This weekend I spent most of Saturday rebuilding my iPad 2 after updating it to iOS 6.
But let me back up.
I downloaded iOS as soon as it was available. It took time to download, but unlike previous iOS updates everything went smoothly. No interruptions. No fallback to connecting to iTunes. After a couple of hours of downloading and updating, both my iPad 2 and my iPhone 4s were updated.
If you are going to really test something, you need to test it without a net. I did the upgrade without a recent backup. That was mostly not a problem, but it did obliterate a somewhat proud accomplishment, which I will get to later.
As far as I could tell, my day-to-day work was unaffected by the iOS update. And then Friday night my wife asked me to play “Your Move” by Yes.
I opened Music on my iPad 2 and found it empty. I went to System Preferences and discovered that iTunes match was turned off. I flipped it on, including showing all music, and waited a few minutes.
Upon first returning to to Music I found the cloud waiting for me. Just an image of the cloud. Briefly the activity swirl in the up left of the screen activated and went silent.
I did a bit of research. Some reported that turning off iTunes Match, restarting, and turning iTunes Match back on would get thing moving. No such luck.
When I returned I found albums covers but all the music titles were blank, complete with 00:00 times. And no playlists.
Another variable entered the fray, which was a seemingly lock-out of the app store. With iOS 6, as readers know, apps were being updated by the minute. Sometime Friday night the app store just went silent. Eventually that was solved by something other than me, which allowed me to continue to try to repair the music issues.
I did some additional research and discovered a trick using iExplorer that involved deleting the iTunes Control folder within iOS. iOS is not the kind of operating system I would usually recommend messing around with, but several times on several devices, I found that deleting a self-repairing database was the path to clearing a corruption. All I can report here is that iExplorer let me delete the directory, but that the procedure did not repair the issues with the iCloud, nor did it harm iOS.
During this period I also tried to disable iCloud and download music directly from iTunes. Not only didn’t that work, but iTunes generally proved disagreeable at downloading anything to my iPad 2. I went to iTunes to download television series I owned. They would not download over the air or over a cable connected to my MacBook Pro.
After further research and much gnashing of teeth, I decided to conduct a wipe and restore. As noted, I didn’t have a current backup, but I did have a backup, one about a month old.
I deleted all data. Restored the old backup. Waited for several hours while the apps reloaded themselves.
I did not turn on iCloud Music Match. I first connected to iTunes on the MacBook Pro, and downloaded my two favorite playlists. All went well. I loaded iTunes on the iPad 2 was able to download television series. Things seem right with the world, except for an 8-hour gap of iOS remediation.
Now about that accomplishment that went into oblivion: my rather high score and ranking on Angry Birds Seasons (the paid version). Scores fluctuate but last time I took a screen capture I was sitting at 1,701 out of 33,614,232. The random playing over the last month was wiped out (I believe it was in the last month that they released back to school, which I quickly mastered, but that was lost as well.) I had also reached the achievement of 60 Feathers from the Mighty Eagle feature. Back to school has been completely wiped out, as have all the accomplishments, but Game Center still knows about the accomplishments — the high score accumulation, however, is gone. Looks like a few more hours to reestablish street cred in the Angry Birds community.
With the exception of my Angry Birds scores, everything else seems to be working.
Recommendations for Apple
Create an iCloud option that allows for the storage and encryption of app passwords. That includes e-mail, newsstand subscriptions, Kindle, ESPN and other apps that require passwords for personalization and subscription management. It takes a good hour or more, if you happen to remember all the apps that require it, to reenter passwords.
Fix Game Center. Game Center has again been hacked with impossible scores filling the upper achievement areas, at least on Angry Birds. For an app that I pay for, I expect the integrity of the experience to be maintained, no matter how trivial the application. Game Center perhaps should store the state of game play separately from iCloud backups. There is now a marked discontinuity between Game Center’s knowledge of scores and accomplishments, and those within the app.
Improved Quality control. Really Apple. You didn’t know this was going to be an issue? Attention to detail and deep testing suites for all the apps you own is essential. Perhaps reaching out beyond the dev community to analysts or others who will put devices through non-scripted scenarios would be a good route next time. Secrecy is one thing, but iOS wasn’t really a mystery, its features were disclosed. Perhaps Apple could learn something from Microsoft about public betas so at least the expectation for perfection didn’t exist when flaws are discovered.
Between issues with iTunes and Maps Apple managed, with iOS, to deliver a subpar (though occasionally visually stunning) application to replace an application that wasn’t really broken in the name of Android disaffection. With iTunes, they maimed Music, the feature upon which the i-Everything empire was built.
Apple created bugs during the Jobs’ era. They will create bugs in the future. In this age of transparency, they need to be more thorough, more transparent and more responsive. They should be all over this issue this morning with fixes to known bugs at the top of their support page, and if not fixes, acknowledgements of issues. Silence is not competitive,. Silence is arrogant and disrespectful to the people who made Apple the biggest company in the world: its customers and its shareholders.
"'Cause it's time, it's time in time with your time and its news is captured
For the queen to use."
Note: this is an iPad 2 experience only. My iPhone 4s has been working fine, including music, since the upgrade.