Misfire! Apple yanks botched iOS 8.0.1 update

UPDATED: Apple has issued a "workaround" for its most recent update to iOS 8 which aimed to fix issues like "unexpected cellular data usage" when receiving text messages.

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Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
3 min read

With iOS 8.01, Apple aimed to fix bugs in the initial iOS 8 release. That didn't go so well. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET

Apple on Wednesday quickly pulled a troubled update to iOS 8 following an outcry over problems with the new version.

The iOS 8.0.1 update aimed to fix issues that have plagued Apple's mobile operating system software since it arrived last week. But many users immediately reported problems after downloading the update, including their iPhones no longer connecting to a cellular network, with a message of "no service." iPhone owners also reported issues with Touch ID after downloading the update, with some noting that the feature -- which allows people to unlock their phones using their fingerprints -- was no longer working.

Only about an hour after releasing it, Apple put a stop to the software update. It's unclear what the company plans to do for people who have already downloaded iOS 8.0.1, but CNET has a handy how-to guide here on how to restore iPhones following the update. Apple simply acknowledged the issue and said it's looking into the problems.

"We are actively investigating these reports and will provide information as quickly as we can," Apple initially said in a statement. "In the meantime, we have pulled back the iOS 8.0.1 update."

Apple later advised that it had worked to address the issue:

"We have a workaround for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users who lost cellular service and Touch ID functionality today after updating to iOS 8.0.1. Affected users can reinstall iOS 8 through iTunes, for more information visit http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6487. We apologize for the great inconvenience experienced by users, and are working around the clock to prepare iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue, and will release it as soon as it is ready in the next few days."

Apple a week ago released iOS 8, the latest version of its mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad users. With iOS 8, Apple laid out a laundry list of features that many fans have desired for years. Most importantly, the new software tackles long-standing issues with iOS' notification system, its tie-ins with Apple's desktop OS X software, and device- and file-management software iCloud and its native SMS client Messages. It extends Apple's reach into the health and home automation space, too, with a suite of new "Kit" apps and developer tools.

But it didn't take long for some iOS users to start reporting problems. Conversations on Apple's support forums and other online sources have pointed to Wi-Fi connectivity glitches, the usual battery drain issue and slow performance in Safari, among other problems.

One goal for iOS 8.0.1 was to fix a bug that prevented developers from launching HealthKit apps in the app store and another bug that barred users from uploading photos and videos from Safari. The update also was set to improve the reliability of the "reachability" feature on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Reachability makes it easier for users to operate the large phones with one hand.

In addition, the update was intended to correct issues related to third-party keyboards, third-party app access to the Photo Library, and ringtones not being restored from the iCloud service. And iOS 8.0.1 also set out to resolve an issue that could cause unexpected cellular data usage when Apple's devices received text messages, as well as to provide better support of "Ask to Buy" for Family Sharing for in-app purchases.

Last year, Apple rolled out iOS 7.0.1 just a few days after it launched iOS 7 in order to fix a fingerprint glitch with the iPhone 5S . Less than a week after that, iOS 7.0.2 came out to patch a bug with the lock screen.

iOS 8 is compatible with any iPhone that's 4S or later, the fifth-generation iPod Touch, or any iPad released from the second generation on. Some features are specific to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus , which went on sale last Friday, including the Apple Pay . The mobile payments service, which works with the NFC chip in the new iPhones, will launch through an iOS 8 update for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in October.

--ZDNet's Zack Whittaker contributed to this report.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. PT with additional background information, 11:30 a.m. PT with information about Apple pulling the update, and 11:55 a.m. PT with Apple comment.

Updated at 10:19 p.m. PT with second statement from Apple.