Apple's "Copy Link" Extension is Broken

UPDATE: As of January 21, 2015 or so, the bug described below was fixed by Apple everywhere except in the Update tab of the App Store as noted by @drdrang.

Sometime around January 15th, I noticed that the "Copy Link" action extension that is built into the iOS App Store and the iOS iTunes Store were broken. "Copy Link" is an action extension that is built into the share sheet for each of Apple's iOS storefronts. Beginning with iOS 8, the "Copy Link" copied the title of the item selected in the store and a custom short URL. The trouble is, "Copy Link" no longer copies the short URL to the selected store item in most instances, it only copies the title of the item.

Since writing and tweeting about the problem, I have have discovered a few more details and heard from a number of people about the problem. Here's an update on what we know now:

  • The bug is global. I have heard from people all over North America, the United Kingdom and Europe who all report the same problem.
  • The bug appears to be a server-side Apple issue, not a bug in the apps themselves. This is, of course, conjecture, but seems logical given that there have been no recent updates to the iOS store apps.
  • The bug seems to be persistent. Except for one person who reports that the links work intermittently, "Copy Link" appears to have been broken continuously since around January 15th.
  • The bug affects more than just the App Store and iTunes Store. The iBooks store is also affected. The Podcast and iTunes U storefronts are not affected however, which is strange because both share the itun.es short URL used by the iTunes Store. Go figure.
  • The bug may manifest itself differently on different versions of iOS. I have not tested it myself, but I heard from one person that on iOS 7, "Copy Link" copies the link, but not the title of an item -- the exact opposite of iOS 8.
  • Short links still work. Although there is no way to generate a short appsto.re or itun.es URL in the affected apps currently, if you have a previously generated link, it works.

I have submitted a bug report to Apple, which you can find here and duplicate if you wish.


About the Author: John Voorhees is the creator of Blink: Better Affiliate Links, an upcoming iOS app, which explains his unnatural obsession with Apple store links. Find out more at getblinkapp.co