Error: What to do if your iOS 5 update doesn’t work

iphone 4  iOS 5

Excited for the new iOS 5 update? Yeah, me too. Or at least I was, four hours ago, when I started the whole hellacious process. First came the massively slow download speed, which I fixed by restarting the process from the beginning, after my connection timed out. Once the download was complete, however, that’s when the real problems began: error messages.

I have so far tried to update to iOS 5 nine times. Maybe more. I can’t tell at this point, as I’ve begun to lose my marbles due to lack of oxygen from screaming at my computer. Each time, after the 15 minute process of backing up the phone, extracting the software and trying to verify the update with Apple, I’d receive an error message, which read, “The iPhone ‘iPhone’ could not be restored. An unknown error has occurred.” Thanks, Apple. I hate you.


That cheery bit of text was always followed by a number. The first five times it was 3002, then 3200, then 3014, then 3004. Each time this happened, I’d frantically scour blog posts, forums and all colors of Internet resources in an attempt to figure out what to do. At the time of this writing, nothing has worked so far.

The primary problem seems to be due to an overload of Apple’s servers. When iTunes attempts to verify the update with Apple – something that happens so close to the end of the process that you can almost taste victory – everything goes to hell. So the only surefire way to fix the issue is to wait until everyone else has had their fun, then swoop in an snag the update while nobody’s looking. I’d suggest holding off for a few hours, at least.

If, however, you’re as impatient as I am, here are a few things you can try, for better or worse.

Option 1: Download firmware directly from Apple’s servers (not through iTunes)

Rather than hit the “Update” button under “Summary” in iTunes, instead download the firmware for your device directly from Apple. Here are the links:

iPhone 3GS
iPhone 4 (CDMA)
iPhone 4 (GSM)
iPad 2 (CDMA)
iPad 2 (GSM)
iPad 2 (Wi-Fi)
iPod touch (third generation)
iPod touch (fourth Generation)

Make sure to download the software to a place that you’ll remember. Once download is complete, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) and click “Restore”in iTunes. You’ll then be asked to point iTunes to the correct software, which you just downloaded. Your update will then begin. NOTE: This method will delete all your apps, music, contacts, etc, as it is a complete restore to factory settings, so make sure your device is backed up before proceeding.

Option 2: Put your phone in DFU mode (a.k.a. “restore mode”)

This is one of the first suggestions I found, but it is NOT one I’d recommend. Right now, my iPhone 4 is completely useless. It won’t even connect to iTunes (error 0xE8000065). But if you want to take a chance, here’s the simplest way to do it:

  • Plug your phone into your computer (as if it isn’t already).

  • Shut off your phone.

  • Once off, hold down both the power button and home button, as if you’re doing a soft restore.

  • When you see the Apple logo, let go of the power button, but continue to hold down the home button.

  • Open iTunes.

  • Once your device is connected, you will be in DFU mode.

  • Click “Restore” in iTunes, and go through all the subsequent prompts.

  • Cross your fingers.

Please note, this method can be just as tedious and frustrating as the original updating process, so only use it if you’re desperate.

Option 3: Wait

Grab some food, go see a movie, crack a beer, hang out with your dog, do ANYTHING other than try to update your iPhone. Once you’re good and relaxed, Apple’s servers should be better equipped to handle your need for the latest and greatest iOS in the land. Start from the top, and hope I’m right.

UPDATE: My phone is now working (6:40pm ET) after using option 1. To the rest of you who haven’t yet had any luck, godspeed.


One night with this sensor on your head could change your sleep forever

Get past the fact you’ll be in bed with a sensor on your forehead, and the Beddr SleepTuner may be the first step in curing your sleep problems and improving your overall health.

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.

Getting Windows 10 updated doesn't have to be so painful

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.

Beam up the videos: AirPlay support is coming to VLC player

At CES 2019, the developers of VLC player announced they are adding support for Apple's Airplay feature, allowing consumers to beam video and other content from their iPhone and Android devices to an Apple TV. 

If you're looking for a good laugh, here are 70 questions to ask Siri

Siri has come a long way since her first appearance on the iPhone 4S in 2011. We know she can make appointments and give directions, did you know she can make you laugh too? If you want proof, here are lots of funny questions to ask Siri.

Save over $350 on the Refurbished iPad 4 for a limited time

Looking to buy an iPad without having to pay that iPad price? For a limited time, you can pick up a refurbished iPad 4 for as low as $137. That's $363 less than you would pay for something brand new.
Movies & TV

Apple’s first original feature film reunites Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola

The Lost in Translation team of Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray will reunite with their A Very Murray Christmas collaborator Rashida Jones for On the Rocks, Apple and studio A24's first official feature together.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

Apple’s iPhone battery offer was reportedly way more popular than expected

As many as 11 million iPhone owners reportedly made use of Apple's cheaper battery replacement offer that launched in 2018 in response to the iPhone throttling debacle — some 10 times more than the company had apparently expected.

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.