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Major, minor iPhone upgrade problems and how to fix them

Over the weekend, iPhone Atlas readers and users on Apple's discussion forums reported various problems with iPhone OS 3.0 and iPhone 3G S upgrades.

Apple, Inc.

A number of iPhone Atlas readers, and numerous more on Apple's Discussion boards, have reported a bevy of problems--some large, some small--after upgrading to iPhone OS 3.0 or the iPhone 3G S. The following two procedures work to solve a number of the reported problems:

  • Reset your iPhone by holding down the sleep and home buttons until the Apple logo appears.
  • Restore your iPhone: In iTunes, click the Restore button under the Summary tab. Restoring the phone will erase contacts, calendars, photos, and other data on the phone, but will restore automatically backed-up information including text messages, notes, call history, contact favorites, sound settings, widget settings, etc.

However, some issues chronicled below persist:

Visual Voicemail wasn't accessible by many users from their iPhone 3G S after restoring from a previous model's backup. Users are required to reenter their voicemail pins when prompted by the iPhone 3G S. If you've forgotten your pin, you can reset it by taking the following steps:

  • Log onto AT&T myWireless
  • Click on Phone/Device
  • Click on Reset Voicemail Password
  • Press the Submit button

A text message is sent to your phone with a new Visual Voicemail password.

Passwords previously saved for numerous applications were reported lost in the transfer to the iPhone 3G S. Users had to reenter passwords for a number of apps, including (but not necessarily limited to) AIM, LogMeIn, Loopt, MySpace, Palringo, Sirius XM, Tweetie, and Wallet. (Wallet's database had to be recovered from MobileMe). The password recovery problem is likely attributable to the hardware change from a previous iPhone to the iPhone 3G S.)

Compass has to be reset periodically when it struggles with interference, which happens often enough that iPhone 3G S users are complaining about it. Apple offers some information about calibrating Compass on its Web site, as well as in a support document, iPhone 3G S: Re-calibrate Compass. These explain that the recalibration isn't always necessary; sometimes you need to just ignore the recalibration messages while Compass self adjusts.

Compass calibration message David Martin

The iPhone 3G S' Oleophobic screen coating is rumored to be incompatible with screen protectors, so we called several Apple stores to investigate and were told this isn't true. The sales associate said that we could come into any Apple store and purchase a screen protector for the iPhone 3G S. Protectors for the 3G should also work on the 3G S.

Duplicate Contacts are being reported by a number of users on Apple's discussion boards. We stumbled upon a nice explanation for and solution to this problem in this article: "About duplicate contacts and calendars on iPhone [OS] 3.0," via Mac OS X Hints.

Find My iPhone remembers all your devices, including the old iPhone that you just turned off when you upgraded to a new handset last weekend. MobileMe does not appear to support a mechanism that will allow you to remove the tracking of an iPhone or iPod Touch from Find My iPhone. We contacted Apple through MobileMe support via online chat and asked about this.

According to Apple tech support, removing a device from the list involves sending the device a Remote Wipe command. MobileMe will then attempt to send this command for up to two hours and if unable to contact the selected device, it is deleted from Find My iPhone. This information is contrary to the Apple support document, "MobileMe, iPhone OS 3.0: Troubleshooting Find My iPhone and Remote Wipe" which states:

Previously-owned iPhone/iPod Touch appears at me.com/account
If your iPhone/iPod Touch was configured with your MobileMe account, it may still appear when you log in to www.me.com/account, even if you no longer possess the iPhone/iPod Touch. Currently, a device is removed from your account page list only after it is successfully wiped. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

Note: we think the last sentence points out that Apple is aware of this bug in Locate My iPhone and will announce a fix later. Following the advice given in the online chat wasn't successful. Nearly 12 hours later, the old iPhone 3G status is still pending a remote wipe in our test. We hope Apple will release a fix for this through the MobileMe Web site.

Wi-Fi connectivity and signal strength complaints have also cropped up after the iPhone OS 3.0 update: some users complain that their phones drop them from Wi-Fi unexpectedly, others that they can't connect at all. Some users have been able to resolve their connectivity problems by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings, while others complained that this simple fix does not work. In the latter case, a restore might be necessary.

Settings > General > Reset David Martin

Troubleshooting tips

Force Quit has changed in iPhone OS 3.0 for the iPhone 3G S but remains the same for older iPhones that do not support Voice Control. In order to force quit an application, you must:

  • iPhone 2G/3G: Press and hold the Home button for a few seconds until the app quits. (Valid for iPhone OS 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.)
  • iPhone 3G S: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the "Slide to power off" screen appears, then press and hold the Home button until the app quits (usually within 6 seconds).

Apple has recently updated the following support documents that might also be useful if you encounter problems with your iPhone:

Some users also might consider following the Apple iPhone Troubleshooting Assistant before calling AppleCare or visiting the local Genius Bar.

Tell us about your iPhone OS 3.0 or iPhone 3G S upgrade problems in the comments.