AMITIAE - Sunday 26 April 2015

Cassandra: 128 GB iPhone 6 Blue Screen of Death and iTunes Resuscitation

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


Sunday should be a lazy day in this house if I stay in. I do sometimes venture out on a Sunday if there is shopping to do, or I want to try a photo project, but the heat (and sometimes rain) in recent days have put these on hold. Instead I watch some TV, catch up on Internet reading and put the finishing touches to my Bangkok Post article for Wednesday.

In the morning I had synced the iPhone with the Mac. Although I usually try starting the sync from iTunes, this time I began the sync from the iPhone: nothing particularly unusual there. A few hours later, however, I noticed that the rotating arrows still showed that the device was syncing and I wondered if this were photos or other data exchanges playing catchup.

A look at the Mac showed that there was no sync apparently taking place with that device. I tried to stop the sync on the iPhone, but it kept churning away. Pause. Think. Restart.

I pressed the Off button at the same time as the Home button and the screen went off. I kept holding the buttons when the Apple logo appeared and the screen went black. I held the On/off button and the Apple logo indicated a restart. And then the screen went blue. The screen went black and the Apple logo appeared again, but this time, I was in a cycle: blue screen, black, Apple logo, blue screen. . . .

A search of the Internet (on the Mac) was not much help, bringing up a number of reports of this on the 128 GB iPhone that I have, but no solution and lots of "Apple got it wrong" comments. I am running version iOS 8.3 and this has given me no notable problems since the update. I also have some 357 apps, taking up 18 GB, far fewer than the 700 apps that are said to create the blue screen condition.

One poster in a forum suggested that the mother board or processor was the source of the problem. That would mean a trip to the local carrier handling the iPhone here: I groaned inwardly as that could mean no phone for a week or even more.

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I tried turning the iPhone off for a couple of minutes and then back on again, but that did no good. I began to think that this was a broken iPhone scenario. I turned it off again and found the Lightning cable so that I could connect it to the Mac. However, before connecting I turned off Bluetooth, disconnected/reconnected Wi-Fi and quit iTunes as that was still showing the iPhone as one of its devices. When that was restarted it correctly only showed the iPad.

Connecting the iPhone started it with the Apple icon. Hold breath. . . However, after a moment or so, this changed once again to the blue screen. A second restart did the trick. The Home screen appeared and I was asked to enter the passcode to unlock the device as is normal after a restart. Exhale. . . .

All the apps were in their correct places on the screen. As the device was connected via the cable, a sync was carried out normally (and quickly). It was also available as a Personal Hotspot, although both the Mac and the iPhone were using the normal Wi-Fi link. When I disconnected the USB cable after the sync was completed, that blue Hotspot bar at the top of the screen vanished.

I had seen the blue screen a couple of times before, although on both occasions, a simple restart was all that was needed to bring the iPhone back to life. This time, the basic solutions were not enough, but the connection to the Mac gave it a big enough nudge to return my iPhone 6 to normal service.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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