I’ve had a number of requests to gather all the harp of death information in one place, so here goes:

1. What’s the harp of death?
It’s a glitch that stops level 26 players from continuing their game. It’s caused by a problem with the bonus levels, which were launched with the Valentine’s day update. If you’re on a lower level, you won’t be affected for now.

2. What causes the harp of death?
There are a number of theories – but it seems to occur when you are doing a lot of building and collecting at the same time as hitting a bonus level. There’s also a suggestion that it’s more likely to occur if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to win 3 donuts. While I’ve seen a lot of 3-donut wins in the course of the harp fixes I’ve been doing, I’ve also seen 1 and 2 donut wins, so I’m really not sure about this one.

3. How do you fix the harp of death on an Apple device?
The most reliable way to do this is with an iPhone 5 or the latest model iPad. Turn off the auto-lock and plug it in. Then log in as normal. It should take about 15-20 minutes to break the harp. You’ll need to tap the bonus level game at least 3 or 4 times to be sure that the harp is broken, then close the app. Log in again and everything should be fine.

4. Can other Apple devices break the harp?
Older devices find it difficult, although there’s a suggestion that an iPhone 4S can. I haven’t tried using a 4S, so can’t vouch for whether it works or not, but you can read about one person’s experience here. I haven’t seen any reports of anyone breaking the harp on an iPod.

5. Can you get the harp on an Android device?
Yes you can – and I’m sorry, without Origin, I don’t know of any way to break it.

6. Can I get the harp more than once?
Yes, you can. You’re at risk every time you hit a bonus level, which is why you should slow down and tap-collect-pause on individual items when you’re getting close. And if you’re close, avoid constructing buildings that give you lots of XP until you’re safely past the bonus game.

7. Are there different kinds of harps?
Yes, there are. The first time you get it, it’s usually a single strum and quite easy to break. The second and third time, you get a double or triple strum and breaking it is much harder and takes longer – 40-60 minutes on an iPhone 5. It also behaves differently when you break it – the bonus level flashes briefly making you think you’re back into the game. It then goes straight to the Bart screen. The trick then is to “Try again” three or four times and look for the game to synchronize. If it does, close the app completely in the multi-task bar, then open it up and log in. You should be able to play. Keep half an eye on your device, though – if you leave the Bart screen up too long, you’ll need to start all over again.

8. Does the harp ever go away on its own?
It seems that way – this has been reported by a number of people since early February.

9. Will level 27 fix the harp?
Hopefully, EA will solve the problem soon, but level 27 will at least defer the problem. Based on what happened at the level 26 release, players experiencing the harp at the time level 27 is released (whenever that is) should be able to get into the game.

10. What are EA doing about it?
They are working on it, although they’re giving very little information on what they’re doing. There’s clearly some server work a couple of times a week – I know this from the way that harp fixes suddenly get very, very easy at certain times. However, everything they’ve done so far only helps some people who already have the harp (although not those with the most serious kind). It doesn’t seem to stop people from harping out after the server fix has been done – and there are still people in my queue who are experiencing the harp despite the update. A permanent solution has been promised since late February, although we’re all still waiting for it.