Having Problems After Installing iOS 5? Here Are General Troubleshooting Tips For iPhone, iPad and iPod touch



A number of Cult of Mac readers, and many more on Apple’s Discussion boards, have reported problems after trying to upgrade to iOS 5 on Wednesday. A good percentage of the time these updates go well, but they didn’t today. On Friday, we may see problems when people try to upgrade from an existing iPhone to a new iPhone 4S. Therefore, I’ll give you five troubleshooting tips that generally fix most, but not necessarily all iPhone, iPad, iPod touch (aka your iDevices) or iOS problems.

The following four procedures will work to solve a number of problems and it is recommended that you try them in the following order:

  • If you are experiencing any issues with your iDevice the first thing to try is to restart or reset your iDevice by holding down the sleep and home buttons until the Apple logo appears. Once you see the logo release both buttons.
  • If you are experiencing network issues then open the Settings app, then go to General -> Reset, and choose “Reset Network Settings” this will reset all your network settings to the factory defaults. If you had any Wi-Fi network passwords saved you will lose these and have to re-enter them the next time you connect to a one of the previously saved networks. If you are not experiencing network issues go to the next tip below.
  • If you are still having problems then open the Settings App , then to go General -> Reset, and choose “Reset All Settings” (note: this will not erase your apps, media, or other data — that’ what the “Erase All Content and Settings just below this option will do). “Reset All Settings” just restores the factory default Settings preferences that you might have customized (i.e. your ringtone, etc.).
  • Finally if none of the first three troubleshooting tips work you can restore your iDevice by plugging it into a computer running iTunes. It is recommended that before proceeding that you allow your iDevice to sync and perform a backup in iTunes before continuing. Once you’ve confirmed that you have a good back up then in iTunes, locate and click the Restore button under the Summary tab for your iDevice. Restoring the phone will erase contacts, calendars, photos, and other data on the phone, but will restore automatically backed-up information including text messages, notes, call history, contact favorites, sound settings, widget settings, etc.

The first three troubleshooting options generally resolve most iDevice and iOS problems. The fourth option is fairly drastic and is considered to be a catchall. These options have been used to resolve network connectivity issues, problems with bluetooth devices, proximity sensor issues, and a bevy of other reported problems with iDevices and iOS.

If none of these solutions work and your iDevice won’t boot, it seems frozen or caught in an endless loop then you can try one more thing the fifth and last troubleshooting option I’m going to offer you. Simply place your iDevice into DFU mode:

Start by launching iTunes and plugging your iDevice into a USB port on your computer. Now grab your iDevice and press the power button (aka the sleep/wake button) and the Home button until you see the Apple logo. Release the power button, but continue to hold the home button. This part may take about 10-20 seconds until your computer recognizes the attached iDevice and you see the iTunes logo on the iDevice.

If none of these work for you then you might consider following the Apple iPhone Troubleshooting Assistant before calling AppleCare or visiting the local Genius Bar.

Tell us about your iOS 5 or iDevice upgrade problems or solutions in the comments.

  • Jonathan Jarman


  • Twitboydk

    The box is an iPhone 4S but the phone is an iPhone 4 :-P

  • Asdastro

    I had a problem opening any of my apps after updating to iOS 5, on my iphone 3Gs, what I did was delete one app on the phone, then reinstalled that app from the phone, after that all my apps we able to work perfectly. 

  • winski

    My iPad 2 FINALLY made it to the end of the upgrade yesterday afternoon but today, I can’t get it to wirelessly sync with iTunes on my MAC… Both are connected, the settings are correct, yet – NADA..


  • Douglas de la Brodoff

    everything seemed fine but then noticed that update had destroyed my Contacts – erasing all of the contacts with phone numbers and replacing them with different contacts that only had email addresses! In fact the addresses are all my hotmail and facebook addresses. which have never before been entered into my iPhone contacts or my Mac Address book!

  • 123

    Anyone having problems with their music? After finally syncing my iPhone 4 and iPad this morning , a lot of my music is not playing for some reason. Now my iPhone is not syncing wirelessly. Any way to fix this?

