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iPhone 3.0 Update – “Slide For Emergency”

Posted in Computers by Joe Colburn on the June 17th, 2009

Like probably 10 million others, I updated my iPhone today to the new 3.0 software. The download and process was pretty fast, but getting my phone back to life still hasn’t happened yet.

The symptoms
– Your iPhone displays “slide for emergency” message and only allows emergency phone calls.
– Your phone no longer drops down for options in iTunes
– You see the following error when you connect the phone:

iPhone 3.0 upgrade error

The cause
It would appear that the iTunes store is just overloaded. I’m only speculating here, but I imagine the connection to the iTunes store is to validate and update any apps you’ve purchased and downloaded. If iTunes needs to re-download any apps for any reason, you can imagine the rush on the iTunes servers with everyone upgrading all at once. This looks like something Apple may have overlooked.

The solution
If this is, in fact, an issue of Apples iTunes store servers simply being overloaded, the solution will be to just wait. Unfortunately, those of us with now “bricked” iPhones are left without service while we wait for Apple to fix the problem or for the swarm of requests to Apple’s servers to die down. Either way, it feels like incredibly bad planning on Apple’s part. To get it to come back to life, just repeat the following process until it works:
– dismiss the error message
– eject (See the second update below first)
– unplug
– plug back in

The most frustrating part is that I can’t use the phone at all now. I’d be ok with not getting to some of my apps for a while, but this is just crippling.

UPDATE: After following the above process a few more times, it came back to life quickly. If your iPhone still doesn’t work, just keep trying the above and it should be back in no time.

UPDATE 2: While linking back to this post, Mashable pointed out that there’s another way to force iTunes to try again and again. Just click the iTunes Store and then click the phone again. My process worked for me, but Mashable points out that it comes with the risk of data loss. I partly assumed that everyone does a backup first. In any case, keep that in mind.

About the author

Joe Colburn Joe Colburn is a software engineer specializing in PHP and a technology enthusiast. Always eager to dive into new and exciting things, Joe writes about anything technology related news and products that he thinks you will also be excited about. Find Joe Colburn on Google+ or by any of the links below.

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37 Responses to 'iPhone 3.0 Update – “Slide For Emergency”'

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  1. AniDude said,

    on June 17th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Hey Joe,
    Thanks for posting this out. After upgrading to 3.0, I am stuck on the brick screen too. So, do you mean keep trying to plugging/out iphone…


  2. on June 17th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Im Stuck with this too suck man but still gotta love Apple I Know they will make millions off the new Iphone

    Nick Throlson’s last blog post..Joe Tech’s New Media Super Contest

  3. Joe said,

    on June 17th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    AniDude: Yeah… That’s what worked for me. It appears to just hang trying to connect to the iTunes store, so it can’t complete the upgrade process. Once the iTunes store lets you connect, the upgrade should finish right up pretty fast.

    Nick: You’re right about that. I’m sure the lines Friday morning will be just as long as always.

  4. Jim Kukral said,

    on June 17th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I keep trying your trick to no avail. Will keep trying.

    Found this.

    http://gizmodo.com/5294248/iphone-30-upgrade-process-deactivating-some-phones-from-att


  5. on June 17th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    now it’s saying that I need to unlock my phone could not connect due to the pass code lame wonder if there will be a fix.

    Nick Throlson’s last blog post..Joe Tech’s New Media Super Contest

  6. Joe said,

    on June 17th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Jim: Have you tried the Gizmodo solution? Did it work?

    Nick: That’s one I’m not sure about.

  7. Jim Kukral said,

    on June 17th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t have IE on my Mac so no.


  8. on June 17th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We […]


  9. on June 17th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We […]


  10. on June 17th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We […]


  11. on June 17th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We […]


  12. on June 17th, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We don’t […]


  13. on June 18th, 2009 at 1:44 am

    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We […]

  14. Gert said,

    on June 18th, 2009 at 4:35 am

    Thanks mate!

    Had the same thing happen to me today, ejecting then plugging in a couple of times worked.

  15. Joe said,

    on June 18th, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Gert: Glad to hear it’s all working for you!


  16. on June 19th, 2009 at 7:33 am

    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We […]

  17. shy said,

    on June 24th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    pls help me until i install the 3.0 my fon is not charging

  18. szu said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 7:29 am

    hi guys i checked an apple iphone forum and people were saying if the phone’s hacked and you try to update through itunes there’s no way to get out of this “slide for emergency” mode.

    so, does the,
    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We […]
    ,solution work for hacked phones too? i’m hoping it will.

  19. Joe said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 9:25 am

    shy: If you’re still having the problem, please elaborate. Is the screen just black or is there an error message?

