SALT LAKE CITY — A mobile device management system crashed on Monday, leaving thousands of missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without the ability to use the several mission-specific apps on their smartphones.
The missionaries were unable to access their planners, which include all the appointments they have entered into the planner app, and the area book, an app that manages information about the area in which they are serving.
"The system that manages mobile devices for missionaries experienced a temporary malfunction on Monday which caused a loss of access to non-native applications such as the area book and daily planner," church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said.
The church uses an outside vendor to manage the system. The problem began with a recent system update.
"The issue has been resolved and most missionaries have regained full access," Woodruff said. "This did not impact missionaries' ability to place phone calls, text or use other applications native to their devices."
The church has 63,597 missionaries serving in 407 missions around the globe. In October 2017, the church said 162 missions would be designated as smartphone missions, and those missions are spread throughout the world. Leaders said then that in the future, most missionaries would arrive in their mission with a smartphone to assist them in their study, finding and teaching.16 comments on this story
Missionaries buy the phones to take on their missions. The church pays for the data plans. The church adds apps to the phones that include the planner, the area book, proselyting tools that include multi-media content and Smart Sort, which helps missionaries look up people in a neighborhood who have had contact with missionaries in the past. Those serving in foreign language missions also get an app for learning and communicating in that language.
They also use the phones to access free, public church apps like LDS Tools and the Gospel Library.
The phones come with safeguards to monitor missionaries' use and limit distraction. Those safeguards were not impacted by Monday's system malfunction.
Many missionaries now use their phones for online proselyting. Monday's malfunction did not inhibit their ability to interact via phone calls, texts or other apps like Facebook with people they have met through questions submitted to church websites.