Thousands Of iOS Devices Bricked Around The World As iTunes Activation Servers Topple? [Update: Fixed?]

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(Update: Many — but not all — of the users in the Apple Support Communities are now reporting that the activation servers are back online, and their devices working again.)

Looks like the Lion Beta 3 Preview might not be the only problem Apple’s dealing with this morning.

As of last night, an ongoing problem with Apple’s activation servers seems to be leaving many iDevices recently updated or restored to iOS 4.3.3 bricked around the world.

In an fifteen page thread on Apple’s Support Communities, dozens of users are reporting (temporarily?) bricked iPads, iPad 2, iPod Touches, iPhones and more.

The bricking occurs after upgrading the device’s firmware to the latest version through iTunes or restoring, which goes okay, but iTunes then can’t seem to be able to contact Apple’s activation servers, resulting in the following message:

There is a problem with your device.

We’re sorry, the device you connected may be damaged and cannot be activated for service. We recommend you visit your nearest Apple Store for more information. To find your nearest Apple Store, click here.

The problem appears to be international in scope and is being reported on all devices. It happens on both Windows and OS X. A downed activation server seems to be the culprit.

I’ve tried to duplicate this issue myself, but with no success. First, I updated iPod Touch third-generation from iOS 4.2 to iOS 4.3.3 on iTunes 10.2.1 and then wiped and restored using 10.2.2. Although other users still report problems, my update went just fine, on both occasions. I then did the same thing with my iPad 2.

Even so, the Apple Support Communities are filled with users reporting problems. This issue does not seem to have been fixed yet, my own attempts to duplicated it aside.

For right now, don’t upgrade your iOS device if prompted by iTunes to update to the latest firmware version. Until we can confirm that Apple has fixed this problem, your device may be unusable.

Anyone else having the issue? Anyone else not having the issue? Please let us know in the comments.

[Thanks to Rob Vazquez for the tip!]