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

Page Copy & Paste

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Last week we released forScore 11.2 and one of its headlining features is Page Copy & Paste which allows forScore Pro subscribers to copy or cut a portion of a page’s contents and paste it elsewhere on that page, on another page, or even in another document. It extends the existing copy/paste functionality of the Selection annotation tool when used with the new PDF layer that’s automatically available on every page.

We know that some people who are anxious to use this feature aren’t necessarily familiar with the Selection tool, though, so we’ve updated our knowledge base article to provide step-by-step instructions. We’re sorry this wasn’t available last week, but we think it’ll help curious users get up and running quickly.

App Reviews & Support

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We occasionally get app reviews from users asking questions or seeking help, so we wanted to take a moment today to discuss how app reviews work and why they’re not a great way for forScore users to get answers.

For most of the App Store’s history, reviews were totally one-sided: developers couldn’t respond publicly or privately to offer help or ask for clarification. That changed a few years ago, but Apple limits the number of times a developer can respond to a review and, most crucially, they must approve each one and it can take up to a day for a response to appear on the App Store. At that point the reviewer is notified of the response via email, but if the reviewer doesn’t regularly check that email address the response may never be seen.

In general, reviews are great for offering your overall opinion about an app’s functionality and usefulness to you on the whole in a way that helps others understand if the app might be right for them as well. When you’re having a specific, temporary problem or don’t understand how something works, please get in touch with us first and let us help; you’ll get a much faster response, more detailed information, and be able to follow up with other questions at any time.

Reviews that follow these guidelines really do help. We just released our 17th major update to forScore, each one absolutely free for all users who purchased a previous version. If you bought forScore 1.0 for $2.99 back in 2010, you’ve gotten access to every single one of these updates and an app that does orders of magnitude more than it did at the start. If you can, please consider leaving a 5-star review and help us fuel all of the updates still to come.

forScore 11.2

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Today we’re proud to announce the release of forScore 11.2, available immediately as a free update for all users. It’s a jam-packed release and we can’t cover it all here, so be sure to check out our update page to learn all about it. We think it’s easily the best version of forScore yet and we think musicians everywhere will love the new features, big upgrades, and incredible enhancements.

Thanks once again to all of our customers, and especially to our amazing beta testers for helping us get ready for this big release. Your support keeps us going and ensures we can keep releasing big new updates for years to come. Thank you, truly—we couldn’t do it without you.

forScore 11.2

Available now for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch