How to fix iOS 9’s Slide to Upgrade bug

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It's time to get ready for your iOS 9 upgrade.
You did back everything up, right?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Some users trying to upgrade to iOS 9 this week have run into a serious problem: After the download happens, they find themselves stuck on the “Slide to Upgrade” screen upon restart. This bug renders their iPhones unusable, which is about the least useful state for an iPhone to be in.

But Apple has noticed, and it’s offering a fix. Here’s what you do to fix the annoying Slide to Upgrade bug.

According to Apple’s official support document, aptly named “If the Slide to Upgrade screen won’t go away after you update to iOS 9,” you’re just three steps away from getting your device back up and running iOS 9.

The official word is:

    1. Connect your iOS device to your computer and open iTunes.

    2. Select your device. If you don’t see it listed, force restart your device by pressing and holding both the Sleep/Wake and Home button for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo.

    3. If you made an iTunes backup of your device before updating to iOS 9, restore your device from that backup. If not, you need to make a backup of your device in iTunes, and then restore from that backup.

The good news is that even if you didn’t back up your data in iTunes (which you should have), you can still do it even if your phone has succumbed to the Slide to Unlock bug.

Really, all this solution boils down to is “Restart your iOS device and then restore it,” but at least it isn’t anything convoluted.

iOS 9’s launch hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as expected. Even before this issue could arise, people attempting to upgrade repeatedly faced frustrating download errors if they tried to get the new firmware directly through their devices. The solution to that was similarly easy: Download the update from iTunes.

But this week’s update woes aren’t limited to iPhones and iPads, however. Apple Watch owners were supposed to get their hands (wrists?) on watchOS 2, which will feature customizable watch faces, native apps, and third-party complications, but a “critical bug” kept Apple from releasing the new OS, and we aren’t sure when it will be out.

Still, for all the hiccups we’ve gotten from iOS 9’s premiere, at least the fixes are relatively easy. Now we can go back to the important work of complaining about how much better iOS 8 was, and how much we miss it.