Updating iOS is truly a nightmare

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I’m the kind of person who always puts off updating iOS when it comes to minor revisions as it’s such an insane pain in the read to do so. Apple deserves credit for pushing out software to older units and having a ont button approach, but the reality is slightly different – at least for some people. Read on to see what iTunes had in store this time.

First off, Apple, I know you’re an American company. However, your customers are from all over the world. When you say the FW will be released on October the 12th without specifying a time, we assume that it will be available on the 12th. By the time iOS 5 released, part of the world was already on the 13th.

Then you have the issue of releasing the firmware worldwide at the same time. Everyone jumps on it, and the downloads slow almost to a halt. I’m on a 100Mbit connection, meaning that I can normally download 67500MB in the time it took me to download the 700MB iOS 5 update. If they had released the FW at midnight for each country, this wouldn’t have happened. If they’d used BitTorrent technology to make downloads help upload, this wouldn’t have happened. 1% download speed is not something you expect from a company that is supposed to be “the big guys”.

That aside, the number of error messages I normally get during an iOS update is staggering, and this was no different. The first came when updating iTunes – it simply wouldn’t work. Twice. Then suddenly it did. Ok, fine.

Clicking the update button with the firmware downloaded brought a new message. Apparently, there wasn’t enough space on my C drive for the backup. My options were to abort or ignore it, no way to fix it and then tell it I had done so. Also no way to tell it to use the freaking D drive, which is there for a reason, iTunes: C IS FOR SOFTWARE. You’ve made computers for decades now and haven’t realized that computers have several partitions or hard drives? Brilliant work.

That fixed, it brought up a new message: the iPad had unsynced data. Ok, I thought it was supposed to sync and back up as part of the update process, but fine: cancel – sync – wait. That being done, I hit update again. “Blah blah your iPad will now update and be backed up in the process”. So, let me get this straight: First you warn me not to update because it needs syncing, and when I sync it, you warn me that you’ll sync it yourself anyways? Fine, just do it, I want iOS 5.

Enter the Neverending Story progress bar. Have you ever used your mouse cursor as an indicator for where a progress bar is in order to see if it moves at all? I almost did that with the backup for this update, but I did see it move – just very slowly. I figured it would take at least an hour, so I made preparations to take a short nap – only to find the progress bar suddenly activating the afterburners and finishing… The point of a progress bar is to show progress, not act as a random number generator – but fine, it was faster than I thought, so that’s good. 5 seconds into the next phase I get an error message that the iPad can’t be restored. Restored? I told you to update it you idiotic piece of software. Sure enough, the iPad was still on the old software. I hit update again, and it started backing up…again. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that computers are at a point where they can detect a completed update done roughly 1.5 minutes earlier and realize there’s no need to redo it. But maybe not.

At last, it managed to get through the process without finding some magnificently new way to fail. The iPad rebooted, and iTunes proudly displayed a message saying that the SIM was locked and to update iTunes to interact with the iPad. First off, yes it’s locked, that’s the purpose of a SIM card when you reboot the darn thing – how can this surprise you. Second, I am running the latest iTunes, or I wouldn’t have been able to update it in the first place. Third, how on Earth are those two related in the first place? Unlocking the SIM, unplugging iPad, plugging back in – finally. Welcome to iOS 5.

Right now it’s doing the final restoring of apps to the device, roughly 2.5 hours after iOS 5 was released and I hit “update”. I’ve reinstalled Windows 7 on two computers one after the other in less time than this took, Apple, and that says quite a lot. This is the final version of iOS that needs a computer to install, and by God I’m glad that’s the case. I’m glad you push your updates to old devices and I’m glad that your iTunes system has features that other OSes don’t have, but that device update system of yours is not designed for humans.

My iPhone is still on 4.2.whocares. I think I’ll leave it there….

Anyways, enjoy iOS 5 everyone – hopefully it will be a smoother update than it was for me.

 

Update: Not for our writer Stuart, apparently:

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Update 2: Or for a number of other people

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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