iOS 5 bricked my iPhone 4 – recovery mode nightmare

By Updated on

When we suggested that you should wait a day or so for iOS 5 just in case there were niggling issues we received a lot of hate in the comments section of our article, however we are now hearing lots of reports of iOS 5 problems – especially for iPhone 4 users.

If you check out this Apple Discussions thread you will see that there have been over 170 replies to an issue titled “iOS 5 Upgrade Bricked My iPhone 4 (Stuck in Recovery Mode)” – this suggests that the problem is quite widespread, however exactly how this occurred is still unclear.

One user suggests that he ignored a message which read “An internal error occurred”, he then tried to run the update and his iPhone 4 became stuck in recovered mode, other similar reports suggest that the upgrade resulted in a 3004 error, the good news is that we have a potential fix thanks to someone going by the alias of ICHIBOI, here’s the fix:


I have successfully updated my iPhone to IOS 5.
Be sure you have iTunes 10.5 installed
Launch iTunes 10.5 and then…
Mac users: hold down the OPTION key then click on “Restore”, locate the aforementioned IPSW file
Windows users: hold down the SHIFT key and then click on “Restore”, point iTunes to the downloaded IPSW file.
Firmware files have an .ipsw extension and can be found at the following locations:
On Windows XP :
Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates

On Windows Vista/Windows 7:
Users\\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates

On Mac:
~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates

There are so many varying problems currently affecting people, so don’t be surprised if the above fix doesn’t work for you, instead have a read through the Apple Discussions thread and see what led other iPhone 4 users to a successful upgrade. Here’s some more tips from other people:

Jack L writes:
1) Turn the phone off and on again
2) Reconnect to iTunes
3) Update and restore

wookey 8 writes:
“disconnect phone from comp. Hold down power and home button until phone blinks black. Plug back into comp with buttons remaining pressed down…until USB screen appears on phone. Then iTunes recognizes phone and asks to restore – click restore.

We hope this brief article helps you resolve any issues you encounter, feel free to leave us a comment below with any problems / fixes you have found.

Also See: iOS 9 built-in apps to include Beats Music

  • Ohno

    IOS5 just bricked my 3GS.  I am restoring but it says it will only be contacts, texts and settings. If I lose my apps, I am going to be very mad.  Thanks Crapple….

  • Goldendomejay

    First of all, quick rant about the download pause and resume in iTunes.  Dont you mean STOP and RESTART FROM THE BEGINNING?  Really?  havent figured that one out apple?  Redownloading 777MB 3 times was more than annoying.

    I tried updating my iPhone4 3 times and received that oh-so-helpful message “An unknown error occurred”.  Tried putting it in DFU mode. Twice.  Same error.  Restarted my phone and tried the regular update again, and it worked.  Huh?  Anyways, i guess you just have to keep randoming trying things until it works.  Anything to have to keep from visiting the “Genius” bar for 2 hours.

  • Olli 4

    If apple only would have a large amount of mirrors for the software, and had the checking with apple thing (digital signing) spread over different servers worldwide … Or maybe if the digital signature was to be done locally with the iTunes app instead of over the net. If only it had resumable download, instead of bottlenecking servers because of redownload attempts….

    if only the restoring would be flawless, and would ask you to restore at all… If only a stalled restore in the morning wasn’t just conitnued without asking me as I plugged my phone in the Mac.

    I would have had a great day!

    The experience of the IOS5 upgrade smells of NOKIA nightmares I used to have… The idea of things ‘just’ working is a dream, it’s no reality. 

    in the end technology will undermine it’s own purposes: one cannot rely on quickly developed progress…
    if even Apple is failing this hard in the last years, I just wish for the bggest recession ever, and we’ll all be looking back in awe at the crazy folks we were turning ourselves into. In the meantime people are starving on this planet, wars are going on… this is ridiculous to have such a luxurious problem as trying to happily upgrade our idevices to a new IOS.

    Take it easy folks! this can take a lot of your time you would otherwise waste in front of a tv, or whatever else…

  • Olli 4

    If apple only would have a large amount of mirrors for the software, and had the checking with apple thing (digital signing) spread over different servers worldwide … Or maybe if the digital signature was to be done locally with the iTunes app instead of over the net. If only it had resumable download, instead of bottlenecking servers because of redownload attempts….

    if only the restoring would be flawless, and would ask you to restore at all… If only a stalled restore in the morning wasn’t just conitnued without asking me as I plugged my phone in the Mac.

    I would have had a great day! I namely lost valuable photos (read document copies) and anything else I did today, as my phone was gonna restore. My God, restore? I was just plugging it in to have the battery charged, I was gonna do the restore some other time…

    The experience of the IOS5 upgrade smells of NOKIA nightmares I used to have… The idea of things ‘just’ working is a dream, it’s no reality. 

    In the end technology will undermine it’s own purposes: one cannot rely on quickly developed progress… (don’t forget the technological revolution we’re still in)

    If even Apple is failing this hard in the last years, I just wish for the biggest recession ever to come. Then we’ll all be looking back in awe at the crazy folks we were turning ourselves into. In the meantime people are starving on this planet, wars are going on… this is ridiculous to have such a luxurious problem as trying to happily upgrade our idevices to a new IOS.

    Take it easy folks! this can take a lot of your time you might otherwise want to waste in front of a tv, or whatever else…

  • Mansoor

    I did read some comments about the iOS 5 slow installation but still i wanted to go for the update. I thought, Its fine if it took me long but it became a shocking news that after 23 mins it restarted and said, ” an unknown error occurred (2002)”

    I can’t even restore it now. I don’t really know what else I can do to restore it???

  • qrtsee

    bought a iPhone 4s yesterday. tried to restore from old phones image last night. iTunes tried to upgrade to os5 and I figured ok apple should be ok. I now have a $300 brick. took back to att and they said sorry its apple fault. had to drive 1 1/2 hours to get to a apple store. hmmm 330 for the phone 20 in gas at least 5 hours of my life. Thanks apple for leaving a laptop on your store table for me to comment on. 
    apple@qrtsee.com

  • qrtsee

    well apple store said that they will unblock it or get me a new one. which i guess is ok. we’ll see what they come up with.

  • qrtsee

    apple store was able to unbrick phone said that problem was either the OS5 version i have on my computer is bad or the apple mobile support is corrupt. hmmm, maybe there should be better error checking in iTunes.