Yesterday media reports flooded the tech world that Apple’s big iOS 9.3 release was causing upgrade errors and now Apple has gone on record to confirm these issues…

Apple confirmed activation problems for some users and a partial suspension of the upgrade:

“Updating some iOS devices (iPhone 5s and earlier and iPad Air and earlier) to iOS 9.3 can require entering the Apple ID and password used to set up the device in order to complete the software update. In some cases, if customers do not recall their password, their device will remain in an inactivated state until they can recover or reset their password. For these older devices, we have temporarily pulled back the update and will release an updated version of iOS 9.3 in the next few days that does not require this step.”

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Interestingly Apple’s explanation simultaneously builds upon and plays down the existing reports. In the case of the former, the statement reveals the update impacted a wider array of devices than was initially believed (media coverage had stated issues were limited solely to the iPad 2).

As for the latter, the claim it was merely down to users forgetting their passwords doesn’t align with the Apple Support Communities thread which kicked off the whole issue. In fact not a single of one the 139 comments on the thread cites being unable to remember their password as a factor.

That said where Apple deserves a pat on the back here is the speed with which it has reacted. Especially given the proportion of users affected by the activation issues appears to be relatively small.

Meanwhile 9to5Mac reports Apple has already started to push a new build of iOS 9.3 (13E236 vs 13E233) to older devices, far ahead of its “next few days” timescale. Apple has also published a support document for those affected which recommends getting around the activation process by signing into iCloud, activating via iTunes or removing Activation Lock over the web.

iOS 9.3 won a lot of praise for Apple’s extensive testing prior to release (involving no less than seven betas). And while the rollout has gone smoothly for the vast majority of users, what it does prove is this: catering for over one billion active iOS devices is no easy task.

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