Storyline HTML5 Output Crashes Mobile Safari on iPad Frequently


I'm working on a Storyline course that works flawlessly on a computer, but crashes frequently when published to html5 and viewed on an iPad. Most of the world is not using TinCan or xApi, so publishing to the Articulate Mobile Player for LMS tracking of content for much of the professional eLearning world, isn't possible yet.

I've spent countless hours manually tweaking the programming of interactions, animations (even removing them) and while I may get slightly smoother playback on the iPad (iPad 2 in this instance) it still crashes at random points, not one or a couple of repeat crash points that could be tested and ironed out. I will say, I got the course to play through on an iPad Air (with a few glitchy behaviors), but it's not realistic to expect clients to have the latest and greatest hardware.

What's worse, Storyline is marketed so well, and has such a great community, that thought leaders in educational institutions are asking for Storyline for HTML5/iPad delivery to their LMS, not knowing how badly and frequently HTML5 output crashes the iPad. Yes, all iPads are not created equally, but currently, the iPad 2 is the most widely used version (still although it is old) and it's just not powerful enough to handle anything aside from very simple Storyline courses with very simple animations and not too many slides. It's scary.

I've tried the most recent update (update 6) and the crashes still happen, although performance did seem better, but then I found new bugs (video controls always show on iPad in html5, even if you mark "no controls" in Storyline) that meant I couldn't deliver my course using that update. I will say Articulate was great in helping me roll back to Update 5, but, alas, it seems this product is not capable of outputting HTML5 courses that won't crash mobile Safari on the iPad, courses of much depth at least, and it's hard to see how deep this problem runs until you're course is almost fully programmed. We're several years into the update cycle, and it's starting to feel like this problem is out of reach?

We NEED a list of best practices from Storyline for nearly EVERY feature what works well and what doesn't on HTML5 and in iPad, and this NEEDS to update with each Storyline "Update" (Update 6 for example). I'm coming to a position where I can almost no longer recommend Storyline for courses clients want on the iPad, because of all of the crashing that happens, and that's sad, because Storyline is really a great tool.

We need a better way to manually trigger garbage collection, because I'm assuming this is the problem in the HTML5 version on the iPad, and that eventually overwhelms the browser and crashes it.

Like I said, we need a list of best practices for course layout, tool use, etc. for publishing to HTML5...

  • How many slides are too many?
  • How many layers are too many?
  • Are layer dense slides better than more slides with less layers?
  • What can and can't you animate effectively in HTML5 on limited capability devices?
  • What styles (shadows, strokes, highlights, reflections, etc.) affect both playback and rendering performance in HTML5?
  • What specific things should people AVOID AT ALL COSTS when producing iPad content for mobile safari?
  • What are limitations of each tool for HTML5 publish?

Sorry for the long winded post, I honestly really love Storyline and think it's probably the best tool on the market, and if though discussion we could help improve this issue, it could help a lot of others I'm guessing have had similar issue.

9 Replies
Jeff Kortenbosch

Good question Nick and something I've been hearing quite a bit lately with the increasing demand for mobile proof courses.

As of yet I tend to go as 'flat' as possible to make sure it works but that still leaves a lot of open ends. Your suggestion of a list with best practices/do's and don'ts seems like a great idea. Especially when updated after each new update.

And this goes for Storyline as well as HTML5.

Harri C

Hi Nick,

I definitely agree with you on all of that, getting courses to play on IOS devices is a pain (unless you just want a plain and boring page turner course)

With regards to 'best practice' guides - they would be fantastic. As a general rule I'v found that the more layers there are in a course in general the more buggy behaviour you tend to find. This is based on an assumption I made when I was testing a course that couldn't even manage to render base layer images correctly let alone interactions but once I started to reduce the use of layers in the course on the whole some of the issues 'fixed themselves' which has led me to believe that layers can lead to errors. I haven't tested a course with update 6 yet although I have heard from the forums that although some issues are fixed, some extras have been created.

Nicole Legault

Hey Nick,

Thank you for posting here in the forums and thanks for sharing your experience. Totally understand the frustration and can definitely sympathize with your situation.