  • Roentgenium

    have a friend with same issues he fixed it by stop the sync with icloud and synced with itunes

  • jdc47@comcast.net

    Has anyone had trouble with mail? It is working, but it deleted all my current mail that I thought was backed up. New incoming mail works well, but I don’t have any of my old mail, except on my laptop that my iPad is synced too. Thanks for the help.

  • florin941

    I have a problem with the 3G data. When i turn off the 3G data and then turn on the safari cannot open a page. After repeating the same procedure or restarting the phone safari and the 3G come back to normal? Have somebody experience something like that? If you have an answer for me please tell me. On the 4.3.3 doesnt exist such abug, i think.

  • florin941

    I have a problem with the 3G data. When i turn off the 3G data and then turn on the safari cannot open a page. After repeating the same procedure or restarting the phone safari and the 3G come back to normal. Have somebody experience something like that? If you have an answer for me please tell me. On the 4.3.3 doesnt exist such a bug.

  • Matinezsmith

    Am matinez Smith from Scotland and i want
    the quick purchase of the item i actually want
    to send it to my cousins in Dublin and i will like to know
    your final Price along with the shipping amount to
    you can contact me through my mail

  • Crazyoutrigger

    I upgraded yesterday after two tries and error messages. Now my ipad won’t stay connected via wifi to my home wifi. It keeps dropping out and i have to go in and select it again. Sometimes it will connect sometimes not. Any thoughts on how to fix this?

  • alexorue

    On my iPad 2, iMessages ain’t working as it should. I set my Apple ID, I’ve got some contacts who have iDevices running iOS 5 and when I try to text them, just right before the sending bar on the top of the app finishes sending the text, it gets stuck and after a minute or so, it says that there were a failure. It gives me the option of trying again, but it’ll only repeat the same mistake over and over again. What should I do?

  • Nuga667

    Are you in a network that requires proxy to access the internet? I had that same problem today at my work place, now I tried here at home it’s working as expected.

  • alexorue

    I do not need proxy to access the Internet. I was thinking to reset my iPad.

  • Mike U

    Since Updating to iOS 5, I now have 4 Albums in Photos (Camera Roll, Photo Stream, Photo Library and iPhone)  Can’t I just have 2 Camera Roll and Photo Stream, Please Help.

  • imjones78

    when i plug in my iphone to my computer, it says that i have the most current operating software. i’ve clicked “check for updates” several times, restarted my comp and updated itunes. what else should i do? is there a way to download through itunes then install?

  • Ms Ashleelewis

    There is no Sync this iPhone over wifi option in my ITunes at all! I’m running OSX on 10.5.8 on my MacBook

  • Alreetcock

    Once the update has been downloaded and the device updated what then happens to the update? Does it delete itself or do I have to do it manually. I downloaded it on a small laptop so such a large download will take up a lot of room

  • Stuart Lyon

    Since installing IOS 5 I am having a problem with Mail. It works nd then every now and again I gt an error message saying the password associated with my Apple ID is incorrect! This persists for a while and then it goes back to working properly. Any idea what is happening? I have only one Apple ID as I did this when converted to Mac and joined MobileMe in 2007.

  • Shermanus

    The box is a iPhone 4 box with the ‘s’ photoshopped on. Whoever did it is not good at it because the perspective is off……..

  • Justyna

    Yesterday i updated my iPhone 4 and im getting disconnected all the time when im trying to call! ;( what should i do now??? Does any one has the same problem??

  • Aasdd

    Did u get u r iPhone factory unlocked ??

  • Regcalalo

    update your itunes first.

  • prof_peabody

    The user should explicitly perform a backup before going for the last option of restoring the device.  

    Instead of waiting/hoping for the device to backup, right-click on the device in the sidebar and select “Back Up.” 

  • JohnJohnJ

    Author, sorry but your article really misses the mark and does not address a slew of upgrade issues   users are having. And your cures literally won’t help. Do a Google for more info. There are many tech sites which are currently providing a lot more help than Cult of Mac.

  • JohnJohnJ

    I suspect you have a local cell phone strength/tower issue. 

