A Letter from our Vice President

Posted by on 07/21/2014 in:

Open LetterDear Friends,

Greetings in the Lord from Spokane! It has been an exciting few weeks here at Olive Tree. The release of version 5.9 for our Bible study apps for iOS is a HUGE step forward in providing you the best in digital Bible study tools. We acknowledge that the update does not come without some inconvenience and even frustration for you. Because of this, we wanted to explain why we decided to make such a big change, and to ask for your patience and grace as we respond to your concerns and address issues.

The reason this update is so important is that we have completely re-engineered our core book technology. Our previous core platform was extremely limited in what it could do, which meant that we couldn’t provide you with the best experience for reading and studying the Bible. We knew it was time for our book technology to make some serious advances, and with this update, we are now able to provide you with text flow around images, book-specific fonts, drop-cap Bible chapter numbers, right-aligned text, and much more! Furthermore, we chose to utilize technologies that enable optimized experiences on the mobile devices you love to use to read and study the Bible. This technology is a fresh and firm foundation upon which we can continue to build amazing new Bible study features. You should look forward to great things coming over the next months and years.

Because we completely replaced our book technology, we need to replace your old book files with the new book file format. We also need to update all your notes, highlights, and bookmarks for the new format. We understand that re-downloading all your content can take time. When you just want to get into our app to read and study the Bible, these delays can get in your way! We apologize for this inconvenience. Please bear with us through this initial hurdle, and let us help you get back to running seamlessly again.

Our support staff is an amazing group of people who will gladly assist you with any problems you run into with the update. However, due to the number of people who have written in about this release, it may take a while for us to get back to you. If you write into our support team, please have patience with us! Your needs are very important to us, and we will help you as soon as we can.

In the meantime, if you are having problems downloading your books, notes, highlights, and bookmarks, or are not seeing books that should be in your account, please check here first for information about these issueshttp://www.olivetree.com/help/ios-updating-to-5-9/

It is our desire and passion to help you read and study the Bible. It’s the reason we come eagerly to work every day. I hope and trust that we will continue to serve and delight you with amazing apps, books, and support. We are excited to be used by God to further His kingdom by providing you with tools and resources to read and study His Word.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Steven Cummings
Vice President of Operations




  • JR says:

    Thank you! I’ve been a faithful Olive Tree user since the start and have purchased many, many study tools because I know I can always count on Olive Tree. That hasn’t changed and I’ll gladly wait and support you during this transition.

  • The whole site is unstable.

  • I would rather have the old format. If its not broke dont fix it.

  • Darrell George says:

    Thanks for keeping your ios and android app on the cutting edge. Your latest upgrade runs stable on my Ipad. I just purchased the ESV interlinear and enjoy the off-line use. Also, thanks for keeping your books affordable. In Christ.

  • Kunder says:

    I have been an avid user of the iOS version since I began using my iPad 2. Unfortunately, the new version would not respond instantly to touch on this old iPad 2 and hence deem the upgrade un usable for older devices. However, it kind of works just all right on my new iPad Air but not zippy fast yet as expected. The font formatting in search results as well as in resource guides is not yet satisfactory and look forward to subsequent update to sort out the matter. As per the promotion email, I tried to check out the upgrade price of the ESV-NA Greek Interlinear (as I already have a ESV Strongs) after logging into the account but the price of $49.99 remains unchanged. Request Olive Tree to kindly look into the upgrade pricing at check out.

  • barstep says:

    I’m using the new version on iPhone, iPad 2 and iPad 4 and it’s great on all devices. Thank you for delivering a version with better text and image formatting. Love it.
    PS I use up to six different versions, three study bibles, too many commentaries and hundreds of notes. I can honestly say that none have given any trouble except the LASBNLT until it was upgraded.
    Well done Olive Tree.

  • Jon says:

    I am fine with the changes and improvements, but it seems you were aware of what was coming, as far as end-user experience is concerned, and I think this blog post should have come before the update, and other clear, advance warnings would have helped prevent or at least limit the support headache you are going through right now. My first indication that things had changed was one morning when I launched the app to do my daily reading, saw the unfamiliar interface, and realized it must have updated in the night, and then all the other problems started–I couldn’t use the app that morning for my Bible reading. And then I went searching for information, and discovered the issues with the upgrade. But the thing is, I keep on top of happenings with OliveTree–I thought. I subscribe to this blog via an RSS reader (which is how I found this article), and the emails. But there was no advance warning of changes of this magnitude (to the user experience on first launch) anywhere that I saw–only _after_ the upgrade happened did I start to see information.

