First Gen iPad Owners Complain About Bricked Devices After iOS 5 Updates [Updated]

First Gen iPad Owners Complain About Bricked Devices After iOS 5 Updates [Updated]

Cult of Mac reader, William Joye, brought an interesting problem  to our attention. According to William there is “an issue concerning upgrading first generation iPad 3G to iOS 5. A number of owners, including myself, now have disabled iPads after attempting to upgrade to iOS 5.”

This is the first we’ve heard about this problem and by far the worst after iOS 5 was released last week. Sadly, it seems that Apple isn’t showing a lot of concern about the problem and may not be helping users resolve the problem.

He goes on to prove that point  by saying that, “Apple’s response seems to be that it is a ‘hardware failure’ and therefore, the owner must purchase a new iPad. “ The problem is discussed in not one, but three separate discussion threads on Apple’s website. They are:

ipad won’t restore, unknown error (1)

iPad cannot be restored unknown error 1; I tried to update my iPad 1 to new os5 by syncing to new version of iTunes and found a message that my iPad needs to be restored.  I tried several times and continue to get same error code unknown 1; how to fix?

After updating to os5, my iPad will not restore. What do I do?

It appears from the discussions that the catchall fix – placing your iPad into DFU restore mode isn’t working in these circumstances. Whenever this is the case the user really has no other way to recover their device. Therefore users that encounter this problem should contact AppleCare or visit a local Genius Bar and document any case number they are given.

If the problem isn’t handled to your satisfaction speak to the store manager or do what I did recently write a letter or email to Tim Cook. He actually listens and responds just like Steve Jobs did before.

Apple is generally good about handling customer service issues like these, but as I’ve found out recently it is getting harder and harder to make them listen to reason when you make even the smallest request. The key is to not give up until you are satisfied with the answer you are given. If you don’t get what you want you can always handle the issue outside of the support or retail sphere of influence by using all the tools available to consumers to resolve issues like these.

Updated 10/21/2011 at 12:24 PM PDT: According to MuscleNerd, an experienced iOS hacker, “The “Recovery Fix’ button in redsn0w (in the “Extras” menu) will fix this.  See the @redsn0w_testers twitter feed for the download links. “

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  • staticint

    I’m having this EXACT problem. I thought it was just me, glad to hear I’m not alone in these woes :/ My iPad has been bricked for over a week now.

  • Dgillett

    This was the smoothest upgrade I’ve had yet.  Was expecting the worst but no problems on my “old” iPad 1.

  • john fishlock

    Worked fine with mine. Just a little slower now with the iOS upgrade.

  • gregbraddock

    i don’t have a 3G 1st gen iPad so i’m fortunately not experiencing this issue. but my upgrade to iOS 5 was pretty smooth and the iPad is working normally. Sucks you guys are having this problem.

  • Zwienerdc

    I have a iPad 1 and the iOS 5 update has worked fine with me. I have hocked up to computer and updated over wi-Fi and they all work. Hope this doesn’t happen in the future

  • Dyl

    I have the first gen iPad and its running iOS 5, no problems here, love the update

  • MARTINE978687

    my classmate’s mother makes $67/hour on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 2 months but last month her check was $8460 just working on the laptop for a few hourss.Read about it anf get started following the first step “Online income Solution”  http://ho.io/p9q2

  • BrianVoll

    The only problems I encounter on iOS 5 on my first gen iPad is apps crash every 5 seconds. This was before I jailbroken it. I installed SBSettings so I can keep in eye on the free memory. Is it normal to have less than 10mb free for so long?

  • nthnm

    I didn’t have and haven’t had any problems with iOS 5 on my first gen iPad. It took a good 9 hours to install though.

  • Jcolvin0

    Mine did this too, I had to hard reboot it by just holding the home and lock buttons at the same time, then iTunes was able to restore it and put ios5 back on the iPad. This occured after I upgraded to ios5. I don’t know why it worked, but hopefully this is helpful

  • Cruzitocruz2011

    I updated a wifi only first gen iPad with no problems works great.

  • ksdulin

    I’ve noticed unusually high crashing on iPad 1 Wifi since updating… not to mention the four/five finger gestures are gone :\

  • Www Markhaley

    I’ve updated my iPad 1st gen, and have had no problems at all with it,

  • MediaUnbalance

    Well my coworker has a 3G 1st generation and his is bricked now.  Tried the DFU restore and it didn’t work.

  • Guest

    I just purchased a refurbished iPad 3G from Apple that shipped with 4.3.5.  No problem upgrading to 5.0 and is syncing both to the cloud and wirelessly to iTunes on my MBP.  I DID have a problem with my son’s iPhone 3GS.  Seems that iOS 5 now requires you to have a SIM card installed in the device or it won’t make it past the activation screen.  My son uses it strictly as an iPod for now.  That required a trip to the AT&T store for a SIM card.  Two hours later and it’s working as before the upgrade.

