Mobile Technology

Problems updating to iOS 5? Here's what you need to know

Problems updating to iOS 5? He...
iPhone and iPod users have reported a variety of problems when trying to upgrade to iOS5 (Photo: Apple)
iPhone and iPod users have reported a variety of problems when trying to upgrade to iOS5 (Photo: Apple)
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iPhone and iPod users have reported a variety of problems when trying to upgrade to iOS5 (Photo: Apple)
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iPhone and iPod users have reported a variety of problems when trying to upgrade to iOS5 (Photo: Apple)

The latest version of Apple's iOS left many iPod and iPhone users shaking their heads when they tried to upgrade. Problems ranged from lengthy downloads of the new iOS from iTunes, to some users who had been left with bricked phones and erased contacts after the update. Others complained that their paid apps had been wiped from their phones, and not restored when they did get iOS up and running.

On a personal level, about 50-percent of my iPhone-using friends experienced severe problems, the most common of which was a bricked phone. Those that did get the update still experienced issues with paid apps not showing up ready for download in iTunes. Those with bricked phones were forced to do a factory reset, and lost all of their contacts, saved notes, photos and videos.

The first signs of trouble began popping up on Twitter and in forums about an hour after the release of iOS 5.

Here's a quick rundown of the most common problems users are reporting, and a fix, if one exists.

"Internal Error 3200"

This is an error message that pops up during the iOS 5 upgrade process that indicates Apple's authentication servers aren't responding.The fix: This problem has mostly fixed itself. The problem originated from the entire world trying to download the new iOS right as it had launched. Apple has opened up new server space, and the demand is dying off slowly due to reports of problems.

"Error -34"

If you get this error, it's iTunes reporting to the Apple server that you are out of disk space. As some of you have figured out, this may not be the case. The fix: There isn't one just yet, but it was discovered that the problem originates mostly with users who compress their files to 128Kbps so that they can fit more music on their iPod. When upgrading, it seems that the file size is being reverted to the uncompressed form. Apple is aware of the issue.

"Error 1603"

Although the cause of this error is unknown, it's supposed to put your device into recovery mode shortly after you see it. It's not doing that in all cases with this new update. This is what most users refer to as a "bricked" iPhone or iPod touch. The fix: You'll have to put your phone into forced recovery mode. You stand a good chance of losing stored data as your phone recovers. This is why it's always a good idea to make a backup of your data before doing a new iOS install.

Putting your iPhone or iPod Touch into forced recover mode

Disconnect the USB cable from the device, but leave the other end connected to the USB port on your computer.Turn off the device by holding down the Sleep/Wake button. A red slider will appear next. Slide the slider and then wait as the device shuts off. If holding the power button doesn't turn off the device, press the Sleep/Wake button and the home button at the same time until the device powers down. Don't release the Sleep/Wake button or the home button until the device is off.

Press and hold the Home button while reconnecting the USB cable to the iPhone. Once the device is connected, it should begin to power on. Don't release the Home button.

Continue to hold the Home button until the "Connect to iTunes" screen appears. Release the button.

If iTunes doesn't open automatically, open it manually. You should see the "recovery alert" pop up.

Follow the prompts and allow iTunes to restore the iPhone or iPod touch.

Ed's note: if any readers have some tips to add to the list we'd love to hear about them in the comments section.

17 comments
Bill Bennett
must be why I use wos on my palm and hp tablet,, and yes I still get laid
christopher
A week or 3 back, everyone in my house (4 different people) had their apple ID accounts \"blocked\" - is it just us, or has apple done a customer-wide lockout of some customers? (possibly everyone who chose dumb passwords, or maybe apple got hit with a dictionary attack similar to sony, but hasn\'t confessed?)
Frank Woolf
I don\'t understand how people can lose all their contacts, messages, apps, photos, etc when everything should be back up on their computer. Connecting to the computer and clicking Synch in iTunes should put everything back.
Bruce Sherman
Frank, I can only guess that people didn\'t do a sync with their phones before installing the new OS and may have lost some non synched info. Not a smart move in any case. Hopefully these troubles will be brief.
Nigel Cammack
I have literally been trying to update my phone since 11:15 pm the night iOS was released. For over 48 hours now I have been starting and stopping the update due to it not moving past around 4% of the backup process. I backed my phone up again today to see if it would speed up the process but it has not worked. I have called 1800MYIPHONE twice and spoken to two people who have been helpful but we can\'t seem to get anything solved. It just seems that it wants to do nothing but backup. I know the servers have been slemmed but my phone has literally spent a minimum of five hours plgged in at a time to update and nothing. I plugged it in again last night for the fourth time at 12:15 am and woke up at 8 with just that 4%. Left it plugged in until noon and no further movement. If anyone has any ideas please help. I have not recieved a single error message or lost any data at this point. It just won\'t dp anything. Thanks for the ideas if you have any.
cwolf88
1. Sync/backup your phone FIRST. 2. Apple recommends rebooting after installing new iTunes & Lion updates. Disconnecting other USB equipment. Turning off security, etc. 3. Be very, very careful signing up for iCloud. This will likely be a \'no\' if you have MobileMe. Really wish they had explained that first before you update. 4. Be prepared to lose all of your mail. Maybe I\'m doing something wrong in my iTunes set-up? 5. I eventually did the install off a HD equipped with OSX 10.6. This creates other problems. 6. Outgoing mail didn\'t work. Had to go back into Settings and re-enter the server and password.
James Davis
Having the phone require a factory reset doesn\'t constitute a \"bricked\" phone, at least not where I am from. A bricked phone means that it is dead to the world, gone and never coming back, hence only good to be used as a brick. This is the term mostly used when people are messing around with firmware tweaks/hacks/etc. that leave the phone completely devoid of any chance of functioning again (not that it requires a simple reset to work normally...)
DavidB
Exactly, Frank. People who like to save time by skipping obvious precautions also tend to whine when they have to face the consequences of that decision. The backup takes a little time, but it can save you a lot of grief...not to mention sparing everyone else having to hear about it. :)
bright.b-moore
In my experience doing the sort of major system upgrade that appears to be going on here wipes the phone completely. So just plugging it back in just isn't enough to get the results you require. It's not just like downloading an app or a normal update. It Appears to be a once in a lifetime event for a phone. It seems to be just the same as having a brand new phone that has no association to your computer just like pugging a friends phone into your computer I'm specifically addressing Frank's observation. I am willing to be corrected her so please feel free. Before you do the upgrade do a major back up which means plugging in the phone going to device in the iTunes window (below Devices), Control-click the device, and then select "Back up". Once this is done It's always good to encrypt the back up. Then go about downloading and updating the phone. At some stage one of the options will offer the restore from backup, and this is the one to take. I know this wont rectify everyones issues with the phone and I may be way off the mark, so if I am let me know and if it helps also let me know M.
Craig Wolfenden
My phone is now bricked after trying to update again!! That is every update I have tried to apply to my phone - why bother you may ask, I wanted to try the new iColoud App. 50% of your friends have had a bricked phone, I thought Apple were industry leaders, but can\'t get a simple update program to work for ALL there major devices.