Recovery

15 01 2014

When an iOS device encounters iOS- or app-related trouble, the issue usually can be fixed by

  • Restarting the app
  • Rebooting the device
  • Deleting the app and reinstalling it

But there are also circumstances where these actions don’t help.
Let’s start with the easiest and fastest way of solving a problem on an iOS device.

Reboot an iOS device …

To reboot means to discard all continuity in a running device in order to recreate its status and memory from the beginning.

Why do you have to reboot your device occasionally?

Rebooting is sometimes necessary to recover from an error, re-initialize drivers, or hardware devices. A reboot may also occur automatically if the computer or hardware device encounters an error or is overloaded.

The reason can be a hardware malfunctioning or, more likely, an application which does not manage the memory associated to it correctly by interfering with other parts of the memory reserved for other tasks.

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Think of it like this …

You want to send money to an a count and looked up the account number. Somebody asks you ‘What time do we have the appointment with Mr. Smith?’. After answering, your short-term memory containing the account number is deleted or the account number you are sure it’s right now contains transposed digits.

You have to reboot and load your memory again with the account number.

If you don’t look up the account number again your money transfer will fail. Regarding your device an app may execute an unwanted operation which might freeze it e.g. by running into an endless loop. You tap on a control but the app doesn’t react or delivers wrong information to the brain of your device, the processor.

Recovery Mode …

In some circumstances, though, the problems are more extensive and require putting the device into recovery mode and restoring it.
Recovery mode is also called DFU mode (Device Firmware Update).

DFU Mode is a state where an iOS device can interface with iTunes but does not load the iPhone operating system or boot loader (this is what really differs DFU mode from Recovery Mode).

The primary reason people need to access DFU mode on their iOS device is to change the firmware on the device. This can serve to downgrade to a prior iOS firmware and operating system, or to use a custom firmware that is required for a Jailbreak or SIM unlock.

You may need to perform a recovery-mode restore if you experience any of the following situations on your iOS device.

The device

  • displays the Apple logo with no progress bar or a stopped progress bar for over ten minutes
  • restarts but never displays the Home screen
  • is no longer recognized in iTunes after an update or restore did not complete
  • automatically goes into recovery mode after having an issue while installing an update or performing a regular restore

Reasons for this system behavior can be …

  • Broken connection while updating to a newer version of iOS
    – Computer to which the device is connected fails
    – Broken internet connection
  • Repairs that require you to erase all data on phone
  • Unwanted deletion of the device
  • Corrupted files

How to recover your device …

This brief manual applies to all iOS devices as there are iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad independent of their iOS version. I kept it brief and left out the clear-worded instructions messaged from iTunes and your device. They are all self-explaining.

What you need is your

  • iTunes backup password
    (if you use one)
    To use an iTunes backup password is highly recommended because only in this case the device restore includes all sensitive data like passwords for E-Mail accounts or websites.
  • Phone number
    (if you use a SIM card in your iPad)
  • iTunes account credentials (Apple ID)
    (E-Mail address and password)

How to enter the Recovery Mode …

  • Connect Apple’s USB adapter (cable for charging your device) to your computer with an installed version of iTunes, but do not connect it to your iOS device.
  • Turn off your iOS device by holding down the Sleep/Wake button in the top right corner until the slider ‘Slide to power off’ appears at the top. Slide it.
  • If your phone won’t respond to that, hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button together until the screen goes dark.
  • When the phone is off, hold down the Home button and connect the USB adapter to the dock connector of your iOS device.
  • The iPhone will turn on and display the Apple logo. Keep holding the Home button until the screen shows the iTunes logo/USB adapter.

The iOS device now is in Recovery Mode.

If the red empty battery icon appears onscreen, let the phone charge for a few minutes and then restart this process.

When the phone is in recovery mode, a window will pop up in iTunes saying that the phone is in recovery mode and needs to be restored. You can either restore it to its factory settings or from a recent backup of your data.

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An example …

I set my iPad 3 (64 GB, Used space 21.5 GB, 224 apps) into recovery mode after backing up to iTunes. The total time of a restore was about 3 hours.

About 20 of the 224 apps are frequently used and a greater amount of data is stored in their local folders. The other apps are just for tests and usually manage no data.