  • Ctfd114

    mine is displaying a song, but playing something different. and sometimes it just stops and wont start playing again until you exit out of the music and kill the app. ridiculous

  • Marcus Kershaw

    I to am having the same problems as above, I have an iPod touch 4gen and it won’t play the first song but it will play the 2nd and 3rd songs then stops and won’t play any more.

  • Mitch

    In the wi-fi sync, I click the box in iTunes under summary to sync with iphone over wi-fi.  I then hit the apply button.  When i unplug my phone it doesn’t stay in devices.  When i try to sync it doesn’t work.  Any suggestions?

  • James

    in the “create apple id section”, it says that my apple id is already in use. I went on my pc and used the iforgot@apple.com to reset everything but it still won’t let me past that screen. Any suggestions?

  • NinjaPleaz

    I am having the same problem.  Even though I have a really bad connection, I’ve been living with it for the last 7 months and have gotten to know my iPhone well enough.  I can easily tell that it’s searching for the signal almost contantly now, wasting my battery life, I go to bed with it about 95% only to wake up between 50-60%.  It’s not the cell towers, unless they  moved them for this OS  update.

  • NinjaPleaz

    That is brilliant.  Think about it, if someone is complaining that their phone is acting differently after the update then something changed.  The odds that they moved the tower is approximately 3,720 to 1!

  • NinjaPleaz

    Just a quick something I forgot, try his first tip by holding the power and home buttons until you see the Apple logo, it’s a reset, and my phone doesn’t SEEM to be acting as funny.  I’ll update tomorrow. LOL

  • Ranjit Singh

    hi..i dont see the multitasking to work properly. earlier when my IM+ is minimized, i used to get the messages. Now it goes to offline mode. 

  • Ranjit Singh

    hmmm.same problem me too facing. let me know if you get any solution for this. 

  • Johnny10g

    You have to have your device connect to power in order to use it for wi-fi syncing……

  • Curious

    Was having problem with opening apps as weel. Thanks for the solution!!

  • Shourya2609

    Q- but how did you know it was an iphone 4?
    they just look so alike that it is hard to tell :P

  • Joe P.

    I upgraded and my photo albums which I sync from ps elements are no longer alphabetical. Is this intentional to get me to use iCloud? Very disappointing.

  • Lawrencereuben

    I have upgraded my iphone 3 GS with iOS5
    My music won’t sync at all

  • Gary

    I had the wi fi problem when accessing the internet on safari and opera. I used your 1st and second methods they fixed my problem.Thanks for you tips.

  • Joe A

    I know NewsStand is a new app, but why do I have 2 of them? 
    Why does one keep disappearing and reappearing?  
    I have an Ipad 1 and I have Reset, Restarted, and Restored.

  • Go Ducks

    This worked for me and solved my problem thank you very much great tip

  • Mahbubur

    After updating I am having problem with network and app store. I tried the three potion but still the problem is there.

  • iFrustrated

    I have an issue that isn’t mentioned in any of these listings.  When I upgraded my 3g I lost my ringtones; no big deal, right?  I installed my ringtones and went to assign my ringtones to my contacts and discovered I no longer have an edit button.  I can’t add, delete, or modify any of my contacts.  I rebooted my phone and when I first open my contacts the edit button appears for one  second and disappears again.  WTF!

  • Nhuiqing

    Battery depleted real fast!!!

  • Jseidler91

    I’m having the same problem. It’s quite frustrating.

  • Nehagrewal28

    This has happened to me too!! I don’t know what to do… I have a iPhone 3gs.. I can’t delete or edit any of my contacts. What to do??!?

  • Timothy_mariano14

    I upgraded my iphone4 to iOS 5, before, phone call volume’s quite fine, but when I upgraded it to iOS 5, when I receive a phone call, I can’t even hear a thing. Please helpppp

  • Glongoria

    have you received a reply to this b/c I am having the same problem

  • Jennifer M.

    I upgraded my iPod Touch 4th Gen 2 weeks ago and I had a problem activating FaceTime and iMessages. I followed your advice about going to settings and resetting all my settings and it saved my problem. After resetting the iPod i was finally able to activate both FaceTime and iMessages.

