iOS 8 Upgrade Fail — Why It May Be Better to Upgrade Via Connecting to Your Computer [update]

Eager to upgrade to iOS 8, I connected my iPad to my computer and booted up iTunes. The iTunes software automatically backed up my iPad to my computer, as it usually does whenever I connect my iPad. Then I clicked on the update button and confirmed that I wanted to update to iOS 8. The update downloaded just fine, but then when it was installing I got a message on my computer that there was an unknown error. I looked at the screen of my iPad and nothing was happening in the progress bar. Basically it seemed frozen. I had to press the power button and home button simultaneously to force the iPad to shut down. Then when I restarted it, I got a message that I needed to restore to the original factory settings. Which I did by selecting that option in iTunes. Then once the iPad was restored to its original state, iTunes asked me if I wanted to set it up as a new iPad or to restore from the backup. I chose the latter, and when it was done, things were back to normal — and my iPad Air was running iOS 8.

My impression is that doing the backup and update via a connection to iTunes on my computer made it easier to resolve this glitch. First of all, my computer immediately notified me there was a problem. If I had been updating over the air, I might not have noticed that my iPad was frozen. Or I may have thought it was simply taking a long time. In such a situation, the hardest part is not knowing for sure whether something has gone wrong. But because my computer told me there was an error, I immediately knew there was a problem and knew that I had to force the iPad to shut down.

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In addition, I'm glad I was able to restore from a backup on my computer. Any time you do something over the air, you're dependent on the reliability of the network and the server you're connected to. Given that Apple's servers are likely being overwhelmed at this time with people updating and restoring, things might not have gone so well if I had had to restore from the backup on Apple's servers.

In addition, once I had done the hard reset, I was forced to connect to my computer in order to restore to the factory settings. So I would have had to have connected anyway.

Overall, it's unfortunate that there was a glitch, but on the other hand, I'm pleased with how smoothly everything went in getting my iPad back to normal. I simply feel safe in Apple's environment. 

[Update]: This article on TidBITs recommends installing major updates such as this via iTunes. One advantage they mention is that less free space is required on your device in order to do the installation.

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Jim Karpen's picture

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.