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

Netflix sobers up, cancels Qwikster spin-offs

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.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter,, Google+.

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There are 83 comments. Add yours.

The Black Raven says:

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.

Kespann3 says:

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!

Leeroy says:

how did you skip the server check??

Raymond Lawrence says:

Skipped server check?? did you do this or did it do it??

The Black Raven says:

It (i.e. iTunes) skipped the server check when I restored w/ update.

Peter Jones  ✔ says:

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:-(

Some says:

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.

Raymond Lawrence says:

am stuck in restore hell now about 2 hours.....any help would be great!

Cbrueggeman says:

I had the same problem! What I did was delete all the torrent files and that seem to work for me!

Tyson Trogdon says:

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.

Kevin Foster says:

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

Cenix says:

In mean time, follow the golden iCloud. :)

Cbrueggeman says:

It took me from 1pm until 4:45 to finally get it complete!!!

Brandon_bechard11 says:

I downloaded iOS 5 but it is taking forever to install??? HELP

Dan McGoldrick says:

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!

Sherkens says:

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

Brandon_bechard11 says:

Same, mine is taking forever!! ugh

Ivan says:

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

jameslaz says:

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.

chogan4583 says:

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

The Sassy Steph B says:

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

Vince says:

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.

Velvet Jones says:

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.

FritzDaCat says:

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~

pantuso says:

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?

Gateman says:

Updated to ios5 no hitches or glitches yet. Downloaded at 12:15 cst

Mstonmichael says:

getting error 3014 when attempting to update

HungWell says:

Steve would not be happy- "it's all about the user's experience".

sortingitout says:

hungwell..... ah was this a sex site and i didn't notice?

Guest says:

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

gogetter says:

If you are using a Mac, you may be able to resolve an error 3004 by quitting iTunes and using the following command at the command line: dscacheutil -flushcache. Hope this helps. This is given in apple's own site

Duff2481 says:

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.

Rrmariano4 says:

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.

Carioca says:

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??

Andre says:

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.

Anthony Barnard says:

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.

rrmariano says:

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.

Chatnoir80 says:

Glad I got mine right when it became available.

sortingitout says:

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.

Alakija Og says:

This is to be expected, yes? Although it would have been worse if it was all released on Friday.

jean says:

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

Mark says:

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

fastlane says:

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

GreenDize12 says:

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.

Vox says:

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.

Mantip says:

Been at it for 5 hrs and no success. Now it tells me it will take 22 hrs.

Elimin8or23 says:

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!

Jeff Kash says:

The update wiped my phone out. I am having to restore it. Not exactly how I hoped this update would go.

Rob says:

took me about 3 times before i actually got it to update

kmc979 says:

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

NeoDekton says:

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.

MichelleRo says:

Estimated time... 5 hours lol

TKFox007 says:

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.

CristianTM says:

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

TKFox007 says:

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.

prettybigkat says:

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

GreenDize12 says:

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.

Brian01h says:

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.

Alexander Maciel says:

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.

DeLeon Hughes says:

Still going strong. 16 hours remaining! This is the life... Lol. :/

Carl Parker says:

how fustrating, as ive tried for for 8 hours and no luck for my ipad or iphone, i will wait till next week

bilbothejust says:

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!

bilbothejust says:

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.

Janez Hrastovsek says:

"One" at a time. You can't really expect everyone could update simultaneously.

kizito says:

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!

Janez Hrastovsek says:

hahaha :D really laughed at that one :D

ArGiEs says:

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!

PhiPhone says:

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.....

Sarahscott201 says:

Isn't there supposed to be access to the camera directly from the lock screen? I don't see anything

Jennifer says:

you have to double tap the home button and its in the lower right hand corner

johnnyray says:

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.

iGotsit says:

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.

Anthony Langford says:

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.

SpiceRak2 says:

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??

Jojn2 says:

*** 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? ***

Zach Hudson says:

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.

CristianTM says:

Calm down every one. This was the last (but not first) time this happened. Delta updates will help avoid it

CristianTM says:

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.

Halt26 says:

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.

Joewat64 says:

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.

Mmckiwi says:

ios5 = no battery, completely gone from full to empty in 3 hours

Tata says:

aedumghhnaim on December 2, 2007 Accadia z jst a showy carit has no powerits jst waste ofmoneyGmc z g@y alsoit only produce a showy cars wid no real powerlike H3 it hs no accleration power