  • Lulur 17

    I Upgraded my iPhone to ios5 and everything is working like cristal clear and I didn’t lose anything. But I am still facing some problems with my contacts.
    Now for example my contacts are saved without the country code. Whenever they are allying me I am getting their names. But whenever I am receiving a message from them I am getting their number with the country code “no name”

    I tried to solve this problem but couldn’t do anything!
    Anyone knows how I can fix it ?

  • petros

    updated my iphone 4 to ios5 all seems fine but lost ability to schedule in the calendar theres no more ( + ) sign? any idea how to get it back

  • Luckylivesay

    Since the up grade my phones just acts corky.it will close apps after I just open them it will just be sitting & out of nowhere my contacts come up.useing safari push the home button & the bottom bar w/phone,mail,safari,music pops up while my apps or safari is still open almost like a virus not including the battery dieing faster than before upgrade I loved my iPhone now I wished I wouldn’t have gotten it any help anyone else’s doing corky stuff? Help please!!!

  • Luckylivesay

    Same problem here gotta be something w/out having to go to an apple store

  • maggick112

    I upgraded my iPod Touch 2nd Gen 2 weeks ago and I had a problem activating my Video Podcast. They are not in the Video folder either. All other audio podcasts are syncing fine. The Video Podcast are in my iTunes library. Help!

  • Clks0101

    My 3G logo is missing on my phone.i am in china now and my 3G is not working.

  • Cin

    I am having the same problem!! Did you get this fixed? cheers Cin

  • Joej

    ios5 and ios5.0.1 keep disconnecting my wifi.  I have to constantly turn on/off airplane mode to get a little bit more wifi time.  APPLE WAKE UP AND ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.  and in the meantime show me how to downgrade to ios4…

  • Marcos Bary

    I have the original iPad … Since i installed the new iPad software, i haven’t been able to sync my iPhoto which has actually 42.000 pictures, and since had it with the prior iOS never had trouble. Went to the apple store and was recommended to do a Reset all settings, later in my home tried to sync the photos and was able to sync the albums in 5 or 6 at a time, but the last 3 out of 21 has been impossible to download into the iPad … any suggestions ???????

  • Tenor_Sax_Junky

    I’m having this problem too!

  • Tenor_Sax_Junky

    So I’m having a few problems.

    1) My music is not working. It’s only two songs, the two I most recently purchased. It will show the song, but play something else entirely different.

    2) Some of my app icons are becoming invisible. It moves from app to app as I switch between pages.

    3) My pictures are all gone. They were there for a while and then disappeared. Ahhh!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Kenneth

    I have a new ipad2 with latest software. When trying to sync it keeps saying it cannot sync because the contacts on the ipad are open and I should close it. Problem is when trying to open the contacts on the ipad it just closes down so i cannot doing anything to fix it. Any ideas?

  • Vijay sharma

    What is dfu mode

  • jiveturkey

    I am having the same issue. Did you ever get this fixed?

  • Peter Damsberg

    Upgraded to ios5 (on 3gs phone) and now the camera doesn’t work. Done a complete reset, still no luck. Local Apple store says it must be a hardware fault – get a new phone! Not good enough I say

  • Tammy Whiting

    That I have had on two different iphones, simple fix, you have to do a reset.  Do the reset first reset on the iphone, you will not lose your apps.  after the reset it will fix.  it is draining fast because the iphone is not “sleeping” or in “standby”. 

  • Andrew Reid

    Ever since updating to iOS5 my phone won’t recognize a charge I plug it into a wall charger my mac or even my car between 5 different cords and it won’t connect to any of them I trickle charge my phone at night to keep it working during the day and it holds a charge fine. I cleaned out the connector and that changed nothing. I brought it to the apple store and they said oh one of your boards is starting to go buy a new phone. First of all electronics boards don’t start to go its black or white they’re gone or they aren’t and it can’t just be coincidence that as I updated to iOS5 my phone stopped functioning.

