iPhone 3G and iTunes problems and bugs

This page focuses on iPhone and iTune problems and bugs starting with the v2.0 release of the 3G software and v7.1 of iTunes. The latest versions discussed are v2.1 for the iPhone and v8.0 for iTunes.

For a review of the 2G iPhone, see this page:[ 2G iPhone Review] For a review of the 3G iPhone, see this page:[ 3G iPhone Review] For a discussion of the UI on the 2G and 3G iPhone, see this page: [ iPhone UI overivew for 2G and 3G] For a general overview of MID UI Issues and ways to address them, click to see this page:[ MID UI Issues and Suggestions]

If you have questions, comments or want to discuss an issue via email please write me at: dale.t.taylor@intel.com.




iPhone 3G bugs with 2.0.2 update

Ok, it really has become a pain now as the number of bugs seem to be growing rather than getting fixed. I'm adding this section to document a few as they happen.

  1. Continually dropped calls. This weekend it was actually hard to have a conversation with my iPhone 3G as the calls were continually dropped, even when I was not moving in a car but in my yard. I normally have 5 bars at home so this was rather surprising.
  2. Browser closes without warning.The iPhone browser has some type of problem were in the middle of moving around on a page the current window will close and you will get kicked back to the main screen. This can be really annoying when you are in the middle of a transaction (I was buying a new car) and you really need to get your insurance agents address. I don't know why but the browser has done this to me many times now. I have tried resetting the phone and it still happens.
    1. I've found a few places where this happens in a reproducable fashion. On news.yahoo.com/popular if you read through a story and it's long enough to add a button that says (view more) on the right, that seems to trigger it. This must be something special on the iPhone browser as those same stories do not have that "hide text" feature when you use a desktop to read them.
  3. Vibrate with no apparent reason.The phone will vibrate as if there was a text message, or possibly a missed call but when you check there's nothing there. At first I thought I was just imagining that I heard the vibration sound but it has done it while I had the phone in my hand now. In fact the screen didn't indicate any mesage and yet the phone was vibrating. Crazy really, so what in the world is causing a sudden need to signal a message when there's nothing? No appointments, no calls, no text message, not even new email. Weird.
    1. One additional thought on this, it acts as if the switch to go into silent mode was flipped, but I have checked that too and it hasn't been changed.
  4. Unable to scroll far enough to read text messages. Not sure how this happened but it's happened a couple times now. I received a text message, was in a "text conversation" and when I tried to scroll down and read the next received message it wouldn't let me get to the bottom of the screen. It's as if it doesn't think the page is that large but you can clearly see the text is down there and the bubble area is indicating it's there, you just can't get to it. My going in and out of the text message app I was able to get enough that I understood and when I replied and received another it became readable again.
  5. Unable to make or receive calls.Today I had an interesting problem with my 3G iPhone, I was unable to make or receive calls. I tried at least a dozen times and it would continually give a "call failed" error. I got my 2G iPhone and it worked fine, thus it wasn't a coverage problem. The 3G phone did show several bars during the attempts to use it. I was able to reset by powering off and then on the iPhone and it has started working again. Both the 2G and 3G iPhones have been updated to 2.0.2 so it wasn't something strictly related to the software version.
    1. Update: This has happened to me several times now and has become very frustrating. At times the phone becomes unusable. After another dozen attempts to make calls this weekend which all failed, I started playing with the settings to see if I could make any change that would fix it. I was able to find that turning OFF 3G would fix the problem. It appears that the problem is somehow tied to the 3G part of the phone. Great, I updated to the new phone and it's those very features that are causing it to not function!
  6. Unable to sync with iTunesI added a few songs purchased via iTunes, along with a video and some pictures. I sync'd them with no problem to my 2G iPhone. I went to add them to my 3G iPhone and it has been giving me the error "the iPhone "Dale's iPhone" cannot be synced. An unknown error occure d (-39)." Great, if anyone has any ideas for this one let me know!
    1. Note that my phone is updated with version 2.0.2 (the latest release).
    2. I am using iTunes v7.7.1 which is also the latest release.
  7. Unable to send or receive emailThis strange state seems to be something that happens in all communication modes. I have tried over WiFi, Edge and 3G and it won't work on any of them.
    1. I can now receive email again.
  8. iPhone hung on startupUpdate: whatever has happened to my iPhone continued to get worse. I decided to reset the phone by turning it on and off. When I turned it back on, it hung with the Apple logo and wouldn't start up even after 10 minutes of the logo.
    1. To remedy this, I did a "Hard" reset by holding both the power and main menu keys until the phone reset. Now it turns back on but there are a few issues.
      1. When the logo was up, something was consuming lots of power as I lost about half my battery charge during the few minutes I was waiting for it to reset.
      2. The phone will no longer play songs that were purchased from iTunes. I'm guessing that if I re-sync the phone this issue will be fixed. There must have been a token or key in memory that was lost due to the reset?
      3. I do not know if I can sync with my PC now as I am not near it, but I will update this later when I find out.
      4. I can now send and receive email!


iPhone 3G and iTunes v8.0.0.35

I upgraded to iTunes v8 this weekend (12Sep08), it took several hours. The install of the software was uneventful for me, it was the scanning of my music and the work necessary to support the Genius music option that took several hours.

