A couple days ago, I ranted on Twitter about how I was unable to even use 3G on my iPhone. Already unhappy with AT&T’s cellular reception, I was pointing my finger at the wrong people. It seems there have been a lot of complaints about the IOS 4.0 upgrade killing 3G and Edge data as well as MMS capabilities on the iPhone 3G S and that’s exactly what happened to me.
Why Does IOS 4 Break iPhone 3G S Data?
While some of my information comes from user speculation, some of it also comes from Apple support. The general consensus is that the IOS 4 software doesn’t support the Access Point Name (APN) from the 3G S 3.1.x backup. One person noted that Apple told them their old APN was corrupt, but it’s more accurate to say that some 3.1.x APNs are simply not compatible with IOS 4.
Apple’s currently suggested solution will be fine for some and unacceptable for others. Essentially, their solution is to eliminate the problem APN in the way that involves the least amount of technical knowledge: a factory reset. The suggestion is to use iTunes to restore the phone as new which will download the factory IOS 4. The problem with this is that you will lose all your data, settings, emails, saved games, etc. On top of that, you’ll have to re-install every single application. This is the easiest way for Apple and AT&T to handle the issue from a support perspective, but it’s not a solution and it just creates a lot of headache for customers.
Apple Forum Community’s Solution
This solution was figured out by some iPhone users who didn’t want to wait for Apple to release a patch. It involves creating a new APN without having to restore the whole iPhone as a new install.
1. Make sure your iphone is connected via wifi
2. Head to http://www.unlockit.co.nz
3. Follow the instructions. It’ll need you to download a file.
The problem with this solution is that it doesn’t really fix the problem. It does get you back online with the 3G network, but does not fix MMS and you can’t connect to the App Store. While it’s a smart work around, it falls just a bit short.
The Best Solution Currently
Like the solutions above, this is just a work-around to resolve the problem for now, but it offers a decent compromise.
1. Backup your iPhone
2. Restore to factory settings
3. Restore to a backup you made BEFORE you upgraded.
The reason I like this solution over the others is that it restores full data access, MMS, Visual Voicemail, etc. Additionally, I recovered most of my email, account settings, bookmarks, text history, etc. I even got my photos back and my changed carrier ID that says “JoeTech” from when I was jailbroken. The thing that makes this not the best solution over all is that I still have to manually re-install each and every one of my Apps. I’ll look at this as a little house-cleaning, but it’s still annoying and time-consuming.
The Real Solution?
Ultimately, the real solution here is for Apple to send out a patch to fix the problem with IOS4 on older iPhones. Will this happen soon? I would hope so, but from what I’ve seen, there’s no official acknowledgment of this issue from Apple. I need my data now, so I’ve opted for the best work-around. If you can wait for your 3G data and do everything over wifi, that might be a better option as you’ll have an official fix and you will not have to re-install every app you’ve collected on your iPhone. If you haven’t upgraded to IOS4 on your 3G or 3G S, just wait until they sort out the bugs.
Before You Upgrade
Moving forward, we know that Apple will have another major software upgrade at some point, so we might as well prepare for it now. Here’s some things to remember before it happens:
– Wait a week or so before upgrading and let us eager beavers find all the problems.
– Back up often. Sadly, my handy old backup was a few weeks old, so my emails, texts, etc were too.
– Download Apps to iTunes, too. Once you’ve downloaded on your phone, grab a copy on iTunes. It won’t cost extra and now you won’t have to remember what all you had installed if this happens again.
– Upload photos and videos to YouTube, Flickr, etc., and copy notes and contacts before attempting these solutions, upgrades, jailbreaks, or anything that can wipe out things you deem important.
Have you tried any of the solutions above? Did it work? Have you noticed any other problems found another solution or have more tips? Share any of this with us in the comments below.