Apple's iOS 10 update freezes some iPhones -- including mine

Many users have issues updating the software over Wi-Fi and instead get error messages that the Phone may be factory reset. Apple now says the problem has been fixed.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
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

Some users, including CNET's Shara Tibken, have had issues downloading iOS 10.

James Martin/CNET

Another iOS update, another round of glitches.

Apple on Tuesday released the latest version of its mobile software, iOS 10. The problem is some users -- including me -- had issues downloading the update.

After going through the download and install process over Wi-Fi, the iPhone showed an error window and indicated you needed to plug it into iTunes on your computer. Connecting it to the computer brought up another error window that said, "There is a problem with the iPhone 'iPhone' that requires it to be updated or restored." The message indicated you might have been able to fix the problem by updating your phone, but if the update didn't work, you might have had to restore your phone to factory settings, which erases all content and settings.

Apple recommended users update iTunes on their computers to the newest version, 12.5.1, and then update the iPhone by plugging it into the computer.

"We experienced a brief issue with the software update process, affecting a small number of users during the first hour of availability," Apple said in a statement. "The problem was quickly resolved and we apologize to those customers. Anyone who was affected should connect to iTunes to complete the update or contact AppleCare for help."

Initially when clicking on "update," another error window popped up, saying iTunes would update the iPhone to iOS 9.3.5, the version of Apple's software that came before iOS 10. In my case, the software update through iTunes failed. Eventually, I was able to update to iOS 10 through iTunes. Three hours after I started downloading iOS 10, I finally had it loaded on my iPhone 6S.

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An error with iOS 10 warns some users they may have to reset their phone to factory settings.

James Martin/CNET

One big benefit for users of Apple iOS compared with Google's Android is they're able to update their devices to the latest version of the software each year. But iOS often has bugs when it first hits the market, making it prudent for users to wait a few days before downloading. Before downloading a software update, users should also be sure their iPhones or iPads are backed up to iCloud. If they have to restore the devices, they'll be able to recover all of their photos and other items.

Apple had some big problems with iOS 8 two years ago. A bug prevented its then-new HealthKit feature, which would allow app developers to collect health information, from launching, and developers who made apps for HealthKit couldn't yet launch their software.

Apple sought to fix that problem and others with iOS 8.0.1, released a week after iOS 8. Instead the software prevented iPhone owners from connecting to their cellular networks. iPhone owners also reported issues with Touch ID after downloading the update, with some noting the feature -- which allows people to unlock their phones using their fingerprints -- was no longer working. Apple ended up pulling the iOS 8.0.1 update an hour after releasing it.

First published September 13, 11:31 a.m. PT

Updated at noon PT with Apple's comment and at 1:30 p.m. PT with information the download is working.