Thursday, January 03, 2013

A lesson for us all

There was a moment of panic when Pam’s iPad started cycling on and off yesterday. I thought at first it was because the battery was low but then the iPad gives you a warning when it needs recharging and with 18% still remaining that wasn’t going to be the case.

After powering on and off a few times, the screen eventually tunrned blue and so nearly did the air in the room! On a PC, a blue screen is called “the screen of death” because it signals a catastrophic failure of the operating system. I suspected that this was something similar with iOS. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t a hardware failure which would have meant returning the tablet to Apple for a warranty claim.

A quick search on the Apple forums revealed that the solution might be to reset the machine by holding down the “home” and “power” keys at the same time. That did bring the tablet back to life but after a few tries it showed that it needed to be tethered to a computer running iTunes because it had now gone into recovery mode. Once the tablet was connected to my laptop, iTunes started to download a fresh copy of the operating system and the firmware for the tablet which it then proceeded to install.

Now we had the tablet back to life it was time to see what remained of all the information stored on it. All the bookmarks seemed to be there but email settings etc had gone and so had all the aps. that Pam uses. A fair result but far from ideal.

Luckily, I back up Pam’s tablet to Apple’s iCloud and the latest copy was dated 28th December*. It was a relatively simple task to return the iPad to the state when she first bought it and download all the settings etc from the Cloud. Voila, a fully functioning iPad fully restored. The only thing that seemed to be missing were some emails which I had sent from my own computer so this morning I have resent them. Hopefully now, Pam’s iPad is now back almost to the point when the crash occurred.

There is a lesson here for all of us all. As good as computers, tablets and smart phones are, they are not invulnerable. As the manufacturers seek to add more features, so they increase the possibility of things going wrong. It therefore pays to ensure that you have regular backups of at least the important stuff stored on some other media because you never know when something will go wrong and you will lose the lot. 

* NB I could have backed it up to iTunes on my computer instead with the same result.

UPDATE Spoke too soon, within minutes of using the iPad this morning, it crashed again so it looks like it will have to be returned under warranty for a replacement.

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