Apple has pulled back a recent update to its iOS 9 operating system after some iPad Pro 9.7 owners reported disabled tablets after their machines underwent updates to the company's iOS 9.3.2 software release.
An Apple spokesman confirmed the problem and the pullback of the iOS update in a May 23 reply to an email inquiry from eWEEK.
"We're working on a fix for an issue impacting a small number of iPad units that are receiving an error when trying to update the software," the spokesman told eWEEK. "We'll issue an update as quickly as possible."
The iOS 9.3.2 update was causing owners of some iPad Pro 9.7 tablets to lose the use of their devices, which were essentially "bricked," or left useless after the patch was installed. Apple initially said it was looking into the issue after receiving "a small number of reports" about the problem.
"Those unable to restore their device through iTunes should contact Apple support," the company advised in its statement.
A May 20 story by MacRumors indicated that Apple is potentially replacing some iPad Pro 9.7 devices that have been left disabled by the errant iOS update and a resulting "Error 56" message, but the Apple spokesman would not comment on the report. "That's all we're saying on this," the spokesman said.
In February, Apple had a similar device bricking issue with some iPhones that underwent an iOS update, according to earlier eWEEK stories. At that time, Apple issued an apology to iPhone owners, as well as a patched version of its iOS operating system, after an undisclosed number of iPhones were rendered inoperable by an "Error 53" security feature that the company said was built into the devices when they were assembled.
The affected iPhones had been repaired by third-party service centers using non-Apple parts, which triggered the error message as a security feature, according to Apple. The Error 53 message is designed to come on if the phone's built-in fingerprint ID mechanism or its cable is replaced by someone who is trying to gain access to the device. The problem in those cases was that the error message also was generated after a phone was simply repaired. Apple heard plenty of customer complaints about the issue before finally solving the problem and asking customers for forgiveness.
The company told customers that the problem that had cropped up "was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers." Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on the issue were told to contact AppleCare about a reimbursement.
In the iPhone error case, the problem was specific to iPhones that were given iOS updates through Apple iTunes. Some customer devices received a message, "Connect to iTunes," after attempting an iOS update or a restore from iTunes on a Mac or PC. An Error 53 was then reported in iTunes, which appears when a device fails a security test that was designed to check whether Touch ID works properly before the device leaves the factory.
To solve the problem, Apple released a software update that allowed customers who encountered the error message to successfully restore their device using iTunes on a Mac or PC. The company also provided an online support document describing more details about the error message and how affected devices can be repaired.