iOS 4 upgrade conflicts prompt iPhone user complaints

Upgrading an iPhone 3G or 3GS to the new version of Apple's smartphone software can lead to the loss of contacts, appointments and messages, MIT and others have warned

Owners of iPhone 3G and 3GS models have reported extensive conflicts between Microsoft Exchange and the new version of the iPhone operating system, leading the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and others to warn against the upgrade.

On Thursday, MIT's IT department said there had been "numerous reports of problematic behaviours" since the release of iOS 4, with a major issue being the Exchange calendar not appearing in the iPhone's calendar. The department recommended that anyone who had not yet upgraded their iPhone or iPod to iOS 4 "refrain from doing so — at least until Apple rolls out some type of solution".

Meanwhile, Apple's support boards have been hosting multiple discussions about conflicts between Exchange and the new software. One user, 'mcarpenter675', wrote that they had upgraded to iOS 4 only to lose all their contacts, text messages and notes. Others responded to say they had experienced the same loss, with 'Blaqjaq' noting that even the restoration of a recent backup file did not bring the contacts back.

The loss of Exchange information appear to affect both iPhone 3G and 3GS. Apple announced iOS 4 — renaming the iPhone OS to reflect its use on the iPad as well as the company's smartphones — at the start of June. At the time, Apple noted that those installing the OS on the predecessors to the new iPhone 4 would miss out on some features of the new software.

Although Exchange-compatibility issues have not been reported by those using iOS 4 on the iPhone 4 itself, many users of that handset have been experiencing a lack of cellular coverage when holding the device — prompting Apple to tell its customers to hold it differently, which in turn inspired rival manufacturer Nokia to publish a tongue-in-cheek guide to holding a Nokia phone.

ZDNet UK asked Apple on Monday for comment on the reported Exchange-related issues, but had received none at the time of writing.