Designing Bible+ 6.0 for Android

Posted by on 06/01/2015 in: ,

The most important thing we do at Olive Tree is give people access to Scripture.

We want to make it easy for you to read, study, understand, and share Scripture. We believe that a great way to do that is through technology. It gives you the ability to always carry things like multiple translations, study notes, maps, commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and more (phew)! You’d need a truck to carry around all the books that you can keep in your pocket with Olive Tree.

sak210Computers and apps can be hard to use, though. More features and tools inherently make apps (and other things) more complicated. A butter knife is easy enough to figure out, but a 50+ function multi-tool has a steeper learning curve. What do I do if I just want to open a box?

As we add features and tools to The Bible Study App, we want to make sure that the app is helping you to read and study the Bible, not hindering you. We want to make sure that the features are there when you need them, but also ensure that they don’t get in the way when you don’t need them. This is why design is a very important part of what we do at Olive Tree.

We’re always working to improve the design of our apps to provide an easy-to-use and engaging experience. You can expect to see updates in the future with more design changes to make it easier for you to study the Bible on all our platforms. Let’s take a look at some of the work we’ve done in Bible+ version 6.0 for Android.

A More Engaging Interface

The first thing you’ll notice is that the interface is a bit more colorful. This was done to bring the app up-to-date with Google’s material design initiative, to make the app feel more like a true Olive Tree app, and to provide a more positive and less gray experience.


Something else you’ll notice is that if you double tap the screen, the toolbar will appear or disappear. We found that users had a hard time with the toolbar appearing and disappearing when they didn’t mean it to, which is why we made this change. Once you toggle the toolbar off, you’ll find that the whole screen is dedicated to showing text; the app gets completely out of your way so that you can read God’s Word without distractions.

One other change we made was to eliminate the use of the hardware-menu button found only on older Android devices. We’ve now moved the menu button into the interface to follow Android standards and to make the app easier to use for users whose phones don’t have a menu button. This change should also make it quicker and easier to make changes to settings when needed.

A Better Reading Experience

Something we’ve started working hard on at Olive Tree is the reading experience. We’ve dedicated some special attention to something called typography, basically the layout of text on the screen. We want you to be able to read Scripture and other books easily, without experiencing eye-strain, fatigue, or “bumps” in the layout that slow you down when reading.Screenshot_2015-05-21-14-45-55

To that end, we’ve replaced the default font with one that will be more readable on devices of all shapes, sizes, and display-types. We’ve also changed how text is laid out on the screen so that there is a more consistent rhythm, which makes for a seamless reading experience.

The fonts we’re using now also allow us to better support bold and italics (especially in Greek), which is important since bold and italics are often used to denote specific things in our resources. For example, the King James Bible uses italics to denote words that weren’t explicitly in the original languages but were added by the translators for clarity.

We’ve also been able to better bring over the formatting elements like tables, headers, and charts from Study Bibles and other resources. This makes the resources look a lot more like their print counterparts and thus provides a richer, more engaging reading experience.

Faster Performance

Often, when an app updates to make big changes like these, the app gets slower. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Bible+. The changes we’ve made have actually increased performance, especially on newer devices. You should find that you can scroll much faster than you ever could, and you’ll notice that the app feels all around snappier.

This is especially useful when doing your devotions in the morning, because it gives you more time reading and less time waiting to get to a passage. It’s also useful when trying to keep up in church while listening to a sermon, or in a small group studying a passage.

Still the Same Olive Tree

We’ve made a lot of changes to make the app better, but if you’ve used the app in the past, you should still feel right at home. We’re trying our best to bring improvements to the app while keeping the familiar functionality and overall experience that you expect from Olive Tree.

A lot of our employees have been using and enjoying these updates for a while, so we’re really excited to release it for everyone to enjoy. You can get the update by going to the updates section of the Google Play Store, or by tapping here on your device.


  • Ray Willis says:

    I still don’t see the update.

    • Monty says:

      It might take a while to get to your device. We have had reports of other users getting the update.

      • Dan says:

        So far so good. a few minor crashes (I’m on a custom build….5.1.1 – note 3 hlte – temasek(sp*))

        Downloads are 10000 times faster, Thank you
        One crash seems to be related to a few old blackberry entries showing up for me (BibleReader Resource Guide, BBE (blackberry))

        Thank you for your hard work on this application. PS… if you ever need a tester… I’m your guy.

      • David Price says:

        My Android tablet (Lollipop) updated though not my Android phone. However, it also erased my NLTse (free on a recent promotion) and my NIV (I paid for it). Now I can’t figure out how to “sign in” again on the updated app.

        How can I get back my NLTse and NIV?


      • Herman Kantz says:

        Why can’t we see all of the comments?
        I’ve tried two different browsers and neither will show all of them.

