Apple releases a new iOS 9.3 build for older devices affected by the bricking issue

By , Mar 25, 2016

activate iPhone

As we reported, numerous users took to Apple’s support forums to complain that some owners of older iPhone and iPad devices saw their hardware bricked after updating to the recently released iOS 9.3 firmware. Apple has since detailed the problem in a support document on its website and pulled the software update for select devices.

Today, the company has re-released iOS 9.3 for those devices. The new build of iOS 9.3 for the iPad 2 has version number “13E236” versus the now defunct iOS 9.3 build “13E234” for the iPhone and “13E233” for the iPad, as per 9to5Mac’s Chance Miller.

If your device has been bricked by the previous iOS 9.3 build, connect it to iTunes via the included USB cable and the app should put up a prompt offering to install the new version.

Going to Settings → General → Software Update on an unaffected device won’t show the new build of iOS 9.3. The new build has been released without incrementing the version number and simply removes an authentication step.

After updating to iOS 9.3 on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, a small subset of users reported being stuck on the Activation Lock screen. Typically, entering an Apple ID and password would activate the device, but some folks were unable to move forward.

In a statement given to iMore yesterday, an Apple spokesperson said the company was pausing the iOS 9.3 software update for the affected devices until it developed a fix.

“Updating some iOS devices (iPhone 5s and earlier and iPad Air and earlier) to iOS 9.3 can require entering the Apple ID and password used to set up the device in order to complete the software update,” Apple acknowledged.

“In some cases, if customers do not recall their password, their device will remain in an inactivated state until they can recover or reset their password. For these older devices, we have temporarily pulled back the update and will release an updated version of iOS 9.3 in the next few days that does not require this step.”

The important thing is, Apple’s moved swiftly to rectify the situation so owners of the iPad 2, iPhone 5s, iPad Air and earlier devices can now enjoy iOS 9.3. If anything, this case is another cautionary tale which underscores the importance of rigorous testing.

Source: Computerworld

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  • Jonathan Collins

    Were susceptible devices only affected with OTA updates and standard updates? I restored and updated without issue on an iPad Air.

  • Bobdole

    “If anything, this case is another cautionary tale which underscores the importance of rigorous testing.”

    Correct me if i am wrong, what does it have to do with rigorous testing ?
    From what i understood, this issue is just about people forgetting their icloud passwords… isn’t it ?

    • KOZY_Gremlin_Gang

      If they would’ve tested it on older devices they would’ve seen that it bricked them

      • Bobdole

        But did it brick them ?

        “In some cases, if customers do not recall their password, their device will remain in an inactivated state until they can recover or reset their password […]”

        apparently they are just asking for the icloud password… and people can’t remember it… if it s just that… it not bricking…

      • Pablo

        I thought you can enter the apple ID later and skip that step. Maybe they couldn’t, and yes it is because apple didn’t test in older devices (maybe they don’t care because they want to slow down those devices, programmed obsolescence). If it wasn’t an apple issue, then apple shouldn’t need to upload another build.

      • Bobdole

        I m pretty sure that, while not knowing exactly what is happening, you can’t conclude that, it is about testing…

        You are just guessing at this point… and from what i understand, from most news site, they are just guessing too…

        Anyways, i was just wondering, what all the fuss was about… and clearly there are not that many people that know what is going on… just quotes… a lot of quotes and guessing…

      • Cat

        People are remembering their current password, but the problem was that it was asking for the original password used to set up the device when they first bought it. I have changed my password so many times since then. Who knows what it was in March of 2013 when I bought my iPad 3.

      • Bobdole

        Ok, i understand now! thanks!

      • 5723alex .

        What exactly is an older device ? My iPad Mini 1 ran all iOS 9 beta versions and updated to iOS 9.3 final without a hitch. Is the device old enough ?

  • andy

    Wait is this available on OTA or i have to do this on Itunes?
    Because i had an issue where i wanted to download ios 9.3 through itunes but itunes was acting weird telling me my device is up to date on ios 9.2.1…which is negative so?

    • xoFoxtail

      They made a mistake. This new 9.3 is only available on the iPad 2 right now.

      • andy

        Ah ok, so do i have to wait then until they release a new version of ios 9.3 fixed for iphones?
        or should i just download ios 9.3 on this website and go ahead and install it??

      • andy

        Yeah even when i go to “software update” on my iphone 5s through settings it says “software is up to date on ios 9.2.1” so i was like haha yeah right thats not right…..

  • Douglas L. Warren

    Geez…. Beta 9.3 went to what….release 8? How much more testing do you want them to do? As an app developer trust me you can’t find all bugs, no matter how much testing is done until its put out to the real world. Sucks that it was such a harsh one tho.

    • Blip dude

      Is this really a bug though?? It’s just asking for an iCloud password. 9.2 asked me to do the same as well, and after entering my iCloud password I was able to proceed.

  • xoFoxtail

    This new 9.3 is only available on iPad 2 right now. Still waiting for it for my iPhone 5.

    • Blip dude

      Did you check through iTunes??

      • xoFoxtail

        Yes. 9.2.1 is still the latest version. You can still install 9.3 beta 7 though – I just did that.

        Edit: I saw that other people are saying you can update to 9.3 in iTunes now. That wasn’t available to me when I started downloading the beta, might be there now though, I’m not near my computer.

      • Blip dude

        One other thing you can do is check ipsw .me — and see if the actual correct firmware is available to download from there. iTunes kept telling me that 9.2.1 is the latest as well so I just simply downloaded the 9.3 ipsw from there.

      • xoFoxtail

        Ah I wish I knew about this site before. I was trying to get on to imdzl, but didn’t realize they shut down. Oh well, I can live on the beta for a couple days until Apple re-releases 9.3. I just needed it on there to restore a backup and use my Apple Watch with.

      • andy

        Same here, i might as well download it from here too haha

      • andy

        Same here, yesterday i bloody wasted 2 hours trying to figure out way but finally i found the issue that apple pulled the software out 🙁

        So imma wait for couple of days then download through itunes. I cant wait to use ios 9.3 its actually better than ios 9.2.1!!!

  • Elias Chao

    The OTA update is not showing on an iPhone 5, but iTunes let me update. Is it safe to update via iTunes at this point?

    • Bradley Hines

      From what I know it is safe to update it through iTunes.

  • teris

    Still on ios 8.4. No regret !!!
    I wonder why Apple doesn’t make a new ios for older devices ??? Where is the problem ? Don’t you care about your customers ?

  • Fede777

    I already have iOS 9.3 on my 5S and had no problems at all with it. It was 292MB to download OTA.

    Now if I go to Software Updates there’s another 9.3 update but this time is 1.4GB OTA.

    Should I update again? Wait for 9.3.1?