Danger! Danger! iOS update may brick your iPhone 5S or iPad Air

Before you upgrade to iOS 7.0.6, read this!

Terrific! Apple's latest "must-have to ensure your browsing safety" iOS update just bricked my iPhone 5S.

After nagging me to update to iOS 7.0.6 for the last couple of days I finally had a window in which I knew I wouldn’t need my phone so I let the update proceed. Meh.

If you’ve been stuck in the wilderness for a couple of weeks you might not know of the need for this recent release: It fixes a bug in Apple’s support for SSL/TLS that could allow a bad guy to successfully operate a man-in-the-middle attack … a real and serious risk when using a public WiFi network.

Knowing that this update was kinda important I started the process, agreed to the EULA (without reading it, natch), and went off to make a cup of tea. I came back ten minutes later to find my iPhone screen black and no amount of pushing buttons did any good.

If this happens to you, be warned: All of the usual ways of dealing with a bricked iPhone will not work except for connecting it to iTunes. iTunes will tell you that the iPhone is in “recovery mode” and offer to download iOS (wasting anything from an hour to two hours of your time in the process) and then restore the device to factory settings so you get to configure it all over again or restore from a backup. Meh.

It appears from my research that this problem is restricted to the iPhone 5S and iPad Air so if that’s your phone or pad model then before you allow the update do a backup, make sure your iTunes is up-to-date and running it’s on a machine next to you, then cross your fingers, pour yourself a stiff drink, and let the update start.

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