  • floyddean

    I have the original Ipad and updated without a problem.  Sorry for the ones that are having  issues.

  • Ktarbox

    How do I perform the update anyway?

  • JimG

    My 1st Gen iPad upgraded fine. However, Safari seems to crash only on certain websites. Now I’m quite sure that if one had a jail broken iPad, it will be bricked. I did this with my 1st Gen iPhone as I just wanted to use it as an iPod but then I gave it to my wife a few weeks ago, and tried to set it up and it got bricked. I then went to the Apple Store down the street and they restored it with no problem. It set up just fine.

  • twitter-115751376

    all you peeps can do is run Tiny TSS Server and restore back to it and thats all.. If it doesnt works you can ask for help.. 

  • Macpost

     just run redsn0w’s “Recovery Fix” to fix iPad 3G “Error 1″

  • twitter-115751376

    just update via iTunes and you are done 

  • MuscleNerd

    The “Recovery Fix’ button in redsn0w (in the “Extras” menu) will fix this.  See the @redsn0w_testers twitter feed for the download links.

  • DavidWMartin

    Kevin we’ve got a tip on COM about how to bring those gestures to an iPad. Here’s the URL http://www.cultofmac.com/86112…  Note that Xcode is free again so you can forget the $5 part.

  • DavidWMartin

    Thanks I’ll update the post heading and add this information to my post. I appreciate the feedback and assistance.

    Note I’ve updated one first gen iPad myself with no issues.

  • Sawyer

    According to MuscleNerd, it’s pretty easy to recover from this problem. http://twitter.com/#!/MuscleNe

  • Bulvenorg

    And again – the users of Apple products are free beta testers.

  • Mertin

    Its been that way since iphone OS 1.

  • Hampus

    Because if a product ever has one or two bugs or problems it must be a beta, everyone know all release software is completely free of problems! Right? Not really…

  • KateMacVerde

    My iPad 1 runs iOS 5 just fine.

  • staticint

    This was able to get my iPad back up and running! However, tried again to upgrade to iOS 5 via iTunes only to have the same thing happen again. Think I’ll wait to see if there’s official word from Apple on this issue before continuing.

  • Klalalala

    Yep, Im typing this on an iPad 1.

  • MuscleNerd

    Ok great — glad it worked!

    Yeah the “Recovery Fix” won’t address the underlying issue, but it will let you get past it.

  • Nicks18000

    was any iOS device jailbroken on the mac your trying to use? Apple knows it and won’t let you update

  • Chappy1125

    While at the genius bar, order a stiff drink to get you through it..

  • David Rutan

    Ah yes, a customer of mine had this exact same issue on a 1st gen 64GB 3G model.
    All steps attempted seemed to get it back to the error 1.
    Applecare didn’t seem to have any ideas so we mailed it in. Fortunately they had applecare on the product, so it’s coming back from repair very soon.
    We’ll see if it has iOS 5 loaded on the repaired one.

    Good to know redsn0w will get it out of it’s bricked state for people who don’t have warranty anymore.

  • L888_888

    The funny thing is I do not encounter any of the problem mention and very very happy with the new IOS. Much much better than the previous one.

  • otho

    I have the exact same problem but on my iPad 2, any fix for iPad 2? its been days since my iPad  is bricked! any one one a solution?

  • otho

    How about iPad 2? I have same error

  • Roger

    That is a retarded lie. All of my 7 iDevices (including 2 apple tv2′s) are jailbroken, and I never have problems. If apple does detect it (possible by mainly illeagle means) the only thing they can do is deny warranty services. Just jun the Recovery fix in Redsn0w. Stop feeding the misinformation circus.

  • Roger

    The 3G is not supported in iOS5

  • Guest

    Not on my 3GS.  I’ve restored several times without a SIM chip and I’ve never ran into this problem.

  • Juan

    LOl, fking newbies, use redsn0w recovery fix and it will work.

  • Guest

    hes talking about an ipad 3g, not an iphone 3g.

  • Cs

    Thank goodness for this article! David you saved my iPad!
    It was bricked and nothing worked, but the redsnow util did the trick.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

About the author

David W. MartinDavid W. Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the industry as a programmer, systems and business analyst, author, and consultant. David has written for CNET's iPhoneatlas.com, MacLife.com, CultofMac.com, BYTE.com and recently for aNewDoman.net. He comes to Cult of Mac's website with deep knowledge and passion for the all things Apple. Follow David on Twitter @david_w_martin or see what he's up to now at davidwmartin.com.

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