Beware the iOS 5 update

Beware the iOS 5 update

Summary: Apple software updates are usually painless - except when they aren't. And my iOS 5 updates have been more painful than most. Learn from my grief.


I upgraded my iPhone 3GS Sunday. Download went fine but got the

An error occurred while backing up this iPhone (-5000).

message during the update process. Checking the web I tried the stuff that worked for other people, but no joy.

Having recently synced my iPhone to iTunes, I thought "what's the worst that could happen?" I was about to find out.

Clicked on the "install anyway" button. After the iOS 5 installation completed I brought up iTunes and found my next problem: there were no backups listed for my phone.

None. Bad iTunes! The update process must have wiped them.

Backup to the semi-rescue! I run several backups, including a nightly system drive clone, which has often proved useful. So I booted off the clone, brought up iTunes, and found several syncs available for the iPhone.

But the most recent was 1 month old. Oh well! I sync'd it to my iPhone and it worked.

Better to lose a month's worth of texts and a couple of new addresses than all of it.

iPad 2 update After than I figured my iPad 2 update would be a breeze. I figured wrong.

Got the same error, the same fixes didn't work, and I got the same result: all iPad 2 data wiped. But not a big deal, since I don't keep any originals on the iPad.

All the apps showed up after the sync. Had to set up folders again, games lost their high scores and settings, and reloaded movies. Annoying hassle, but not fatal to my digital self.

The Storage Bits take According to reports most people aren't having any iOS 5 update problems. But you and I aren't most people. Prepare for the worst.

If you care about data on your iOS device, make sure you have a) a recent iTunes sync, and b) it is backed up. The easiest way to do this on a Mac - the brute force method - is to clone your system drive using an external drive and either Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. CCC is shareware and SD's free version works fine. If you don't clone at least weekly, you should.

Windows doesn't make it easy to clone the system drive, but check around, there are tools. It is possible to save just the iTunes sync data, but restoring it can be tricky.

Bottom line: I rarely have problems with Apple dot releases, but major releases can be a beast. Back up often!

Comments welcome, of course. How did your iOS 5 upgrades go?

Topics: Mobile OS, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, iPad, Mobility, Operating Systems

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  • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

    All 3 of mine (2 i4's and 1 iPad) went smooth as silk.
    • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

      Same here 2 iphone 4's and 1 iPad, very smooth and fast. Love WiFi sync and iCloud back ups, very happy Apple user, former Android customer who could not get an update from Tmo... that was the end for me.
      • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update


        I like the WiFi sync for light syncing but if you're swapping out movies on you're iPad, it seems too slow. Still prefer USB for the heavy stuff
    • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

      @jmiller1978 - my 2nd-gen iPad was upgraded, but has no apps so I have to manually reinstall them all ... one ... after ... another.

      $hitty experience Apple.
      • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

        @bitcrazed <br><br>Did you do it from the computer from where you normally sync your Apps? If not, that's why. Before it installs, it specifically says everything is deleted and will need to be restored.<br><br>So that everyone is aware, iOS backups do NOT contain the Apps, just your data and settings for the Apps. <u>So make sure to sync your Apps people!!!</u>
  • 11111

  • I'll answer your question

    "How did your iOS 5 upgrades go?"

    I don't know a single person who had a smooth iOS 5 upgrade. My 2 iDevices eventually upgraded but I had to restore both of them as new devices and then manually install everything.

    Getting onto iOS 5 was a horrible experience for me and everyone I know. In the end though, iOS 5 is the best smartphone and tablet OS in the world by far. There is no competition in these markets since all the alternatives suck so much. It is a sick market. We all lose.
    • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

      Not sick over here. My Mango update went smooth as pie and the phone is rocking. You may want to say others are sick to make up for the hassles of updating, but its not so, my HTC Trophy Windows Phone is awesome and does everything I need quickly and painlessly. Makes Apple and Android look like 90's era stuff except for maybe the Siri feature which is a nice feature, but I can do just about what it does with my Windows Phone already so not missing much here. The UI is quite washed up though and just seems old school now!
      • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

        @OhTheHumanity - but after the update, you were still stuck with a Windows device, and nobody wants that. So what is your point?
      • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

        @Pederson [i]you were still stuck with a Windows device, and [b]nobody[/b] wants that. So what is your point?[/i]

        Apparently he does... so what was yours?
      • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

        yes I am stuck with a Windows device that blows away whatever you have. Most that say those things have never used it and refuse to look at it out of ignorance. I have used all the platforms and I'm sorry but you can stick to the two horse race of old washed up UI's, but I will stick with my snappy and slick Windows device. I've used it for 5 months now and not once have I had to restart or pull a battery. I can't say so much for other phones on the market. If you still think Windows phone is comparable to Windows mobile of the past you really have no idea what the new OS is all about. Its like night and day and I can actually say I would recommend it to anyone that wants a phone that "just works".
        • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

          Oh and mark my words, you will be seeing others trying to duplicate the metro UI in the future.
      • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

        @OhTheHumanity Except the Mango update is riddled with bugs...
    • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update


      My iOS5 upgrade went smoothly, if slowly. But I wouldn't have lost anything even if the backup failed. Why? Because it is a MOBILE device - I don't keep anything stored locally on it. No photos, no docs, contacts are stored online, etc.
      • Good advice that bears repeating

        I did not lose any data other than my text messages and game progress. No big deal. What I lost were all my applications that needed to be manually reinstalled. With the exceptions I noted about though, I did not lose any data.

        Listen up folks, iPhone is an inherently unsafe device. Backup or, preferrably, store things anywhere but on the iPhone. Then when the next upgrade causes you to reformat and reinstall (funny we've been told that this is only a Windows troubleshooting technique) you won't lose anything that can't be recovered with 4-8 hours of manual work.
    • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

      @toddybottom Mine went smooth as can be.
    • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

      To all_ I upgraded my iPad First generation with difficulty. Later I found that my MAIL Program frequently crashes in mid composition, or just disappears without warning. After doing "restore to New iPad", recommended by the local support on phone--- by a PC iTunes, the MAIL APP still crashes at times. Its impossible to get more direct Apple support. See the official Apple Forum on this:

      I quote >>>
      View the full discussion

      "I've been experiencing the same slow downs described here with my iPad 1. I used the Informit app and it showed only 72 MB of RAM available. I restarted the iPad and the app reported the same amount of RAM. No difference. Things are so bad that Safari crashes everytime I use it and some apps won't launch. "
      By a commentator on the Forum

  • 88888889999

  • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

    I waited 'til Saturday for mine. Upgrade itself took just over an hour. No apps! My last restore did restore data though..... Data restore seemed OK as I re-installed apps and looked at data. This was on Gen 1 iPad. Considering I have 150+ apps, I'm not impressed.....
  • RE: Beware the iOS 5 update

    I have only two iOS 5 upgradable devices - an iPad 1 and an iPad 2.

    Both updates went smoothly but then again, I updated both my iMac and my MacBook to ver 10.7.2 first. I also updated all my apps that required an update before I attempted to update my iPads. I used a direct ethernet cable connection from my router to my OS X machines rather than my WiFi network connection. (I don't know if that made any difference, frankly.)

    I then put both iPads into their respective docking stations and let iTunes "do it's thing".

    Except for the time involved, all updates went super smooth. BTW, iOS 5 is a fantastic upgrade. Thanks to Toddybottom's related post, I am enjoying added multi-touch gestures support on my iPads. The built-in dictionary feature works great as well.