Apple’s new iOS 6 has generally been a great release (aside from the previously mentioned Maps data problem). With the exception of a few iOS 6 upgrade glitches, it has been a smooth upgrade process. Unless you were running the iOS 6 Beta and you forgot to upgrade to the release version of iOS 6.
For some strange reason, in the late iOS 6 Beta stages, my iPhone reported it’s OS version as iOS 6, the same version as the full release of iOS 6. I had asked my iPhone to check for a Software Update, as well as asking iTunes to check for the release version. Both the iPhone Software Update and the iTunes update check came back saying that the iPhone was up to date.
Most iOS Beta’s are set to expire after a short while and are set to warn the users and developers. Sure enough, my iOS 6 Beta expired on September 30 without warning. It reported that I lost my activation and I needed to reactivate my phone. I tried to activate my iPhone over the air, but the activation failed. This left me completely locked out of my; I could not even check my Contacts or Calendar. I connected my iPhone to iTunes to try reactivate. iTunes informed my that my iOS had expired and that I needed to update.
Using iTunes I tried to check for an update and surprisingly iTunes came back and told me that I was running the latest version of iOS 6. Now, I was stumped and I started to scour the Internet. None of the simple answers came back with anything usable. The only thing that I could think that could work was to restore the iPhone back to the default state. I clicked Restore and the iPhone rejected the Restore.
I figured that I could download the release version of iOS 6 from the Apple Developer site. Unfortunately, I forgot my password and the resets didn’t work. I was starting to worry…
I finally found a link to Apple’s download servers to get the .ipsw file and I used it to restore the iOS. Thirty plus minutes later, my iPhone rebooted and I was started at the initial iPhone screen, except this time iTunes gave me an error that it could not restore the iPhone. This was not good. I figured what did have left to try, except to put my iPhone in DFU mode and try to do a restore. Thirty minutes later, having tried to restore the iPhone four times, I kept receiving the same error message.
It finally dawned on me that my .ipsw file might be causing this restore problem. I found that errant .ipsw file and deleted it. Rebooting the iPhone into DFU mode and doing one final restore, bated breath for the next thirty minutes and one final reboot, I finally saw the Apple symbol and the initial setup screen.
Luckily, I had a solid backup that was less than two days old and I use IMAP for email and iCloud for my Contacts and Calendars. Six hours later, all of my music, movies, and photos were restored.
Lesson learned, manually upgrade your iOS Beta’s ASAP after the release version.