Tag Archive for ‘iphone keeps rebooting’

iPhone crashed, keeps trying to reboot

Four days old and my iPhone has crashed and won’t come back to life. It does not turn on when unplugged from USB cable or power adapter. When plugged into either of those, it starts up with the Apple logo for a few seconds, then goes black for a few seconds, then comes back to the Apple logo again, repeating the same thing all over and caught in an endless reboot/restart loop.

I tried restarting the iPhone by holding both the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons, as described in Apple’s iPhone help – but that’s simply meant to restart a stuck iPhone. Because the iPhone is caught in an endless loop iTunes does not recognize it, which means it cannot be restored.

I assumed there has to be some way to force the iPhone into recovery mode, so on a whim I held the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons through two of the restart cycles (about fifteen seconds) and got a yellow alert icon that instructed:

Please Connect to iTunes.iTunes found the iPhone and stated: iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes.

iTunes then downloaded a software update. I clicked the Restore button and iTunes presented a warning message: Are you sure you want to restore the iPhone “iPhone” to its factory settings? All of your songs and other data will be erased, and the newest version of the iPhone software will be installed.

I clicked the Restore and Update button and iTunes popped up the message: Preparing iPhone for restore…

The iPhone then got caught in the endless restart loop again, trying over and over, until finally iTunes gave up after about two minutes and gave me the message: The iPhone “iPhone” could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (1603).

I’ll be going to the AT&T store where I purchased the iPhone with the hope that they’ll simply replace it with a new one, though whether they even have a replacement in stock remains to be seen.Stay tuned for updates.

Update (3:36 pm): I called the AT&T store where I bought the iPhone and the very helpful manager, Jason, said customers with bum iPhones must contact Apple for support. I contacted Apple by way of a public relations contact and was told someone would call me to take care of the unwell iPhone. While awaiting the call from Apple I decided to drive over to the Apple Store in Atlantic City to see if they could help more immediately.

As it turned out the Apple support person who called was going to have me do exactly that, go to the Apple Store, to meet with Sean, the very friendly and pro manager on staff.

Nate patched Sean in on our call and he was on the phone with us as I walked into the Apple store. We hung up on Nate and took care of the phone.Sean grabbed a new, unopened iPhone from the back, same as my defective 8 GB model, and then turned me over to two guys named Chris who were working the Genius Bar.

Transferring my phone account from one device to another took a couple of minutes. Out of curiosity I asked if we could see if we could get the defective iPhone to show up on a Mac (since I was using it on a Vista PC when all of this started) so we could restore it. Not because I wanted the phone back, but rather because I wanted to know for sure that my personal data would be erased and not viewable by others, whether at the Apple store or by the service persons at wherever the iPhone would wind up.

We tried to restore it, but no luck. As earlier, the device kept cycling through the Apple logo in an attempt to restart, over and over. One of the Chris guys said he couldn’t get it into recovery mode, and so I showed him that you have to hold the Wake/Sleep and Home buttons for more than a few seconds until it cycles at least once, and I think twice, before it then puts up that alert triangle icon and tells you to connect to iTunes (see above).

As such, we chose the recovery option from iTunes running on a MacBook, it appeared to be doing something, then the iPhone shut off and iTunes reported the same error as earlier on the Vista PC: The iPhone “iPhone” could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (1603). Chris was about to open the new iPhone box to move my SIM from the defective phone to the new one, but I said I’d already done that. (Before leaving I popped it into my the excellent Nokia 6682 that the iPhone was replacing, and yes, your iPhone-activated AT&T SIM does pop out and work on another AT&T/Cingular phone or, in my case, an unlocked phone.) So I left the store feeling reassured that a brand new iPhone was replacing the defective one – but not very reassured that my data on the iPhone I was leaving behind (contacts, calendar, notes, Safari bookmarks and email) was gone. Had the iPhone died totally and wiped whatever was in memory? Or would Apple’s service team wipe it out, as part of a company policy? I don’t know the answer to that latter question, but I will find out soon after Apple’s PR department gets back to me.

I also asked what do customers who are not in range of an Apple Store do. I guess with any data device there’s a risk of personal information being at risk when said device needs to be sent in for repair. And like other SIM-based phones, the owner must part with the device if it needs repairs, but can generally use the SIM on a replacement phone.

Will Apple offer a replacement phone in the repair process? The AT&T store manager Jason said it isn’t AT&T’s policy to offer customers a temporary replacement phone when a phone is being repaired.Meanwhile, I popped my SIM card out of the Nokia and into the iPhone. It said to connect to iTunes to activate. I plugged the iPhone into the dock, let iTunes find it, and about a minute later it was activated without any additional input from me. iTunes synced all of my data from the automatic backup iTunes made this morning, before the first iPhone failed.Stay tuned for additional updates.

Update (4:43 pm): Just got off the phone with an Apple PR contact. She sent me a link to Apple’s iPhone Service: Frequently Asked Questions which pretty much answered all of my questions. So, if you’re in the first 30 days you can walk into an Apple store and get a replacement if your iPhone is considered “DOA” like mine was. After 30 days you go through the service-by-mail option, by which you’ll ship your iPhone to Apple (minus your SIM) for service, and they’ll ship it back to you when it’s fixed. You have the option of renting a replacement iPhone for $29 while yours is being repaired.

As for AT&T, a spokeswoman for the company said an iPhone you’re unhappy with can be returned for a refund (minus a 10% restocking fee) within 14 days of purchase, but replacing or repairing a defective phone must be taken up with Apple.

In sum: I was lucky the Apple Store had a replacement 8 GB iPhone in stock to swap for my defective one. I was unlucky, however, on my way out of Caesars Casino on my way back to the parking garage. I slipped a $10 bill into one of the nickel slots, pressed the first button I saw (labeled 8X), watched the digital reels spin and come to a stop, and wound up with “Game Over” with nothing more to go on with or about – which is an apt conclusion for this story, as well. (Or so I hope.)

Thanks to all who took my calls and to those who dealt with me in person, and have a great July 4th holiday.

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