iOS 5 Early Adopters Encounter Update Woes

As I have so many times in the past, I’m thanking myself this morning for not being an early adopter of operating system upgrades.

Indeed, I’ve been really dragging my feet about upgrading to OS X 10.7 Lion on my Macs, being un enchanted with, among other things, the seemingly arbitrary termination of support for applications containing PowerPC code, and that the Apple USB modem I bought less than three years ago is no longer supported either. In this neck of the woods, while we do have broadband, service outages are still commonplace enough that modem support for dial-up backup is non-optional for serious Web workers. But that’s another movie.

Today, the topical focus of my upgrade procrastination tendencies is iOS 5, upgrading to which has reportedly been tying early adopters (or at least their iPhones, iPads and iPod touches) up in knots.

The Register’s Dan Goodin reports that iOS 5 update attempts were was almost immediately met with error messages for many users trying to download it from Apple’s servers. The errors reportedly carried messages indicating Apple servers couldn’t keep up with demand, and users were receiving warnings their devices couldn’t be restored. Other users reported receiving error codes of 5000. Some reported that their updates did eventually succeed, after up to 10 failed attempts. Goodin suggests that iDevice users who haven’t updated yet are probably better off waiting until Apple sorts out the glitches (and server traffic slacks off).

“Updating To iOS 5 has been a massive headache,” says BusinessInsider’s Dylan Love, who reports that serial attempts to update have been in vain. Love says that the download goes through, but an error message keeps popping up saying the update can’t be completed and that the iPhone/iPad can’t be restored, and that not only has no one in his office been able to complete the upgrade, but they’re hearing from friends across the country having similar trouble.

Advice: If your iDevice has been rendered non-functional by a failed update, “keep trying.”

Apple-watching blogger David Alison also notes that in order to update his iPhone 4, he was directed to first upgrade his Mac’s OS X Lion OS to version 10.7.2 and iTunes to the new version 10.5, which burned up an hour or so before he could commence upgrading the iPhone. And that’s when the real fun began. His first stab at iOS5 produced an error after a very long time, but fortunately didn’t destroy data or brick his phone. After three more attempts, however, he says his iPhone was reduced to a restore state and not being recognized by iTunes, with the little “plug me in to iTunes” graphic appearing the screen. Subsequent serial attempts to run the upgrade failed several times until after three hours the iPhone appeared to restore and started up again, than flipped into “restoring” mode, ultimately taking about a dozen retries, but all of his data did survive intact.

Later in the day, Alison upgraded his iPad, and that time things went better, although he says it did take about 1.5 hours to execute.

InformationWeek’s Eric Zeman also reports that for many the iOS 5 launch has become an update disaster, creating manifold problems, with reports flooding Apple support forums, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks about difficulties in updating iDevices, and even those users who have updated successfully reporting lost/deleted applications and, worse – bricked phones.

On a brighter note, the issues may be transient for those who chose to sit out the early rush to upgrade until the dust settles. Zeman notes that iPhone users faced a similar problem in 2008 when the iPhone 3G launched on the same day that iOS 2.0 became available to the iPhone. However, he also suggests that with the iPhone 4S slated to begin arriving on consumer doorsteps in volume tomorrow, Apple’s servers will need to be in perfect working order to handle masses of new devices and accounts being activated.

If you’re determined to take your chances and upgrade sooner rather than later, it might be prudent to first check out Macworld’s thoroughgoing how-to on preparing for and updating to iOS 5 by Serenity Caldwell.

A somewhat less prolix how-to guide by MacTrast to the iOS 5 upgrade can be found at this link.

Apple Products compatible with this software update include:
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4
iPhone 3GS
iPad 2
iPod touch (4th generation)
iPod touch (3rd generation)

For more information, visit:

Personally, I think I’ll wait until at least the weekend to give it a shot, and perhaps longer. First I’ve gotta’ get around to downloading iTunes 10.5 (for OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard).


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