Quick question: is your course being uploaded to an LMS and accessed through the LMS, or are you uploading the files to a web server and viewing the content that way?

You’ve probably come across the following links already, and it sounds like this is info you’re familiar with already, but I’ll still share them with you just in case it helps you (or maybe someone else who comes across this!)

Sounds like you’ve already been in touch with our support people, which is great. We really appreciate you submitting support tickets for any and all issues related to HTML5 that you encounter so we can identify if it’s a bug or software defect… This is because we are absolutely, 100% committed to making our HTML5 output as good as it possibly can be and we’re constantly working to improve it.



Nick Shelton

Thanks so much for the links, I have indeed read them and there is a wealth of information in the Articulate community, I appreciate the information.

Jeff, by flat do you mean in terms of colors, gradients, shadows, etc., or in terms of functionality? Just curious.

Thanks for your feedback Harri, I have some interactions that show layers dynamically, which could be broken apart into slides, but then my course would have 300+ slides, which I know is also an issue. That may be a research project I perform some weekend to see which functions better.

Storyline is great, honestly, probably the best tool in the industry, it's just very difficult to see the HTML5/iPad/Mobile Safari walls before your hit them in some instances, and as a technical professional, that makes me uneasy. I'm constantly amazed what the Storyline team has produced, the dual flash and HTML publish, and the continued support of the community.

Our course is published to an LMS and is SCORM 1.2 compliant, but eventually it just dies on iPads, and sadly, TinCan adoption isn't as fast as we'd all like it to be, so Mobile Safari is where the course (as I'm sure most do in LMS installs) needs to live. I've tested the course on Amazon S3 instances, on shared hosting servers, via a local network setup, and also on SCORM Cloud. Speed is important, as I've read elsewhere, if the internet lulls, it can cause crashes.

As of now, we're left with 2 main options:

  • No iPad delivery
  • Largely segmenting courses (chunking parts into seperate units) to keep each deliverable small

Even "chunking" into small course segments leaves me uneasy, because there's really no clear "breaking point". So promising ANYTHING that needs to run in Mobile Safari produced in Storyline is an uncomfortable dance.

Here are a few things I've found: (that may help someone someday hopefully)

  • Slowness in internet equates to Mobile Safari crashes.
  • Object animation performance is BAD on iPads, especially when animating multiple objects. If you can simplify by adding objects to a layer, and using simple layer animations (fades and wipes) the animation is MUCH smoother on iPad.
  • Too many layers on any slide can cause the course to crash.
  • Too many slides (a side effect of reducing layers) can cause a course to crash.
  • Audio and Video sometimes require hacks for proper playback (proper playback of audio on iPad requires object triggers in my experience)

It's most obviously an issue of garbage collection in the browser, and also with the device capabilities for rendering HTML5, as I mentioned, the 2GB of RAM in the iPad air makes it through the materials just fine (with some screen glitches, flashes, but nothing earth shattering).

My biggest concern, is I have no clear "Let's keep courses under X slides" or it is breaking for "Y" reason and so we're stuck limiting the awesome tool that Storyline is, because there is no clear guideline on this issue.

Thanks for your time all!

Ravindra Gardi

Any more updates on same issue please particularly when I am using Storyline 2 Update 7, but my course is around more that 70-80 slides. Please provide some solution on it. 

I have used TinCan LMS, and viewing on the ipad. Some times it crashes, sometimes its not reporting many of the slides to LMS. I am really hopeful for getting solution, on it.

Crystal Horn

Hi there, Ravindra.  It sounds like you are having some inconsistent results with your course when viewed on an iPad.  First, I wanted to provide you with this article about HTML5 content and mobile Safari.  It provides information about how content is handled on mobile devices with Safari.

This reference is about publishing your course for mobile devices in general; it has a lot of useful information.

Also, I wanted to invite you to share your course file with us so that we could do some testing and see if we can help identify an issue!

Christie Pollick

Hi, Sagar -- Thanks for reaching out and so sorry to hear of your troubles! If you have already taken a look at the troubleshooting information shared above and issues persist, please feel free to share your file for testing, and if you would prefer to send it along for private review, here is the form you would need to do so