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iPhone restored… stability restored.

See the image below?  Yeah… it’s clipped from iTunes.  And see that big ol’ button marked “Restore”?  It’s your weapon of last resort when your iPhone becomes too flaky to use.


By middle of last week, my iPhone was crashing virtually every time I opened the Safari browser, either from within another iPhone application, or directly.  So I reached for the life preserver, and punched the restore button.

Restore is a pretty crude feature.  It flashes the phone with the latest build of the iPhone software, then painstakingly copies all of your music, files, applications, settings and other gobbledygook onto the phone again.  In my case, I started the process and then went to bed.  By the next morning it was done.    Heaven knows why, but “Restore” restored the stability of my iPhone, and it’s now working again… fingers crossed.

Restore is the equivalent of wiping your hard disk and rebuilding your PC.   I know of no other cellular phone manufacturer that makes it as easy as Apple does to wipe and rebuild the phone.  Clearly, iPhone OS is a fragile OS, and Apple knows it, else why make the restore feature so prominent?

Here’s what has me really mystified, though.  The world is critical of Microsoft over the stability of their products.  When Apple ships a device plagued with similar faults, they get a bye.  How is it that Apple has us all so bamboozled?  How have they managed to so neatly tie Microsoft in knots with what amounts to blatant propaganda? How have they managed to control the conversation around iPhone, confining it to adoring commentary and adulation focused on innovation, rather than the faults of the device? By any measure it’s a remarkable achievement.

I love my iPhone, warts and all.  And I’m impressed as I can possibly be at Apple’s remarkable marketing machine.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Craik Pyke October 26, 2008, 6:54 pm

    While I'm largely skirting the main point of your posting, I'd suspect the instability you're seeing is due to a resource leak in an application (from Apple or 3rd party) you have or had installed. I'd suggest, if you have the problem again, that you install apps in groups over a period if time so to see which group starts to cause substantial instability. Then you can work by elimination within the group.

  • Adam Somer October 26, 2008, 10:27 pm

    A few weeks ago I had the same (or a similar problem). I was on the road and was incredibly annoyed. Sitting in an outdoor cafe, having a post-meeting-meeting, connected to the Internet via EVDO and with a dying battery on my laptop….I pulled it off without anyone in the meeting realizing what I was doing. As annoyed as I was that the iPhone had crapped out on me, I was amazed that it was that painless to fix.

  • Alec October 27, 2008, 5:49 am

    Craik, I thought the same before I pulled the restore. It is true that a reboot of the phone would temporarily fix my issues but they always came back. However, I have the identical applications installed now, and haven’t see the problem since running restore.

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