its own, but of course that’s only the beginning—forScore 12 will be coming to the Mac this fall once Apple releases their next big update to macOS.

Thanks once again to our incredible beta testers who helped us get this major update ready, and to all of our customers for your support—it’s more important this year than ever before, and we can’t thank you enough.

forScore 12

Available now for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch

Apple’s Fall Updates

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Each year we pride ourselves on providing optimized versions of our apps on or very near day one for each major OS update. We spend all summer working with beta versions and put a great deal of energy into ensuring that our customers have the best possible experience as soon as they’re ready to update.

Yesterday, however, Apple announced that most of this year’s updates would be released this morning. Developers were given less than 20 hours to download the finalized tools, check their apps for any bugs resulting from last-minute changes in Apple’s SDKs, and submit their apps for review (which can take anywhere from a few hours to a week or more).

Although we spent months getting ready for these updates and we’re very excited to provide our latest free update to all forScore users, Apple prohibited developers from submitting their changes until yesterday afternoon. As a result, we won’t be able to provide day-one support this year and our customers will have to wait to take advantage of the tremendous amount of work we’ve done.

Fortunately, we’re not aware of any major issues with forScore 11.2.6 running on iOS or iPadOS 14, nor are we aware of any issues with our other apps. Our recommendation in years past has been to update when you’re ready, but to consider waiting a few days or weeks if you can for any major issues to get worked out.

This year is different, though, since we’re still reeling from a significant bug in iOS and iPadOS 13.4-13.7 that Apple says has now been fixed. We still advise customers to at least consider holding off for a short while just in case something isn’t working as expected, but if you’ve been experiencing those crashes updating may be far less risky than remaining on iOS 13.

Things move very quickly this time of year, and hopefully we’ll have lots of great news to share and celebrate very soon. For now, thanks for your support and understanding.

Update: forScore 12 has now been approved by Apple’s review team and is rolling out to the App Store worldwide. We’ll post more information very soon, thanks once again for your patience!

Sneak Peek: forScore 12

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forScore has come a long way since its introduction back in 2010, and what started out as a simple sheet music reader for iPad has since turned into something far bigger: the ultimate sheet music reader for iOS. Today we’re very proud to announce forScore 12, our latest major update that takes things even further.

This fall, forScore comes to the Mac with an incredible new experience that’s optimized for the big screen. It’s totally familiar but more flexible and powerful than ever, giving you a whole new way to enjoy forScore and read sheet music. forScore 12 is built for macOS 11 Big Sur and runs beautifully on all supported Macs, including the Intel-based models currently available and the Apple Silicon-powered models still to come.

As with every other major update we’ve released, forScore 12 is absolutely free for anyone who bought a previous version, and since it’s a universal purchase you get support for all three platforms automatically: iOS, iPadOS, and now macOS. That’s right, forScore for Mac is built in and absolutely free for all existing customers.

Building forScore for the Mac was no small feat, but of course that’s just part of what this major update has to offer. As usual we’ve put together a special sneak peek to give you a look at some of what’s coming. Check it out below!

forScore 12 Sneak Peek  

Labs Update

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We’re continuing to test iCloud Syncing with forScore Labs, and we just dramatically increased our tester limit to allow even more people to participate. If you tried to sign up previously and weren’t able to, we invite you to check it out now. Click the button below to learn more about forScore Labs and to join the program if you’re interested.

Thank you to everyone who’s already been helping us with this—Labs’ unique testing environment has made all the difference for us as we work on this crucial component while also prepping new features and getting ready for this fall’s major OS updates. It’s a balancing act, and your patience and enthusiasm is invaluable.

forScore Labs  

iOS & iPadOS 13 Crashes

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Over the past several months we’ve seen a notable increase in system-related crashes from users running iOS and iPadOS 13.4 or later. This is a system issue related to Apple’s Media Player framework that we identified and notified them about on April 6th. We’ve been doing everything we can since then to help them resolve it and they have recently indicated that this may be fixed with iOS and iPadOS 14 (we have not been able to reproduce the issue and cannot confirm this yet).