  • USB DRivers The low level USB drivers must have been replaced since during the process of upgrading you get the message "New hardware found" and then the drivers are reinstalled. This only happens when the drivers are updated. A little searching on the net shows that many people are having problems with this upgrade. Fortunately for me it worked fine. I'll see how it goes on some of the other systems around the house when they are upgraded but on my primary system things are great.
  • Genius FeatureThe Genius feature takes several hours to process your entire music collection if you have a few thousand songs. Having played with the feature some I have to say that my first impressions are that I really like it. The songs that it suggests have mostly been ones I have enjoyed and it's been fun to have new play lists and ways to listen to my music that I had not thought of and created myself. I give this feature a very high rating.
    • So far, the only suggestion I can see is it would be nice to know if the suggestions are coming from some sort of classification and beat algorithm or if they are coming from the play lists of other iTunes users. I would like to be able to select which kinds of options it is giving and see the differences.
  • Unable to SyncOn several occasions now I have been unable to sync with my iPhone. When this has happened the iPhone has been stuck in some strange state where it vibrates, shows up and then is immediately disconnected from the system. This happens over and over with the phone vibrating twice, then moments later twice again and so forth.
    • In one case the phone just never showed up even though it was plugged into the PC
    • I have been able to resolve this by rebooting both my PC and my iPhone. Note that this happens on a PC running Vista.


iPhone 3G and iTunes v8.0.1

I upgraded to iTunes v8.0.1 this weekend (04Oct08), it only took a few minutes as it's a fairly small upgrade.

  • Unable to Sync The main problem I was having with 8.0 was the lack of syncing on occasion. I have now tried several different phones and all is well with 8.0.1, it's going to take more time to really give it a workout but at least initially it's working better than 8.0 was.


iPhone 3G issues with 2.1 update

Following the iTunes upgrade I also upgraded my 3G iPhone to v2.1. With the phone upgraded it appears to be working much better. I have been going through the bugs I could reproduce to see how they are working now.

  1. Dropped Calls Calls seem to be working better, I haven't had the dropped call issues though it's only been 72 hours using the new software so it'll take more time to see how it pans out.
  2. eMail send and receive speeds Checking email is now much faster. It's surprising actually as I hadn't expected much of a change but it's noticable.
  3. 3G connection bars The number of bars when using a 3G connection are higher now, much more inline with what I was seeing when using my 2G iPhone.
  4. Hanging applications This upgrade did fix the problem I was having with apps hanging but I had to make one change to get it completely fixed. I was still having a problem with the Facebook app which completely went away when I deleted the app and then reinstalled it. Since then it along with the other apps I was having problems with have stopped. Somehow the reinstall got it to work better with the upgrade.
  5. Sync problems with iTunesI have not had any syncing problems with iTunes since the upgrade.
    1. See the iTunes section for an update as I have had syncing problems with v2.1 again.
  6. Browser closes without warningThis is the only issue that so far I have seen again. I have had pages where I've been moving around or entering text and the browser closes and I end up back at the main screen.
    1. This doesn't seem to happen as often as it used to, but it still has happened.
  7. Mystery VibrateThis one has happened but it appears that with v2.1 the email app can now run in the background. I have gone into the email app, then decided to back out and do something else and a minute later the phone vibrates and I have email. That indicates the email app continued through the process of checking for email even though that app was closed and I was on to something else. My guess is they had to enable the email app to run in the background at least partially to avoid some of the hanging issues it previously had.
    1. After 5 days with the update, I have only had one or two of the mystery vibrates when I used to have them a time or two a day. I would say this is much better but still unusual.
  8. Email Crashing While the email application seems to be working better, no longer requiring an occasional reboot, one new issue has happened. I have been reading through an email and the application has closed and dumped me back in the main screen. Going back into the email app has worked fine but it's a bit unusual when apps crash as you just don't expect it since most are very reliable. Especially when it happens in one of the build in applications.
  9. Battery Life My battery does seem to last longer now. I haven't done any scientific testing to verify this but it seems better. If I do lots of browsing with Wifi or anything that is browser heavy the battery drops much quicker than I would like. Generally I get 2 days off a full charge. 3 days if I primarily use the phone as a phone, but only 1 day if I am browser and internet heavy with any 2-way communicating application.
  10. iPhone HangingSeveral times now the iPhone has hung when installing and testing various applications. I have not linked this to a specific application though it has happened several times. I've had to reboot the entire system with a hard reset to get it to work again.
    1. FYI you accomplish a hard reset by holding down the power and main menu buttons until the phone goes off.


iPhone 2G issues with 2.1 update

I have updated my 2G iPhone to v2.1 and in the last few weeks it has worked very well. It's surprising but it's not having the same bugs as the 3G version. It could be that I'm not using it as much but even when I try to duplicate issues they work well in the 2G version.


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