iOS 10 problems and the solutions to deal with them

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Problem: Unable to update to iOS 10 or later

As with every iOS update, some iOS users have run into the unfortunate situation of not being able to update their iPhone or iPad using the over-the-air (OTA) Wi-Fi method. There have been multiple threads created on the Apple forums, including one for the recent iOS 10.3.2 update, in which people are experiencing issues when updating both their iPhone and iPad. Luckily, there are explanations for this, along with a few alternative methods for updating your device.

Potential solutions:

  • Not all iOS devices are compatible with iOS 10. If you’re using an iPhone older than the iPhone 5, an iPad older than the iPad Mini 2, or an iPod touch older than a 6th-gen iPod, you’ll be unable to install the update. Check this page to see if your iOS device is compatible.
  • If you attempted to update as soon as iOS 10 (or one of its subsequent versions) was made available, the failure may have resulted from too many people trying to get the update at the same time. Wait a little while, then try again.
  • If you haven’t been prompted to install the update at all, go to Settings > General > Software Update to manually begin the update.
  • If the update fails, you may need more space on your device. Delete unused apps, music, and other content to free up the required space. Go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage and see what you can get rid of.
  • Alternatively, try updating through iTunes after making sure you’re running the latest version of the software. To do so, launch iTunes and connect your iOS device. Afterward, select your device at the top, select Summary in the left-hand pane, and click the Check for Update button.
  • If you started the update, but it froze, restart your phone by holding down the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons for several seconds.
  • If you began the update but an error occurred, find it by going to Settings > General Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. Tap the iOS update, then Delete Update. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to trigger the update again, or try using iTunes.

Annoyance: Duplicate music tracks and playlists following iOS 10 update

After updating to iOS 10, a few users have discovered copies of music tracks, albums, and playlists on their devices. The issues largely affect music not bought or downloaded through Apple Music, and the duplicates end up taking up additional space on the device.

Potential solutions:

  • Connect your device to iTunes and sync your device again. If the duplicate tracks and playlists are added to your iTunes library, follow these steps from Apple Support to quickly find and delete them.
  • Another method, although much longer, is to delete each track and playlist individually. Find the song or playlist you wish to remove, tap the three horizontal dots on the right, and select Delete. Or, after finding the song or playlist, simply swipe it from right to left and tap Delete.
  • You can also delete all your music from your device, and then sync your device through iTunes. On your iOS device, go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage > Music, then swipe from right to left on All Songs and tap Delete.

Annoyance: Mail threads are not in chronological order

While iOS 10 doesn’t completely reinvent the way you interact with the Mail app, it has left a lot of people wondering what Apple did to it between iOS 9 and iOS 10. Many who are in constant communication with people through email are finding that they’re unable to follow the conversation thread because it’s out of order, or their responses are simply missing. It’s certainly an annoyance, but one that can be easily fixed using the OS’ own tools.

Official solution:

  • Go to Settings > Mail, then scroll down to the Threading section, where you’ll see three options for “Organize by Thread,” “Most Recent Messages on Top,” and “Complete Threads.” Toggle all of these on — one or two are off by default — and your email threads will go back to what you remember using in iOS 9. Your conversations will be completely intact and in chronological order, with the newest message shown first.

Problem: Can’t connect to PC or Mac running iTunes

A fairly straightforward problem facing some people on the Apple forums. Those with devices that have been recently updated to iOS 10  are not being recognized by their computer when connected via USB. Other iOS devices that haven’t been updated continue to connect as expected.

Potential solutions:

  • Make sure you’re running the latest version of iTunes (version 12.5.5). In iTunes, you can see which version you’re on by clicking Help > About iTunes. You can download the newest version here, by launching Apple Software Update on your computer, or by going to Help > Check for Updates in iTunes. Restart iTunes after the update has finished to ensure that everything is installed and working correctly.
  • Depending on your iOS device, it may need to be unlocked before connecting to iTunes.
  • If you’re a Mac user, you need to be running OS X version 10.9.5 or later to support both iTunes and iOS 10 devices.
  • Check your firewall and make sure it’s not interfering with the sync. Apple has a support page for Windows users using the built in firewall.
  • Apple Communities member chasfh had a similar problem where their PC wasn’t recognizing their iOS device. Their solution is as follows:
    • Plug your iPhone into USB port.
    • Open Control Panel.
    • Open Device Manager.
    • Expand Universal Serial Bus Controllers.
    • Right-click Apple Mobile Device USB Driver.
    • Choose Disable.
    • After driver is disabled, unplug your iPhone (optional).
    • Plug your iPhone back in.
    • Right-click Apple Mobile Device USB Driver again.
    • Choose Enable.
    • Your device should now appear in Windows Explorer and in Device Manager.

