Apple's servers hammered, iOS, other updates causing frustration

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Apple's servers seem to be buckling under the ridiculous load of iOS and Mac users trying to download the massive amount updates released today -- iOS 5, Cards, Find my Friends, Movie Trailers, AirPort Utility, iWork for iOS, Mac OS X 7.2, iPhoto, Aperture, iCloud for Windows, and the on, and on.

Readers are letting us know they're getting download times stretching towards the seemingly infinite, "internal errors" destroying their download hopes and dreams, and various other things that make them want to pull their hair out and dance whatever's the opposite of a snoopy dance. Worst are users trapped in some Schrodinger's paradox -- neither updated nor not, stuck in DFU or Restore mode hell.

It sucks. Literally. All the bandwidth out of the CDNs, the data centers, and likely the net itself. All we can say for now is take a break, catch you breadth, let the servers cool down a little and try again later. That or we can all pull over, get out, and offer to help them push?

Let us know how your updates are going, and if anything has helped, drop it in the comments below or jump over to our iOS 5 Forums and help us trouble shoot.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple's servers hammered, iOS, other updates causing frustration


Downloaded iOS5, got 3200 error & kicked to DFU mode. Restored & Updated. Skipped server check (apparently), installed iOS5, currently syncing. All is good in the world.

Same here, after a few restore error messages, I took a moment then tried again, finally, it's up and running and what a beauty!

I did the same for iPhone... But on 3/4 hour download for iPad still have my wife's iPhone and my apple TV is saying 8 hours! So going to bed and have a look at it in the morning:-(

Maybe it would be wise not to dump everything out at the same moment. But given that iCloud is weaved into everything it might have been their only option.

Yeah, my iPhone 4 was happily updating when iTunes decided an error 3014 would be better. Left the phone in DFU mode. I had to do a complete restore from new, and what do ya know - that successfully installed iOS 5. Figures.

Internal error 3200, it allows me to just unplug my iPhone, with all data still on there. Will continue to try. I love Apple, but they should have allotted more servers for this, it is obvious a multitude of people will be downloading these updates. Bad logistics on their part

I downloaded the iOS 5 update separately direct from Apple early this afternoon to do the restore later as a clean restore. Jailbreaking has taught me to do clean restores for any upgrade of significance. DFU mode restore then re install whatever apps I had and resetup my phone from scratch. Takes a little longer, but I know nothing is screwed that way and it gives me a chance to pare down the app bloat I always seem to get!

downloaded iOS 5 to my laptop and now going through the forced back up and is moving at a snails pace. this is ridiculous

i Had no problem updating my iPad, but the iMessages still doesn't work and my iTunes library is without cd's art. I'll try maybe very late at night

I guess I was lucky, I updated iTunes and then my iPhone 4 and had no problems, and in fact it seemed fast to me. I hope everyone gets there downloads and updates. Good luck to us all.

I agree! I updated my iPhone 4 and iPad with no problem. iOS 5 install on my phone was quicker than other minor upgrades over the past few months

So.. my connection to the servers keep dropping. lol... it keeps starting over and each time with a longer download time. walks towards cliff.. jumps off

Why didn't they put the file on the cloud servers, since they said it was so special, and u can access it anytime. Servers shouldn't be this way if the boasted their updated network capabilities.

I updated my iPhone 4 about thirty mins ago and my iPad 2 prior to that. My iPad 2 had the whole couldn't restore error and my iPhone 4 did the same thing. I decided to do the update for my MacBook Pro and now Safari doesn't wanna work right.

With all due respect, my friends, why don't you just WAIT a couple of days to do the update? It's like sticking your hand in a pot of hot water to get a boiled egg and then blaming the stove for getting burned. Flame on~

In the past that has been true, going forward our i devices are supposed to magically sync with the cloud, including the next time they push an iOS update. Then what will happen?