Early on, we learned that in some cases toggling the “Media & Apple Music” permissions switch in the Settings resolves the issue, but this does not work for all people. We know these crashes are unacceptable and so, given that a permanent fix appears to be some months away, we created a workaround of our own that we’re releasing today with forScore 11.2.5. Unfortunately, this bug is pervasive and the only way we can avoid these crashes is to completely avoid accessing the system’s music player—that’s a big change that reduces forScore’s capabilities, so we’re making it opt-in.

Here’s how it works: in the forScore section of the Settings app (not forScore’s own Settings panel), you’ll find a new option called “iOS & iPadOS 13.4 Workaround” that you can enable to avoid these crashes. This setting does not take effect until you restart forScore, however, so you’ll need to close and relaunch the app after you change it.

Here’s what it does: it avoids using Apple’s shared music player that forScore normally uses when it can’t play audio using its own audio engine. That means you won’t be able to view or control playback for songs currently being played by other apps (like the Music app), and you won’t be able to play songs that forScore can’t directly access. This typically includes DRMed purchases, items that are available to stream but have not been downloaded to your device, and any song if you have forScore’s “Use system audio engine” advanced option enabled.

We know these aren’t minor changes and if there was any other way to avoid these crashes without reducing functionality we would use it. For now, however, this is the best way to ensure that forScore remains stable and usable until Apple’s next major OS updates are released. We greatly value the work Apple does to improve and advance their platforms and we appreciate their help, and we want to especially thank those customers who helped us get the information Apple needed to get this bug sorted out.

Update: please see this article for additional information concerning the release of iOS and iPadOS 14 and additional changes we’ve made to this workaround.

WWDC 2020

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A lot of news came out of Apple’s annual developer conference keynote this morning and we’re just beginning to sift through it, but there’s a lot of it and we know you’ll have questions just like we do. Right now we know very little, so please be patient while we watch Apple’s sessions, read their documentation, and figure out what the rest of the year might hold for us.

Until then, we can’t resist celebrating the inclusion of forScore in today’s keynote as one of a few examples of great apps designed specifically for iPad. Thank you Apple for continuing to push the iPad forward and for giving us the tools we rely on every day to make forScore and all of our other apps possible!

Introducing forScore Labs

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Our beta testers are invaluable when it comes to finalizing the latest major forScore updates, but there are limits to what we can do without putting their music libraries (and in some cases their livelihood) at risk. So today we’re announcing a new program, forScore Labs, which will give us the flexibility to test bigger features for longer.

forScore Labs is a separate app that’s only available for beta testing through TestFlight (it won’t ever be available on the App Store) and it can be installed on a device that already has forScore on it—they’re completely standalone apps. forScore Labs is nearly identical to forScore, aside from the new features or changes we’re testing at the moment.

Before we get into what the first version will include, we want to be clear: these features might never be publicly released. They are at the proof-of-concept stage, we have no hard time frame for their release, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever be finished. The presence of a feature in forScore Labs should never be interpreted as an announcement.

The inaugural testing phase of forScore Labs includes something we’ve been working on for several years now: iCloud syncing. With an app as complex as forScore developed by a company of just two people, this has been a huge undertaking for us and we’re very excited to finally be reaching this milestone.

We’ve put together a new page that details the forScore Labs program and gives you more information about what to expect and how to sign up. If you’re interested in something like this, be sure to check it out now—space is very limited.

forScore Labs  

Nocturne 1.3

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Nocturne 1.3, the latest free update to our MIDI recorder, is available now on the App Store and Mac App Store. This version introduces a newly rewritten recording engine that addresses Nocturne’s biggest weakness: handling of delayed events, especially when using network MIDI sessions. Version 1.3 also brings enhanced support for use with pointing devices on iPadOS, adds the ability to scroll left and right to adjust a track’s playback position (on iPad or Mac), and improves various interface elements on the Mac.

Until now, Nocturne has really been a passion project for us. It’s an app we created to provide a simpler approach to recording musical ideas quickly—a sort of MIDI notebook—and to prove that there’s room for such an app in a marketplace full of sophisticated alternatives. It’s clear that there is, and with these improvements we think Nocturne lives up to its potential like never before.

To all of you who bought it, thank you for helping it grow. As with all of our products, Nocturne is fueled by your support, feedback, and passion.

Nocturne 1.3

Available now for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS