Beware the iOS 5 update

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.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

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?

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