This has happened with EVERY iOS update. Save the "this wouldn't have happened if Steve were around" implications.

It is telling me 14hrs wait time for less than 700mb. Apple, I realize you are getting hammered, but I expected better than this. Never before have I had this kind of wait time for download on your major updates.

Easy set up. I updated my Mac, then my phone. Finally iCloud. I tried syncing mobile me 3 different times. And finally on the third time it went through and synced.

This is ridiculous. Microsoft updates hundreds of millions of computers every second Tuesday of the month without a hitch, Apple cannot do it once a year?
I have downloaded iOS 5, why do I still have to connect to Apple servers to upgrade??

You kind of answered your own question. Microsoft does it every week. Apple does it once a year.
If Apple only does a HUGE update ONCE a year, of course there are going to be problems. Unlike, Microsoft updates that half of the Microsoft users ignore (due to their overabundance), EVERYONE with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac is trying to get all of these updates at once. No one's ignoring it.

Microsoft does it every month, but they don't add features, and they do spread the updates out (by server, not time) so there's that. Plus, Apple has to make it so that your phone queries their server so that they know that your phone isn't using a modified update, or an update that isn't approved anymore. Microsoft doesn't have this problem. They can send an MD5 hash to check the file. Windows is (almost) freely modifyable. A few things are locked, but you can add functionality and apps as you wish on their systems. It's totally different. Not to mention the fact that the amounts of iOS devices in use at any one time is growing, and Apple may not be scaling their Hardware/Software for approving Updates/Restores properly.

my installation was easy. It took an hour but went well. I just updated my Mac, then my iPhone, and then iCloud. However the only problem I had was syncing my mobileMe with iCloud. I tried 5 different times in a 10 minute period. I got lucky and on the 10th try it went through. I'm loving iOS5. I have the iPhone 4 and it feels like a whole new phone.

No problem here in Brooklyn. I have 4 other friends in the area that have had no problem either. lion update - check, iTunes update - check, iPhoto update - check, iOS 5 for iPhone update - check, then I realized there is a update for Apple TV - check. I am not sure but I wonder if having Boost on my internet subscription through my local cable provider facilitated the process. The downloads never stalled out.

my iphone is stuck in restore mode. Keep getting error every time i try to restore. Phone will not go past "connect to itunes" i need my phone back! someone help

The blame for this rests entirely on apple who should have prepared for this kind of traffic.

Everything went smoothly for me with updating. Only thing is my Mac's iCal entries don't go to iCloud, while my iPhone Calendar entries do. I've done manual syncs, turned them on and off, restarted, and everything I can think of. Funny thing is that Reminders from iCal do get pushed to the iPhone app.
Mac OS X 10.7.2 and iPhone 4

I can wait, I'm still debating if I should update my iPad 2 and kill the Jailbreak. My iPhone 3GS is being sold Jailbroken on 4.2.1 and my iPhone 4S is self explanatory. But my question is, why on earth would they try to push all this out there all at once?? I thought iPhone OS 2.0 was a lesson learned.

My ipad2 got updated on first try at noon CST. My iPhone worked on the 3rd attempt at 630pm CST....not bad at all for a mega-updates day.

It seems if you restore and try to set up as new, the verification stage gets skipped and the iOS update goes through more often. That is if the iOS download completes!

i was at work all day and the security there didn't allow me to connect to itunes to download. Just got home and it is telling me 11 hours to download! WTH?!! I have to leave in 9 hours to go back to work?! epic fail apple, epic fail

Total update time for a 4th Gen iTouch was, including 2 "download errors", just under 4 hours. Pretty sure it was just as long for iOS 4. Download timeouts with 2 minutes remaining were the most frustrating of all.

Here's what Apple did wrong: They decided to green light the OS all over the world at 10am Cupertino time, opening the bandwidth floodgates, causing server overloads and crashes.
Here's what they should of done: Set up automatic timers for each time zone to green light it at each time zone's 12am. Then the people who were anxiously waiting for it would download it and go to sleep, letting the iPhone update on its own. And then it rolls out from time zone to time zone, therefore causing less strain on the servers. You'd think that's what they would of done, it's common sense.