Issue: Unable to download apps from the App Store

A few iPhone users took to the Apple forums to discuss their experiences with being unable to install new apps from the App Store or update previously installed apps. After tapping Download/Get/Buy/The App’s Price, the download process simply doesn’t start. For others, it downloads a small chunk, then stops abruptly.

Potential solutions:

  • Make sure you’re still signed into the App Store. Open the App Store and scroll down to the bottom. If you’re signed in, you’ll see your Apple ID. Alternatively, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store.
  • Try switching from Wi-Fi to cellular data, or vice-versa.
  • Perform a force restart by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button until the Apple logo appears. On an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, press the Sleep/Wake button and the Volume Down key. After restarting your device, try downloading the app again.
  • Back up your iOS device using iCloud or iTunes, then go to Settings> General> Reset> Reset All Settings. After signing back into your Apple ID and reconnecting to Wi-Fi, attempt to download the app again.
  • As a last resort, you can try to restore your device to its original factory settings. Back up your device, then go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Restore your iOS device from a backup (or set it up as a new device) and try downloading the app again.

Problem: Mail app doesn’t open at all or crashes when trying to view emails

A few people have been unable to check or edit their emails because iOS 10’s Mail app continues to crash on them. It reportedly happens most frequently while trying to move emails or download new ones, but can also happen when trying to open the app.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts, and for each account, toggle Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Notes off and on. Then, perform a force restart. Re-enter your email credentials if asked to do so.
  • If you have multiple email accounts, consider turning the Mail toggle off for each one to see if it improves the app’s performance. It has also been suggested that turning off accounts requiring a VPN will keep the app from crashing.
  • Back up your iOS device using iTunes or iCloud, then perform a factory reset by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Restore your iOS device from a backup, or set it up as a new device.

Issue: Contacts have disappeared

A decent number of people have said they’re missing their contacts after updating to iOS 10. If they were to message to them using iMessage or a similar messaging app, then copy and paste their name or number, the contact appears as expected. But when browsing through the Contacts app or going to Phone > Contacts, those people are not there.


  • Restarting the phone a handful of times — three has been suggested — has been said to temporarily fix the problem and bring back contacts.

Potential solutions:

  • Open the Contacts app, or go to Phone > Contacts. Tap Groups in the top-left corner and make sure Hide All Contacts hasn’t been enabled by accident. If it has, the top option will be “Show All Contacts” instead. In that case, tap it to reveal your contacts.
  • Go to Settings > Contacts > Accounts. If your iCloud and email accounts are there, go into each one and toggle Contacts on if it isn’t already. If the Contacts for iCloud is already on, turn it off and tap Delete from My iPhone if prompted. Toggle the setting on again and your contacts list should be replaced by what’s saved to iCloud. If you’re unsure if iCloud still has your updated contacts list, sign into and click the Contacts icon.

Problem: Apple earpods not working during calls

Another problem that was once a smaller issue, but has grown larger since the release of iOS 10.1.1 last year, is that Apple’s own wired earpods will sometimes cease to work during phone calls. Some people have found that there is no audio coming from the earpods or the speaker on the iPhone. Forbes wrote about this slowly growing problem last December, pointing to a 24-page thread full of people with this problem.


  • Turning on the speaker phone option during calls has allowed many to hear once again.

Temporary solutions:

  • Restarting the iPhone will restore functionality to the Apple earpods, but only for a short time, as the earpods will lose audio once again.

Potential solutions:

  • A future iOS 10 update from Apple is the best option for fixing this particular issue. To make sure you have the latest update, take a look in Settings > General > Software Update and choose Download and Install if you have the option.

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