        • Monty says:

          When you get to the bottom of the page of comments, click/tap the “number” of the last comment you see. This should load the next group of comments.

    • Katie says:

      What about for a Kindle? I have Olive Tree on a Kindle Fire, so all the apps come through Amazon’s Appstore (not Google Play).

      • Monty says:

        Give us about a week. We are testing it to be sure it is stable on the Kindle. So far the testing is going well.

  • Romone says:

    Will it be available for android KitKat users or is it only for Lollipop?

  • John says:

    Downloading now! Can’t wait to dig in!

  • David says:

    Can we have some screenshots for phones rather than tablets, please.

    • Monty says:

      Hi David,
      The second screenshot down is from a phone. There’s a couple of screenshots on the Google Play store as well.

  • Dave says:

    New app v6 installed; looks good but not seeing how to exit the app.
    Android Lollipop on Samsung S5.

    • LaRosa Johnson says:

      The Android operating system manages its memory fairly well and closes inactive apps in the background, and having an “exit” option was a carry over from the early days of Android. If you want to exit the app tap the home button, but if you no longer want it running in memory you can clear it from your recent tasks. But if you go home and start using other apps, Android will free up the memory from our app as it needs it since it is no longer actively running.

  • John Orth says:

    I like the layout but so far its almost worse than before the update. The ui is great, but it will lags, at least on my tablet. Im kinda disappointed… maybe its because is new but with the old version you had a button you could push to exit and it would Dave your place.. that’s not there, you have to back Al the way out or clear the history t0 Dave your place. The thing for some resin don’t want to open a book ribbon where is supposed to, it goes to another chapter or rate at the top another chapter.., take your pick which one… gets stuck on trying a page and playing.., those haven’t believe before… is not as usable and slower than before.. oh and it is freezing up… the pages get stuck halfway and the links didn’t work half the time…..

    What happened guys… this app was great… now I’m thinking not so much… i just this for ministry most of the time. Have been planning on investing more into it, yet if these aren’t fixed how can I. This is the best app on the planet, with a lot of great resources

    • LaRosa Johnson says:

      The Android operating system manages its memory fairly well and closes inactive apps in the background, and having an “exit” option was a carry over from the early days of Android. If you want to exit the app tap the home button, but if you no longer want it running in memory you can clear it from your recent tasks. But if you go home and start using other apps, Android will free up the memory from our app as it needs it since it is no longer actively running.

      If you leave the app by tapping the home button it will remember its state for the next time you open it.

      • John Orth says:

        First, please forgive the typos. The issue isn’t really the back button. I don’t like it but I’ll learn to deal with it. Its the lag, the text not showing in two column, the scroll doesn’t work as it should etc. Its working a bit better now that I’ve changed some settings. Searching is another issue, especially the Thompson Chain reference, the others I’ve not tried yet.

        • Ray Willis says:

          Having a lot of issues on my Galaxy Note 4. Double tapping to open or close menu bar generally takes about 8-12 taps instead of two. Sometimes it is impossible to use a hyperlink to open the indicated scripture reference. Occasionally it opens an empty box if it does respond. I’m thinking you should have utilized many more beta testers and many more devices before releasing.

          • Monty says:

            Please email us at Our support team should be able to help with some of these issues.

          • John Orth says:

            I can’t say about anyone else but I have a couple times

          • Monty says:

            You should hear from someone from our support team real soon.

          • Ray Willis says:

            Don’t know if it’s just me, but I find I can’t scroll to the bottom when viewing the blog online no matter what browser I use. Is there a limit per blog?

          • Monty says:

            Hi Ray,
            When you get to the bottom of the comments, or as far as your browser will allow you to go, tap/click on a comment “number” and the next “batch” of comments should appear.

      • rlopez says:

        Hi LaRosa
        Will the NKJV Bible Study Guide be upgraded as well? I noticed that the other study guides on google play are showing the last upgrade from March 2014. Please let me know. THank you

        • LaRosa Johnson says:

          Yes, we will be updating those apps as well. We have a minor issue that we’re working through with those apps before we can release their update.

  • Shaun Burnett says:

    Unfortunately the update was a big disappointment with Google changing SD card write permissions. However, even with a rooted device and the KitKat SD fix, I found no setting to change the location where resources are stored. As a test I started downloading two collections and almost immediately started receiving memory warnings. I killed the new OliveTree, uninstalled and restored the previous version from backup.

    • LaRosa Johnson says:


      Was the message saying you were running out of storage space or did it say something to the effect of “entering low memory state”? The latter is a message that lets you know Android RAM is nearly full and it is entering a mode where it is aggressively closing background apps to free up memory/RAM for the currently running app. This is different from the phone’s physical storage & file system.

