The essential iOS 9 installation problem-solving guide

A few helpful hints for those having issues

One in 160 million

If you are one of those among 160 million iOS 9 upgraders who has problems installing the new iOS on your device, you’ll take no joy being told you’re one of a small minority. So I’m going to try to reassure you with some simple problem solving tips to help you through.

If you are able to access a computer running the latest version of iTunes (you have upgraded iTunes already, right?) then you should use iTunes to install – it’s usually less troublesome and doesn’t demand any space on the device.

You should always backup your iOS devices before you upgrade, in case of problems. (I know that’s no help if you didn’t and that’s why you are reading this).

IMPORTANT: If you want to save Health and Activity data from your iOS device or Apple Watch it is very important to encrypt your backup: In iTunes select the box called Encrypt [device] backup and make a memorable password. Make sure to keep that password safe as there’s no way to recover your backups if you lose it.

Cool it

Every year, iOS upgrades are widely tested before release, and every year some users have problems all the same. If you have an iOS 9-compatible device, it’s likely your problem consists of:

The update process fails and you see a message to the effect of “Software Update Failed."
Devices freeze when you reach the “Swipe to upgrade” dialog.

The first problem usually means Apple’s update servers are busy. The best thing you can do is stop trying for a while and get back to it when fewer people are crashing the  servers.

The second problem could be a little more complicated. Apple hasn’t provided any guidance yet, so it’s reasonable to assume the standard troubleshooting tips will help:


If the update or restore never completes or your device is unresponsive try to force your device to restart: Press and hold both the sleep/wake button and Home button for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo.

Use iTunes

If reset didn’t work, use iTunes:

  • Unplug any unnecessary external devices – only your iOS device, keyboard and mouse should be connected to your computer.
  • Restart your computer and your device. 
  • Connect your iOS device to your computer and attempt to update it again.

The ‘R’ word

Some reports claim users (particularly on older devices) have been locked out of their devices during the installation process and have been forced to Reset them, losing their data if they hadn’t backed up. If that’s you and you can wait, Reuters reports Apple is attempting to find a solution that preserves your data. If you can’t wait, you’ll need to bite the bullet and follow these steps:

With iTunes

You can put your iOS device into recovery mode, then restore it using iTunes.

  • Turn off your device and plug your cable into your computer, but not your device.
  • Hold down the Home button on your device as you connect the cable. Keep holding it until the Connect to iTunes screen appears, release the Home button.
  • iTunes will launch and say it has detected a device in recovery mode.
  • Now use iTunes to Restore your device; doing so in recovery mode will erase your device. 
  • In the Summary panel choose Restore iPhone, then choose Restore in the following dialog box. Your device will restart once the operation is complete, and you’ll get to set it up as new. Alternatively, if you have a back up, here is how to restore from your backup.

Without iTunes

To reset iPhone without iTunes Tap Settings>General>Reset>Erase all Content and Settings, and provide the passcode if needed. You may need to turn off Find my iPhone if this is enabled.

Additional resources

I hope these steps help solve your problem. If they don’t then visit this page. I’d urge users to share any help and advice with each other in comments below, or visit the AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community for help.

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when fresh items are published here first on Computerworld.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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