Monday, February 11, 2013

How My iPhone Went From Handy Companion to Useless Piece of Crap

I generally like Apple products. I've had a MacIntosh desktop computer for all but three years of my home computing life.  They are usually easy to use, and packed with decent features, which helped overcome the paucity of software able to be used in my Macs.

When it was finally time to buy a "smartphone", I naturally gravitated toward an iPhone, as our current desktop computer is an iMac, and I have a pretty good collection of music on iTunes. I needed a phone which could take the place of a personal laptop when I traveled on business. The iPhone 4 that I got with a government-discounted phone plan has worked very well in the three years I've owned it...until now.

The problems started when I finally updated from Apple's iOS 5 operating system to iOS 6. Actually, iOS 6.0 worked okay, although there were a few minor challenges. The WiFi still worked reliably and connected automatically at home and hotels, Starbucks, and other hotspots. Less than a month later, I unintentionally clicked on the popup which downloaded iOS 6.1. I tried to abort the download, but it was too late. "Well, iOS 6.0 was okay, so this ought to be just fine!" I thought to myself. I'm an idiot.

Within minutes, my iPhone refused to connect to my home WiFi router. 3G signal strength was also mysteriously cut in half. "Hmm", I mused, "Perhaps I should start fresh and reset my phone, then download iOS 6.0, returning my phone to its happy state. NO CAN DO, DUMMY!  I went on the Apple Support website, and posted a question in the "iPhone Community". Most of the responses went something like this: "Dude, you are so screwed! Did you try resetting the phone, then re-downloading the iOS 6.1 software? It didn't work for me, but maybe YOU'LL be lucky." Well, I wasn't.

I have reset the phone three times. The WiFi occasionally works for about six minutes before a little popup message proclaims, "Unable to access this WiFi network."  I've tried turning the iPhone off, then turning it back on. No joy there either. Now when I return to the message boards on the Apple website, I see hundreds of complaints similar (and some far worse) to my own. Most of the problems seem linked to iOS 6.1...more than enough evidence for me to make an arrest, if this was a criminal investigation.

At work, a few fellow iPhone users have talked about buying an iPhone 5, the newest offering, as they think the latest operating system must have been designed to go well with the newest iPhone, but not so much with the older models. I have no idea if this theory is true, but I know for sure that I won't follow along. It's more likely that I will just use the iPhone as a "Dumb Phone", and get used to lugging my laptop with me when I travel in the future. When it comes time to replace this electronic paperweight, I have grave doubts that the new phone will have an Apple logo. Thankfully, my 120 GB iPod still works well, so if I really feel like sending this iPhone to Digital Valhalla, there will be no regrets or second thoughts of rehabilitation.

In the meantime, if any of you readers have a solid suggestion for fixing the damn thing, I'll welcome any and all of 'em.


  1. i believe apple has released a fix for those issues in the last couple of days. Although the google only mention IOS 6.1.1 for 4S, you may find it is available for iPhone 4 as well. It is likely you will need to plug in to iTunes to download and apply the patch.

    or get a dumbphone. remember when your phone battery would last for a week and you could throw the device through a wall with no consequences?

  2. Thanks for the info! I will check on iTunes for that patch.

    As for the "dumbphone", with all of the travel I am doing for my Army and civilian jobs, I definitely need the capability of a smartphone, much as I'd prefer to have a low-maintenance communicator again!