This month Olive Tree updated their popular Bible app for the iPhone and iPad bringing along some under-the-hood improvements that should power future updates and features. For now, the changes focus on things most users won’t notice. However, people who like this app should take note. The update to version 5.9.0 will fuel some nice things to come.


What’s New

According to the changelog in the iOS app store, version 5.9.0 brings with it “Over two years of hard work” that results in a new text display system. This new system makes the Bible app noticeably faster. It also shrinks file sizes. Users will get a faster app that takes up less of the precious storage space on their iPhone or iPad.

The user-interface looks better in a subtle way. Text wraps around images tightly making it display more content on the screen at one time.

When a user installs the app and opens it the first time, the app will take the user through the process of downloading their books again to take advantage of the new text display engine. Be sure to do the auto-download to save some time. I’ve been asking for a one-button download all feature for awhile.

From their blog, the following list explains what this means for the future of Olive Tree Bible app.

  • We’ll be able to support more language fonts like Korean, Japanese, Russian, and more!
  • Greek Interlinears!
  • Enables us to do things like dynamic timelines and flashcards (memorization aids)
  • Enables multi-media like video and audio resources

They also claim this will benefit users of Android and the desktop apps. Those of us on Android feel a little left out compared to the iOS Bible app users. Let’s hope these aren’t hollow promises and they actually deliver some goodness to us.


A Few Problems

Sadly, the app introduces a few glitches too. I don’t doubt that Olive Tree will work the kinks out. They already updated 5.9.0 to 5.9.8 with some unspecified bug fixes. However, users report the app crashing more. One reviewer in the app store reported that the onscreen content keeps redrawing the screen making the app sluggish.

Olive Tree warns that some slowdowns will occur as the system downloads updated content. The new update has to update every book because of the new text display engine, so my advices is to download the update, log in if necessary and let it do its thing for as long as it takes. Open it up before going to bed and set the iPad or iPhone down while charging overnight. When you wake up, the update will finish and be ready for morning reading.


Learn More at Olive Tree or YouTube

Users and potential users can learn more at  See a YouTube video about the update at

For users looking to get some new books, they’re running a “Christmas in July” sale with nice discounts. Learn more about those at where you can get things like Word Biblical Commentary for $299.99. By the way, users of other software can get this deal since I think it’s coming from the publisher and not just Olive Tree. I saw it advertised for Accordance Bible too.