Yeah, sure. And then every one would flood proxys, unsafe files from P2P and bittorent, vê frustated because people on europe are enjoying ios5 and US not, and so on

The official iOS 5 was leaked on Friday on Lifehacker so it's already been on bittorent and P2P sites. I don't that many people would flood proxies though, even if they did it would still be a small number and the sever strain would be insignificant to the storm that Apple created themselves.

I have a 3gs and the ios5 update is a nightmare. I have done multiple restores and am still having tons of problems. This is incredibly frustrating

Also, consider clicking on "Download Only" first and then update manually afterwards. I've had bad experiences When Clicking "Download and Update" so that may also be an issue to some.

This is ridiculous. I've gotten 1/3 of the way 3 times and then my connection (download) timed out. Each one took at least 2 hours to fail. Apple's plan to release iOS 5 to the whole world is horrible. You'd think they'd be smarter than that. I'm giving up and will try tomorrow.

I got the 'Internal error' thing! i had to restore my phone and then download the iOS again. but it took a few dozen times before i came to that conclusion.

Did mine this morning at 10am PDT and it went like clockwork. Did my wife's at 6pm PDT and it was ugly...several 'try again later' msgs, but then we made it through by 7pm. Love the new iOS!

oh yeah, forgot...did my iPad 2 right after the iPhone and it went great as well...had to remember to xfr purchases before doing it though.

While I was able to do it on first try, my iPad did take 2+ hours! I'm just happy my new 4S will come preloaded on Friday!

On iPod touch 4th gen, North-central Florida at 11:15pm: download going smoothly & fairly quickly - so far. About 2/3 through...hold on, Apple servers!

First three attempts, iTunes tells me at least six hours. Halfway through the download, I get an error saying "connection to server timed out".
On attempt number four now.....

finally got mine about an hour ago. I'm a little disappointed that I still don't seem to be able to delete a picture that's not in the camera roll without syncing. But I finally got custom sms tones, that makes the biggest difference to me.

wow...guess I got lucky. My upgrade for my iphone 4 and ipad 1 took about 1 hour each for the 288kbps or less. Speeds out here suck the big one. Restore took almost just as long and now I'm waiting, waiting, and waiting for the huge OS X updates to finish downloading so I can sync icloud.

Here's the thing, IMO. No matter what Apple did or how they did it, it would be 'wrong'. Server overload is to be expected as are delays. There's no way Apple could accommodate everyone trying to do it all at once. Things like this are never perfect no matter how much we might think they should be. But it'll work out, even if you have to gasp wait a few hours or even a day. As for me, both my IPad and IPhone are updated. It was a tad bit frustrating after some error messages, and I screwed up on the IPad restore and had to do it twice, but it's done.

Frustration here. It seems I am unable to create mailbox folders for any POP accts. iCloud works but POP gets no love. Did I miss something??

*** So i download the ios5 separate and when i go to update it wipes the whole phone and gives me an error when trying to connect to itunes.
What do I do? ***

I haven't had many issues, a small one trying to get my MobileMe email transferred to iCloud that I am still dealing with, but iOS is installed and OS X Lion is downloading nicely now.

Please calm down everybody!
This was not the first time that happened, but it was probably the last! Delta updates will solve that, the updates will be much smaller to begin with, and iDevices will already be activated, the validation should be quicker.

Ridiculous!!!! The upgrade took almost three hours to download, then it would not restore my old apps OR load the new OS. Had to re-install ITunes to get the friggin thing to work. Nearly six hours after
i started I finally have a working IPad, but with none of my programs or data. This sucks. My first and last Apple product.

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. The update doesn't have Siri so it's not really that big of a deal.

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