    Please let this small hiccup be a lesson that the next time you have to make changes like this, to work your hardest to inform your users _before_ they update, so they can choose when and how to go about it. I still haven’t updated all my library.

  • Keith Burrow says:

    Thank you Steven for your Blog post. It’s helpful to at least see that your company is trying to address the multitude of issues that have arisen with this latest update. However, I would like to suggest that you have overlooked an important issue in your post. Although I believe that many of us who have invested in your product and brand are willing to believe that the latest upgrade was a major step forward for your future platform plans, you have not addressed the issue of whether or not this major upgrade was suitably tested before rolling it out. Given the outcry over the past week since the upgrade was made available, I don’t believe it was.
    Many of us would like to turn off our automatic updates feature and roll back to version 5.5 until your company has had a chance for a “do-over” on this one, but this option is unavailable in the App Store. Would you please consider making version 5.5 available for download again until update 5.9.9 (after being properly tested) is released? I think this would go a long way for customers who have had their confidence shaken in your brand with this latest release. I respectfully ask that you would consider this.

    Kindest regards,


    • Greg Tassone says:

      As another user and early tester of this newer version, let me say this:
      The problems you are experiencing are almost certainly related to the updating/upgrading process still occurring in the the background (behind the scenes). Depending on how many annotations/highlights/etc. you have created, as well as how many books you have in your library, this process can take a LONG time. I suggest you leave your app open and your device plugged in for a long period as described on the support page for the upgrade:

      Then restart your app (the next morning, perhaps), assuming your downloads are done, of course. I have been using the 5.9 series of app since April and I no longer have any issues at all across a number of iOS devices.

    • Bill Ledbetter says:

      I too feel this was way too untested to spring it on all of us. I pretty much cannot use the app on my iPad 3; it is barely fast enough on my iphone5 to use in a real-time situation. I have been a lover of the product for some time now, and have a full library of titles and a huge (by my standards at least) set of annotations and highlights. I’ve waited for a while now to see if things would get better; they have not. I am very frustrated with the whole process; it is really poor practice to change something this big without any notice and certainly with this many issues. Lots of yet is simply not right in he new engine, and of course it is extremely slow. I’m sure it will work fine on the September release of the iPhone, but that seems fairly short-sighted to rule out all the older generations at once. (which, it doesn’t seem like you did on purpose). Please consider posting some updates along the way; do you have hopes of restoring performance? Are we seeing bug fix releases? I keep getting email blasts about new features and new titles and sales, but, I can’t use any of them and really will not consider buying any of them if I cannot use the app!

  • Troy Mullens says:

    I have 88 bibles, commentaries, atlases, etc. I only had yo manually update 5 of those from where I sit this update has worked flawlessly I updated my iPad first and then my iPhone. What I am really excited about in the Interlinear bible I purchased it and it is everything I expected and more.
    I wrote computer code for many years and know the thousands of issues involved in a change. To those saying it was premature, you have to issue it at some point in time and work out the little bugs as you go.
    My prayers and God bless you.
    Thanks for the fantastic resource,

  • Terry H says:

    Thank you for your post. I understand the complexity of rewriting your core text engine and appreciate the difficulty of not knowing exactly what will happen once a newly written product gets into a users hands. As believers, we should all extend grace to this company who has and is serving us as good stewards of God’s Kingdom.

    Change is a necessary part of life and sometimes it is hard. We have become too comfortable with a “contented life” that when something disrupts it we are too quick to criticize. As a software tester, I have learned that we cannot find all the bugs before something is released. I am always amazed at how the interactions of our software differ with every configuration possible out in the “real world.” If our company did “adequate” testing, we would never release a product. The only suggestion I have for the future is to inform us of new enhancements and what you may think are the possible ramifications. If we do not have auto-update on then we can decide. I know that this is not always a solution because problems are not always known beforehand, but openness about a new update can only benefit a company. I pray that your staff will have the patience and grace to deal with us, the restless many!

    I look forward to the updates and the changes you all have in store for the product. I want to say that your support is courteous and professional. May the Lord Bless your endeavors!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *