Apple's New iOS 10 Update Disables iPhones, iPads for Some Users

It's the third time this year that iOS updates caused "bricking" problems for users. The iOS 10 issues have now been fixed, reports say.

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Soon after Apple began rolling out its latest iOS 10 mobile operating system to iPhone, iPad and iPod devices on Sept. 13, some users reported glitches that left their devices "bricked" and nonfunctional, a problem that Apple quickly fixed.

The iOS 10 bricking issue began surfacing just after users could begin installing the new operating system on their devices, according to a Sept. 13 story by The disabled devices occurred when some users tried to perform over the air updates on their hardware, rather than plugging the devices into a computer and downloading the updates, the story said.

Apple did not respond to several email inquiries from eWEEK asking about the issue but released a statement elsewhere referring to the iOS 10 update problems.

"We experienced a brief issue with the software update process, affecting a small number of users during the first hour of availability," Apple said in its statement. "The problem was quickly resolved and we apologize to those customers. Anyone who was affected should connect to iTunes to complete the update or contact AppleCare for help."

To fix the problem, Apple suggests in a support bulletin that customers connect their device to a computer running iTunes and restart their device.

The latest iOS 10 operating system was unveiled just three days before Apple is slated to begin selling its latest iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones. The iOS 10 operating system comes a year after the company introduced iOS 9 to users. The latest version brings a wide array of new features and app improvements to Messaging, Photos, Maps (pictured) and more that will give users added functions and capabilities with their devices.

This is at least the third time in 2016 that Apple devices have been disabled due to iOS update problems, with the previous two incidents involving iOS 9 in February and in May.

In February, an iOS 9 bricking problem affected an undisclosed number of iPhones, rendering them 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. The Error 53 message was designed to come on if the phone's built-in fingerprint ID mechanism or its cable was replaced by someone who was trying to gain access to the device.

The problem was that the error message also occurred after a phone was simply repaired. After hearing plenty of customer complaints for weeks, Apple solved the problem and issued an apology to its affected customers. The problem was specific to iPhones that were given iOS updates through Apple iTunes.

In May, bricking problems were experienced by some iPad Pro 9.7 owners. They reported that their tablets were disabled after updating to iOS 9.3.2. The update was pulled back while fixes were made. The errant 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's latest iPhone 7 models, which start at $649, will go on sale starting Sept. 16. The new handsets are splash-, water- and dust-resistant and include new 12-megapixel cameras (dual lens cameras in the iPhone 7 Plus model) and the new A10 Fusion processor. The handsets come in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB versions.

The new iPhones no longer include a headphone jack, however, and come with a set of ear buds that connect to the phones using the existing Lightning port. Apple's new optional wireless AirPods, which sell for an additional $159, allow users to go wireless, though other options also exist.

The iPhone 7 has a 4.7-inch Retina touch-screen display, while the iPhone 7 Plus uses a 5.5-inch Retina touch-screen display. Both handsets offer 4K video recording capabilities as well as autofocus and optical image stabilization features.