  • jemimi7

    Ever since I updated to ios5, I can’t edit music info on the songs that are in my iphone 4 on itunes anymore. Also some of my music won’t play anymore. Any solutions?

  • Paola Pimentel Hernandez

    I just got a new IPad 2 recently and it came with the 4.3.3 version I think, then after a couple of days & a couple of failed tries I finally updated to the IOS 5.0.1.  The problem that I had was that I tried to open the contacts app and it opened for like a sec and then close, the same happened when I went to settings->mails, contact, etc. it was really weird.  I saw a few people that said well… try downloading your apps again, but I couldnt since contacts & settings are defaults.

    So I did almost everything to fix it. I tried closing the apps, restarting the IPad, sync with ITunes like 10 times, tried “Reset all Settings” and nothing!!

    So I had to reset the IPad from ITunes & the apps seemed to work fine at the beggining but when I installed my back-up, the problem was still there!! So finally I had to reset again and start from the beggining, just like a new IPad, without any back-up. It was awful, but since it was new anyway it wasnt like so big of a problem :S

  • Martin Wennberg

    Did you find a solution to the delete/edit contacts problem? I experience the sam problem on an iPod Touch.

  • Sean Walsh

    its saying network connection timed out

  • Kaela

    So you’re saying that it has erased all of my calendar dates for good and I can never restore those?

  • Dylan Benton

    I have this same problem, if anyone knows how to fix the camera on a 3GS i will have your babies

  • 1901668

    tried to update itunes on my laptop but it wouldnt let me so i tried to restore software like it says but it just comes up error and (6) in brackets have i broke my iphone 4 or not

  • Angela

    I have tried and tried to sync my iphone4 and I keep getting this message—itunes cannot sync photos to —iphone because you dont have access to the folder “my pictures”

  • ? ARE.EE.EE.EN.AYE ?

    i lost everything this was the dumbest update system  ever im over it

  • frustratedbigtime

    I put IOS 5 on my iPhone 4.  I use Exchange Server for email.  What disappeared was the ability to save Favorites (phone numers) from Contacts.  Twice the Apple Genius Bar has helped but the hone has to be totally rebuilt and then all update again. The fix lasts for a7-10 days, then the option to save a contact as a favorite again disappears.  I still have the favorites that were saved, I simply cannot save any new numbers as favorites. Any ideas on how to do a permanent fix to this problem? Is there an app that works with Exchange Server that does Favorites?

  • Aamir ‘Aamaa’ Shafique

    i have an iPhone 4, and when i try to download music it says all of the space has been reserved for data? help me! its doig my head in!

  • Aamir ‘Aamaa’ Shafique


  • Stacia Wyman

    Step 3 totally messed up my phone. I clicked to reset settings, then it asked if I wanted to restore from backup, but when I plug into iTunes nothing it acts like it’s syncing, but nothing happens and my phone is STUCK in reset you phone mode! :-((((((((((((

  • DavidH

    If anyone has this problem let me know or if you have an answer to it:

    I was downloading and updating my iPod Touch 4th generation 32 GB, and when it was updating the iPod screen shows the USB symbol with a white arrow pointing up to the iTunes symbol to show it was updating, then iTunes on the computer said that there was a problem updating so I had to unplug my iPod and after I did that the screen is frozen showing that updating screen and I tried turning off and on my iPod which did nothing but show that screen again and after trying to plug it into the computer again it still did the same thing and showed that it wasnt connecting to iTunes. Again if anyone has this problem or knows how to fix it please let me know! 

  • Rabindra Shrestha

    Hi everyone…
    i ugrade my 3gs on ios 5.1,eve is fine but lost all the apps only , did the restore backup also ,ans; negative. can somebody help pls? thanks in advance

  • dave

    I installed the newest update on my iPhone 4s and since then my phone hasn’t worked properly. I try to open the camera to take a pic or video and it freezes and then the apple comes up and goes off then shows up and off and it does this for several minutes. At first it only seemed like it was the camera but now its some of the apps I have purchased. I have tried to re-boot to factory settings and that didn’t do anything. I am hoping for any ideas of what I might be able to do. I have only had the phone for about a month.