Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


iPhone Black Screen: a PSA

My 2-month old iPhone 3G(s) recently became a "brick" -- completely non-responsive to the "standby" or "home" buttons. Since the battery had been a little low, I presumed it just needed to be plugged into the wall outlet.

When the battery icon and comforting "ding" did not happen, I began to worry. So I plugged it into my iTunes-equipped laptop (since Renee's two-year-old iPhone 3G has responded well to that in the past). Still nothing.... No USB jingle as I unplugged and replugged the cable. Manually launching iTunes made no difference -- there was nothing attached as far as my Toshiba was concerned.

A quick Google search on "nonresponsive iPhone" brought even more bad tidings: I was introduced to the concept of the "iPhone Black Screen of Death"! Now, in hindsight, that may not have been what I experienced. For instance, I did not get the boot screen shown to the left.

But the forums are full of panicky people who prescribe draconian solutions: lots of commentary about "hard resets" and "UDM boot cycles" and "lost data".... Since it had been more than a week since a Sync, and many apps had been downloaded, I began thinking how much of a hassle it would be to restore.

Then one post in an iPhone forum seemed to offer a hint: it advised holding down the "Standby" and "Home" buttons simultaneously for about ten seconds. ("Standby" is the one on top, next to the audio port; "Home" is below the screen on the face of the iPhone.) This particular post ended saying their iPhone "woke up -- though it took longer than expected."

If only they had quantified that last comment.... Hence this Public Service Announcement.

When I did that, I saw the boot screen shown at the top of this post. "Good news!" I thought. But then I read on in the forum; someone said "If you see the Apple boot screen you held the Home button too long!" So I tried a couple more times, eventually getting a "Cannot Connect to this iPhone" dialog from iTunes.

It was nearly 8pm on a Saturday evening. The AT&T store was still open. So I dashed out of the house, disregarding the 40-minute old carryout pizza order for the kids waiting for me the other direction, and began to drive toward the only Tech Support within a five mile radius.

That's when something funny happened. As I was waiting at the stoplight exiting our subdivision, with the white-apple-screen iPhone sitting in a perpetual boot cycle on the center console, it DID wake up! My "passcode" screen came up, and all data was intact.

Time from seeing the boot screen above to the passcode screen? More than ten minutes (or an eternity to an ADHD-afflicted adult like me).

Ironically, I've had this "bricking" happen a couple times since -- usually when I've powered down with a photo from the Camera Roll on the screen. The boot cycle seems to be a lot quicker, too. So maybe my 20GBs of data (half of which are songs, half of the remainder videos) needed to be churned through that first time I did a "warm reset".

The lesson for you? If your iPhone is non-responsive, even when plugged in, try holding the Standby and Home buttons for ten seconds. Then wait....



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home