Instapaper Gotcha

This is weird, Instapaper is totally going berserk on me.

When reading articles, I sometimes tap on links to see what’s behind. The expected behavior in this case is that a little pop-up shows up that asks me whether I want to follow the link or save it for later.

The issue that I’m experiencing, however, is that Instapaper 5.1 will just draw a filled grey rectangle around the link and then completely freeze for a couple of seconds. That’s right, the app won’t respond to any input during this period.

After some seconds, it will jump back to life and respond to inputs as expected. Here are some observations:

  • I have seen this behavior on both an iPad 4 and an iPhone 5.
  • It happens on WiFi and on cellular.
  • In some cases, very rare, the pop-up will appear some additional seconds after Instapaper became responsive again. It is nearly impossible to reproduce this behavior.
  • It does not only happen on some outlandish web sites, I have seen the issue appearing on various articles saved from Daring Fireball.
  • In some cases, while still reading the article, Instapaper will stop the freezing and start responding to taps on links as expected. After it does so, I have never seen a case where the freezing starts again after some time.
  • The issue shows up in approximately 50% of the articles in my reading list.
  • I already tried deleting and then reinstalling Instapaper on my devices. The issue persists.
  • I did not yet try creating a second account to check whether I’m seeing the issue in the new reading list as we’ll but it is probably safe to assume that the behavior is not tied to the account but to a bug in the software.

I find it hard to believe that I’m the only person being exposed to this issue. Instapaper support1 says they haven’t heard about something similar and there is no way to reproduce the issue for them.

As much as I appreciate the development that Instapaper as a product has undergone since it sold to Betaworks, this is crippling the reading experience to no small extent.

I’d appreciate any comments from people who have encountered this behavior in their installations. Maybe I can take that as a reinforcement to approach Instapaper support again regarding this issue.

[Update] After using Instapaper 5.1.1 for about a week I have not come across the described issue again. Seems that the new version fixes the problem. Great!

  1. I got a response to my support query within 48 hours. No complaints about that.