What to do when your iPhone / iPod Touch has problems

The iPhone and iPod Touch are mini computers running a specially tweaked version of OS X. They can browse websites, compose emails and with the App Store infrastructure, they can do pretty much anything – as long as it’s approved. In addition to the great things iPhones can do, they can also have problems and go bad – just like any computer. So, what do you do when your iPhone or iPod Touch doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to?

iPhone and iPod Touch Issues:

Since the iPhone and iPod Touch are similar, yet different, many of the issues they face are common. I’ll deal with these first and then move on to iPhone specific and iPod Touch specific issues and how to fix them.

iTunes won’t recognize the iPhone/iPod Touch:

Usually you plug in your iPhone and it pops up in iTunes. What do you do if it doesn’t?

– Check the display on your iPhone/iPod Touch. If it says “Charging… please wait”, this means the device’s battery doesn’t have enough power. Let it charge for 10-15 minutes and try it again.

– Try a different USB port, preferably one directly on your Mac (not on the side of your iMac’s keyboard).

– Restart your iPhone/iPod Touch by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button on top. When the Slider appears, slide it and it will shut down. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button to turn it back on. Try again after its finished restarting.

– Restart your Mac. and try again.

– If it still fails to sync / be recognized, reinstall the latest version of iTunes.

– Reinstall the Apple Mobile Device Service by deleting the following two files:
1. /System/Library/Extensions/AppleMobileDevice.kext
2. /Library/Receipts/AppleMobileDeviceSupport.pkg

You’ll be prompted to delete them both. Choose “Authenticate” and enter the Administrator name password. Then, empty the trash and reinstall the latest version of iTunes.

Your iPhone / iPod Touch is frozen:

– Force quit the stuck application.

In 3.0 firmware, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button. When the slider appears, release the sleep/wake button. Do not slide the slider. Instead, press and hold the Home button for 6 seconds. If it doesn’t return to the home screen, restart the device.

In 2.2.1 or earlier firmware, press and hold the home button for 6 seconds. If it doesn’t return to the home screen, restart the device.

Resetting your iPhone / iPod Touch:

If your iPhone still won’t respond, you’ll have to begin resetting it.

– Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for ten seconds until you see the Apple logo.

– If it still doesn’t respond, and you can get into it’s Settings, choose General, then Reset and Reset all settings. This will reset your preferences but will not touch any music or data.

– If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to reset your iPhone back to the beginning. Open up iTunes and follow the next section.

Restoring your iPhone / iPod Touch:

When all else fails and your iPhone / iPod Touch is just so messed up it won’t work right, you’ll have to reset it back to factory settings. Now, this will overwrite everything on your iPhone / iPod Touch. However, iTunes will let you create a backup of your settings. Be advised though, there’s always a chance you’ll lose settings / data.

– Open iTunes and make sure it’s the latest version.

– Connect the iPhone / iPod Touch.

– Select the “Summary” tab in iTunes.

– Select “Restore”.

– When prompted, choose “Backup”.

– After it’s finished backing up, choose “Restore” when prompted.

– The iPod Touch / iPhone will restart once it’s finished.

– With the iPhone, it will begin activating.

– To restore your data, iTunes will give you a message that this device has been previously synced.

– Choose “Restore from the backup of:” and select which backup you’d like to use.

WiFi Problems:

Sometimes the iPod Touch and iPhone have problems connecting to WiFi networks. Here’s what you do to kick them back into working:

– Renew your DHCP Lease by opening the Settings app, choose Wi-Fi Networks and click the little blue arrow next to the network you’re on. In the DHCP pane, choose Renew Lease at the bottom.

– If you are using an iPhone and it’s connected but when you visit websites, it reverts back to 3G or Edge, check your Airport/Router to make sure MAC filtering is either off or the iPhone’s MAC address is entered correctly. This may also happen if you’ve entered the wrong WEP key. Note: If this is your network, you should not be using WEP, it’s worthless. Use WPA or WPA2 instead.

– If you’re getting the “Unable to Join Network Failure (error -3)” error, make sure the network’s SSID (Name) and passwords are correct. Make sure MAC filtering is either off or set up properly. If the error persists, go into the Settings, choose Wi-Fi and Choose a Network (Other..). Then enter the name and password for your network.

– iPhone only: Make sure Airplane mode is off.

– If you can’t connect on your Mac as well, restart your Airport / Router.

Hardware Issues:

If your iPhone / iPod Touch won’t turn on at all and the battery has sufficiently charged or the device has suffered damage from dropping / liquid spills, you’ll need to make an appointment at the Apple Store / Service Center. You can also call AppleCare to set up a service call. Just remember, in cases where it’s physically damaged, you’ll have to pay for the repair.

All other issues:

At times, different issues may pop up that aren’t addressed here. Your best bet is to follow this procedure:

– Restart the device.
– Reset the device.
– Restore the device.

And as always, make sure your Mac is up to date with the latest version of iTunes and OS X.

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