  20. Joe said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 9:26 am

    szu: If by “hacked” you mean “jailbroken”, that’s not true. Mine was jailbroken, I did the upgrade to 3.0, and then I was not only able to use the phone, but I re-jailbroke it and unlocked it to use with T-Mobile.

  21. szu said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 10:25 am

    hi joe. thanks. yeah, i meant jailbroken. so just to get it straight for myself, i need to plug the iphone back into my computer and wait for the itunes store to let the phone connect and finish the upgrade? thanks for your quick help.
    wil

  22. Joe said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 10:41 am

    szu:Yes. If you backed up before starting the process, you should be in good shape. Otherwise, unplugging and plugging back in the iPhone could cause loss of data on the device. It did not for me, but Mashable reported that it is a risk.

  23. szu said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    ok, thanks joe. so, once i plug it back in, i just wait for it to connect to itunes and complete the 3.0 update? any idea how long that might take? minutes? hours?

  24. M said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I experienced the same thing. My phone will just slide into emergency mode and iTunes gives the same message as described above. I just kept eject and plug in to iTunes again. Patience and it worked for me the fourth time.. ( Just a few frustrating minutes…)

  25. szu said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    just plugged the phone back in. itunes said “the SIM card in the phone doesn’t appear to be recognized” and nothing else has happened. has any one else encountered this? ideas?

  26. Joe said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    M: Glad it finally worked for you.

    szu: That happened to me once when I put in a T-Mobile SIM (after I did a successful jailbreak and unlock), but it went away after I pulled the SIM and put it back in.

  27. szu said,

    on July 1st, 2009 at 7:09 am

    still at it Joe. i’ve done the eject re-plug in 4-5 times. i’m taking the SIM out after ejecting, then re-inserting it, then re-plugging the iphone back in. each time itunes gives me the “this SIM card does not appear to be recgonized”. do you think it’s a matter of just trying until this series and sequence of actions works, or do i need to alter to sequence or actions or both? i.e. when should i be removing and re-inserting the SIM, while the iphone is ejected or while it’s still plugged in? thanks in advance.

  28. Joe said,

    on July 2nd, 2009 at 12:11 am

    szu: Did you back the phone up before starting the upgrade? If so, try holding down the Home button and then plug in the phone. Keep holding it down until it tells you it found an iphone and wants to recover it. Then you can restore from your backup and try upgrading to 3.0 again. If you didn’t back up, though, you’ll lose all your data.

  29. vicky said,

    on July 16th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    :/ i’m getting the sim does not appear to be recognised. what do i do? :/ i keep trying to eject and re-plug it but it’s still not working..

  30. Joe said,

    on July 16th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    vicky: at that point, you may need to force it back to recovery mode and then try again.


  31. on August 2nd, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    […] Ejecting and plugging back in: Both Joe Tech and Business Insider ejected their iPhones and plugged them back in without losing data. We […]

  32. dien said,

    on September 25th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    help
    my iphone 3g cant detect d capasity and firmware version using i-tunes…
    n i-tunes prompted me to do restore
    alreadt restore too many times,but its still same..cant detect capasity,firmware n its locked!!!!
    when start up,it just show me ‘slide for emergency’.!!
    why ah??

  33. Madison said,

    on September 29th, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Oh my god, thank you SO much! I unplugged it a bunch and itunes spazzed, closed, and when I plugged it back in, I got something on my phone that said “Slide to cancel” which I slid, and now it works! Thank you so much!!! :)

  34. Ibrahim said,

    on August 1st, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    After a bunch of times it worked.


  35. on April 26th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    bonjour.jai un iPhone 4 . version 4.2.1 (8c148) modem 03.10.01 opérateur sfr 9.0 . comment le débloquer ou le deverouiller merci.
    Sourish @ Iphone 4 Jailbreak´s last blog post ..IPSW Downloader – IPSW Downloading Application

  36. MEI said,

    on June 1st, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Hey, please help. i have this problem too. my iPhone 3Gs was just okay the night before, it’s just a battery flat. and then when i wanted to charge it (from a plug power point not from a desktop) it has that “slide to emergency connect to itunes” thing. but when i tried to connect to itunes, theres only the apple logo appear back and forth and the itunes doesnt read the iphone. so i cant eject. HELP PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! im begging you. i cant do anything here now

  37. Joe Tech said,

    on June 1st, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    MEI: It may not be charging properly. The first thing to do is leave it on the charger for an hour or more. If the problem persists, do the same, but with a different charger. If it’s still a problem, you may need to take it to Apple for a look. It’s possible that the battery could be bad. If you sync to a laptop, take that with you as they may be able to help you restore your latest backup.


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