    • LaRosa Johnson says:

      Shaun, we are currently working to return the ability to store your library on the device’s external storage. It should be in the next update, but it is still at least a week out before it’ll be live. Unlike before where you had to manually select a path, this time will likely be a simple toggle between internal/external storage.

  • Franklin says:

    Due to the name change of tge app, it does not automatically push the update. D I es this also mean we have to downoiad all the purchased resourfes, again?

    • LaRosa Johnson says:

      You will have to download all of your resources again with this update. It is not because of the name change, but due to the new fact that we now have a new system for displaying resources. In order for you to take advantage of all the new visuals it requires an update to the resources as well as the app. All of our books are now in a new format that are built to work with the new app.

  • ThM says:

    All installed bibles gone away. Crashes often on startup or later. Many functions don’t work. Bad Hebrew font. Don’t see any settings menu.
    In one word: it doesn’t work (on my device). Others reported similar things in the german play store.
    Had to find an apk of the previous version and install it (and now all bibles again). Please bring the previous version in the appstore. Please, please, please …

  • William says:

    I have checked Play Store web site multiple times and upgrade is not listed??? I have entered “Olive Tree”, Olive Tree Bible”, “Olive Tree 6.0”, etc. All I get is the old version. It is now June 2 and still the same results. Is there an alternate download site?

  • James says:

    Will this be available through Amazon for the Kindle Fire HD? I am running the latest version for that.

    • Monty says:

      Hi James,
      We’re working on a few more details for the Kindle version. Should be about another week. We are testing it to be sure it is stable on the Kindle. So far the testing is going well.

  • Ian says:

    Looks great, however my toolbar disappears OK, but does not reappear no matter what I do. I’m using a Samsung Note 10.1. The previous version worked well.,

  • Julians says:

    My resource guide is not working. I tried the best. KIndly fix the issue.

  • Mark Ritchie says:

    I have to agree with John, it doesn’t strike me as being faster on an underpowered tablet at least (Nook HD). However, this app is strategic for me (I go back to the Palm version), and I trust that as always, problems will be fixed.

    Glad to have my Reformation Study Bible resource which required the 6.0 version!

    The biggest issue for me is the Account screen where you re-download everything. Almost nothing works right on that screen. The scroll locks up, the buttons give no feedback that says you pushed them, and downloads are no faster (for me). But, thankfully you seldom have to use that screen.

    Thanks for your work, folks. Looking forward to the rough edges getting smoothed off! (Can we have the .NET PC version now?)

  • Max says:

    Hello all, this is really a disaster for me. I am a pastor and have used and recommended this app everywhere. My father just died and I will have to take my normal bible for the comemoration service, because the new version is not usable, at all, sorry.
    I search for a word, click on one found in the bible app and the menue bar disappears, I can tap dozens of time twice and I have no menue anymor, this means no more going to other chapters or books or…….. I close the app dowen and then the menue bar is here again, but the default books have all changed, and ignore my default books.
    I love you guys, but this is not responsible to release a version prior to its sincere beta testing, you harm a lot of people with that that depended on that tool. And because I can not go back to the old version (at least as I know, and time for searching this is not available if you have your dad lost……) I remain with no bible on a modern device. (Xperia Z2 Tablet and phone, Android). So I would have to dig out my old PPC laptop from OSX Tiger and carry it around, which is rediculous …..
    I am very sad and it is a real problem for me, I’m just before going to church, and it makes improvisation so much more difficult.
    Please make the old version available ASAP, so I can work again.

    God bless and greetings from Switzerland

    • LaRosa Johnson says:

      Max, first we are sorry to hear about your father passing away. Your family will be in our prayers.

      We are sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with our app. Reach out to our support team by emailing They might be able to help with the issues you are experiencing.

  • dyey ar says:

    olive tree bible study tools is a great bible software, but I cant install it anymore in my note 8 tablet..

  • dyey says:

    even in Samsung note pro 12 its not supported anymore. But the size of the screen of this tablet is very useful and enjoyable using olive tree bible. But its very sad that I cant use it in this device.

  • Leo says:

    It is great that you give people access to scripture.It is so handy, being able to read a holy bible whenever you feel like it and wherever you are. Mobile technologies has given us so many opportunities
    Yes, apps can be hard, but if an app is hard to use it is obvious that it was design by amateurs. You should have a good knowledge UI design to make your app as easy for the user as possible. There is another advantage of simplicity – it saves you time and money, as they write here.
    I like how you added colour to your app, green looks so nice and relaxing.
    And it is good that you moved the menu button into the interface, really handy.

  • Anstey Jeremiah says:

    What do I do about the low memory problem, it seems other apps are affected as well. I’m trying to pass on an older tablet to a friend but the double tapping does not work like the guy with the dead father and the paper bible

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