You can estimate the time for the total recovery process including the restore of data by taking the two parameters (21.5 GB and 180 min) into account.

(Your used space / 21.5) * 180 = time to recover and restore

The worst cases …

  • If recovery is not possible you have to contact an Apple Store or send your device to the repair service.
  • f you don’t have any backup in iTunes or iCloud resp. just an old one you will loose all your data resp. all changes since your last backup.

Failed attempts to unlock …

If the iOS device has been disabled from too many attempts at entering the passcode lock, then your device will be locked.

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The only way to regain full use is to put the device into recovery mode and restore it via iTunes.

So in this case you must have access to a computer with an installed version of iTunes. There is no way to do it just with an internet connection.

Restore without iTunes …

If you don’t use iTunes, maybe you already moved into the Post-PC era, you can restore your device if it’s connected to a WiFi network.
An iOS device has a built in reset option programmed into the device itself. With the introduction of the iCloud service, you no longer need to connect the device to a computer to restore through the iTunes software.

Restoring an iPhone is useful if you’re going to sell the device or if you want to troubleshoot it after data has been corrupted.

Follow these steps:

A Backing up your iOS device

  • Step 1
    Connect to the Internet through a Wi-Fi connection. A typical iPhone backup can consume a lot of data.
  • Step 2
    Tap on the “Settings” menu item. Select “iCloud” and then “Storage + Backup.”
  • Step 3
    Tap on the button that says “Back Up Now” to cause the iPhone to back up its settings to iCloud, which may take several minutes to an hour or more.

B Resetting your iOS device

  • Step 1
    Tap on the “Settings” menu and then tap on “General.”
  • Step 2
    Scroll to the bottom of the menu and tap “Reset.”
  • Step 3
    Tap the button that says “Erase All Content and Settings.” The iPhone will ask you to confirm this choice. Press the button marked “Erase Phone” to restore your phone to its factory settings.

C Restoring from a backup

  • Step 1
    Start up your iPhone. On a freshly restored iPhone, you are prompted to use the Setup Assistant. Do this in a place where the iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi signal. This can consume a lot of data.
  • Step 2
    Select “Restore from iCloud Backup.”
  • Step 3
    Enter your iCloud username and password information. Your iPhone will restart and begin downloading your backup from iCloud. You may be asked to choose from up to three backups on iCloud, sorted by date.

Reselling your device …

Before you resell your device follow these steps:

Method 1
You can remove all settings and information from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by going to Settings – General – Reset and tapping on Erase All Content and Settings.

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If you wish to recover all your settings and data again on a new device, ensure that you have an iCloud or iTunes backup and that it’s up to date.

Newer devices running on iOS 5 and later support hardware encryption. Erasing the device means removing the encryption key that protects the data. This process takes just a few minutes.

Method 2
Use iTunes to restore your iPhone to factory settings.

Plug the phone into a computer running iTunes and wait for it to appear in the ‘Devices’ section of the iTunes sidebar. Select the iPhone from the sidebar and then make sure you’re on the “Summary” tab. Under ‘Version’ select ‘Restore‘. You’ll receive a pop-up dialog informing you that this step will erase your phone and reset it to factory settings. Click Restore to continue.
iTunes will now download the latest firmware for the iPhone, which may take several minutes depending on your connection speed. Once downloaded, iTunes will automatically begin the restore process during which your phone will reboot twice. After the process is completed, the phone will appear in iTunes as a new device and ask you for a device name. Before entering any information, disconnect the phone. It has now been wiped of your personal information and is ready for sale.

Summary …

Restore from a backup or even recovery of a device is usually a process you didn’t need while using your iOS device. Quality of hardware and software ensures that all what happens in the life of a computer doesn’t happen with an iPhone or an iPad.

Anyway your iOS device should regularly backed up to iTunes, or what is much more comfortable, to iCloud. Strongly recommended is the usage of an unlock code as well as a password for iTunes backups. If you don’t use passwords many sensitive settings like E-Mail account settings are not included in a backup. So you have to configure them all if the restore process is finished. That can be a pretty much exhausting task.

Related links …

Apple Forgotten passcode, Disabled device

Apple Unable to update or restore

Apple Genius Bar (Help for major problems)

Thanks for dropping by.


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