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Apple iOS 5: Where has all my stuff gone?

Some of you having problems with the iOS 5 update might consider it’s most ‘magical’ feature to be its ability to make all of your apps, music and contacts dissapear. The Twitter militia are up in arms over the recent update to Apple’s new iOS, reporting that upgrading their iDevices is leading to erased data, media and apps.

The official procedure for upgrading to iOS 5 is to connect your iDevice to your computer and to follow the on-screen prompts, just the same we’ve done before with previous iOS updates. The system-wiping glitch doesn’t seem to be affecting everyone, although Twitter is currently awash with aggrieved souls who’ve lost their multi-Gigabyte music collections. So if you’ve had your content robbed by gremlins, fear not; we experienced the same thing updating our iPhone 4 last night and here’s how we fixed it.

First, reconnect your device to your PC and go back into iTunes.

Select your device in the left hand pane, and click sync or apply in the bottom right hand corner of iTunes. After syncing has finished, you should get a window asking if you want to restore purchased items back to your device.

Click yes, and then sit back and watch all your purchased iTunes music and apps flood back onto your iDevice. Depending on how many apps/songs you’ve got or need restoring, this could take some time. It took us about ten minutes; just enough time for us to put the kettle on and make a cup of tea.


This should also restore all files that you’ve previously synced to your iDevice as well, not just iTunes purchases.

Note: after everything’s been restored, you should be asked if you want to transfer purchased items to iTunes. You must click Transfer here, otherwise everything will be lost and you will have to manually re-download everything from scratch.

Those who’ve had problems with missing contacts might need to connect their iPhone to iTunes again to resolve what Apple is calling ‘sync conflicts’. After we’d finished restoring our missing songs, we got this next pop-up:

Clicking ‘Review Now’ ought to resolve any issues as it did for us.

All this syncing will take some time, especially if you’ve got a big music collection or a lot of stored data in your apps – patience is a virtue.

Another thing we noticed with apps; because iOS 5 gives you a few new app icons for things like Newsstand, Music and Videos, we found a lot of our icons moved over to other homescreens. Initially we panicked (‘where’ve my apps gone?!’) only to notice that the icons had been automatically scrolled off to the side and dumped onto another screen.

So in short, a quick re-syncing to iTunes seemed to solve our issues. Still having problems or found an alternative solution? Hit us up in the comments below.

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