Warning - iOS5 Update Restore Error - Wait to upgrade

I patiently waited for the actual release of iOS5 - since I can't get myself an iPhone 4S for a little while without paying a premium. When I saw that iOS5 was available, I decided to update my 32GB iPhone 4 to the latest and greatest.

First off, Apple wanted me to upgrade OS X to 10.7.2 and iTunes to 10.5. That took the better part of an hour in itself, between downloading a pretty hefty collection of bits, installing them and then running a subsequent back up, I was a full hour in before I could even begin to upgrade my iPhone.

Once that was out of the way I tried updating the iPhone 4. Here's where the fun began.

First, an error
After sitting there for a very long time—I didn't pay close attention—iTunes reported this little error. Not good. When I clicked OK (it's not really OK but that's the one to push), I pulled my iPhone off the USB connector and the phone itself seemed fine. Still running iOS 4.3, and all of my content was sitting there fine.

I Googled up the issue and there was a huge thread on the Apple discussion forums on this. Since several people reported that they were able to upgrade by just continuing to try, I decided to give that a go. Three attempts in, I got something different. It looked like my iPhone was being updated!

Then suddenly I got the error again. Oh well. The problem was my iPhone was now in a restore state and not being recognized by iTunes - it had the little "plug me in to iTunes" graphic on the screen of the iPhone.

This was not good. I tried to do a restore and it would spin and spin, however I now got a different error message:

Looks like the Apple servers were completely overwhelmed. This was not good. Especially now that my iPhone was essentially in brick mode. I kept retrying and the restore would get to varying degrees of success, then eventually fail out. Sometimes with the above error, other times with one of these:

After this error, I would then get the old "Hey, this iPhone is in recovery mode..." error:
I tried everything. Rebooted my Mac several times, tried unplugging all the USB devices, etc. and still no luck. I was panicking - while I was sure I could get my apps back somehow, I had a lot of video and photos on my iPhone that hadn't been pulled off. I thought about the videos I had taken of my mom over the last year, right before she passed away. If those were gone, I was not going to be happy. I knew iTunes was making backups for me, and that my Mac was in turn backed up, but the way this was going, my confidence was not very high.

Eventually the iPhone appeared to restore and started up again. Then it flipped into "restoring" mode for my apps and then music and videos:

This process took the better part of an hour. All in, the upgrade took me about 3 hours from start to finish, and I still have an iPad 1 to update.

I think I'm going to wait a week or so to upgrade the iPad. If you are considering upgrading your iPhone now to iOS5, be very patient; you may be without your phone for a number of hours and the way the Apple servers are performing right now under load, perhaps a very long time.

UPDATE: My iPhone was successfully updated to iOS5 - total upgrade time was a little over 3 hours and took about a dozen retries at various stages. All of my information (contacts, calendar, photos, etc.) were intact.

I decided late this evening (Oct 12, 2011) to try updating my iPad, just to see if it would actually go through. This time the upgrade went much more smoothly - not a single error. It did require about 1.5 hours to complete however.

Remembering Steve Jobs

We mourn the loss of famous people—our entertainers, our leaders, our athletes—even though we never got a chance to meet them in person. They entered our lives through popular media and became part of it. We would watch them act or sing and it would engage us. They would speak about the important challenges we face and we would be inspired to address them. We would watch in awe as they performed incredible feats of skill, wondering how anyone could pull that off.

When one of those famous people die young, it's notable. That small window in our lives that they occupied goes dark and we miss them for a time.

Steve Jobs was different.

He wasn't an entertainer, yet he could capture the attention of the public and engage us. He didn't give many speeches, but the few he did were inspirational. Though he was not the classic business CEO he created multiple businesses that enjoyed extraordinary financial success. While these are all great accomplishments, it's not the main reason many people will remember Steve Jobs.

Steve had an uncanny ability to create things that became part of our lives. He didn't just build tools that made it easier to do something, he built tools that added joy to the task. He and his team put such a high value on the quality of a product that simply holding it in your hands left you with an appreciation for the attention to detail poured into it. There was a depth to the products Steve created; while something could be very simple on the surface, a little digging would lead to some cool discovery of a feature or capability that would make you smile. Like many of his product presentations, there always seemed to be "one more thing" subtly hidden on the device, waiting for you to discover it.

Personally I'm going to miss Steve's influence on the future of technology.

My thoughts are with Laurene, Steve's children and family, and the folks he worked with every day to make magic happen.