More iPhone problems: Freezes, missing App Store categories, and charging issues

After Apple introduced iPhone OS 3.1.3, complaints surfaced about the iPhone battery and problems with playlist syncing. Now, users are encountering a new set of problems.

Apple Inc.

After Apple introduced iPhone OS 3.1.3, complaints surfaced about the iPhone battery and problems with playlist syncing. Now, users are encountering a new set of problems and airing their complaints in Apple Discussions.

Random freezes or shutdowns

Random freezes and shutdowns were a major complaint for some users after upgrading to iPhone OS 3.1 last fall. The problem was the source of heated discussions within a huge Apple discussion thread containing nearly 900 posts. This problem now seems to be making a comeback, although it may be less widespread this time.

The problem seems to manifest itself whenever the iPhone goes to sleep, the user locks the display, or just randomly. The next time the user tries to use the phone, he or she will find it completely unresponsive--the display remains blank and pressing buttons won't wake it. The only recourse for the user is to perform a reset by holding down the sleep and home buttons until the Apple logo appears and releasing both buttons.

Missing Categories content in App Store app

Users in countries outside of the U.S. have been complaining that their iPhone App Store app is no longer displaying content in categories including Games, Entertainment, Utilities, and Social Networking. These complaints appeared in three separate threads:

App Store app Utilities category Screenshot by David Martin

The problem, according to users, is not happening in all regions. One user-suggested fix involves creating a new iTunes Account in the U.S. iTunes Store. Though this is a feasible workaround, it isn't without problems; if you inadvertently make a purchase under the new account you could end up with two accounts with recorded purchases. We think you're better off calling Applecare and hoping that Apple fixes the problems with your local App Store. So far, however, this problem hadn't been resolved, and calls to Apple haven't been returned.

Unresponsive iPhone issues linked to charging

Some users are reporting that their iPhones are unresponsive after long-term use and especially when the battery charge is very low. The iPhone OS is designed to warn you when battery life reaches 20 percent charge. We strongly recommend that you heed this warning and place your iPhone on a charger as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, the iPhone's battery power will drop and it may reach a point where the iPhone will not start or even be recognized by a computer.

At this point, many users panic, thinking that their iPhone is dead. It generally isn't, but it will appear to be so until it has had a chance to charge for at least 10 minutes.

You can learn more about iPhone battery charging by reading iPhone and iPod Touch: Charging the battery on Apple's support Web site.

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